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1956 Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe Roadster by Bertone

Offered Without Reserve

RM | Sotheby's - THE ELKHART COLLECTION 23 - 24 OCTOBER 2020


Chassis No.
Engine No.
Body No.
404/X/3084
BS1/MKII/285
5882
  • A model famous in its day in SCCA competition
  • High-quality restoration in striking colors
  • Equipped with its original engine
  • Featured in the master list of surviving examples
  • Eligible for such touring events as the Colorado Grand and Mille Miglia
  • Ideal for showing and driving enjoyment

Chicago-based foreign car importer S. H. “Wacky” Arnolt found a ready market for the “Arnolt-MGs” custom-bodied for him by Italian coachbuilder Bertone in the early 1950s. Inspired by that success, he approached Bristol, which had begun diversifying from aircraft to limited-production, high-performance grand touring cars. The Bristol, Arnolt felt, was a perfect basis for a sports car, as its engine was the pre-war BMW 328 design, highly proven and well-known within racing circles.

Arnolt struck an arrangement to marry a box-section chassis with the two-liter, Hemi-head Bristol BS1 MKII 130 bhp engine, transverse-leaf front suspension, and live rear axle with curvaceous Bertone coachwork. The car weighed only 1,800 pounds and returned excellent performance: 0–60 mph in 8.7 seconds and a top speed of 110 mph, as well as near perfect weight distribution for decent road manners for both road and track. It proved its mettle in the SCCA Modified Championship in 1954, 1955, and 1956, as well as in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Just 142 of the cars were produced over seven years, of which 130 were sold; another dozen were lost in a warehouse fire.

The Arnolt-Bristol offered here was acquired for the current collection in 2011. Its restoration is beautiful and well preserved, with deep silver paint contrasting a dark grey leather interior, complete with carpets and a black-finished dashboard. Notably for this oft-raced automobile, it retains its original MKII engine under the hood, fitted with triple Weber 34 ICH carburetors and its original numbering plates; the original serial-number plate and stamp are also present on the chassis. The car is in beautiful overall condition, with properly fitted panels and gorgeous paint, but has also been maintained to enjoy on the road and accordingly has a clear bra fitted over the nose. At the time of cataloguing, it had recorded 5,843 miles.

This is a lovely Arnolt-Bristol that will be a hit on either the concours field, vintage rally, or track-day paddock.


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