Monterey

Monterey Conference Center
18 - 20 August 2022
Lot 259

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Works Roadster by Bertone

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$400,000 - $475,000 USD  | Offered Without Reserve

United States | Monterey, California

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Chassis No.
404/X/3046
Engine No.
BS1/MKII/243
Body No.
5847
Documents
US Title
To be offered on Friday, 19 August 2022
  • One of just 142 Arnolt-Bristols built, and approximately 85 extant
  • One of four known to have been retained by the factory as Works racers; one of two fitted with front disc brakes and a remote shifter
  • Driven by René Dreyfus to 4th in class at the 1955 Sebring 12 Hour race
  • Recently re-fitted with its numbers-matching engine block; beautiful cosmetic presentation
  • Ideal for exhibition and eligible for premier vintage racing events worldwide; 2010 Mille Miglia participant
language

An entrepreneur who made his fortune selling marine engines during World War II, Stanley "Wacky" Arnolt had always been enamored with cars. Harboring automotive ambitious of his own, he leapt into the fray with the stylish, Bertone-bodied Arnolt-MG in 1952. Next, Arnolt, working with soon-to-be-famous designer Franco Scaglione and British firm Bristol, conceived the stunning Arnolt-Bristol. Production of this dramatic sports car began in 1953 and was to encompass four Bertone-bodied variants: The basic Competition, with a low windscreen and purposeful cockpit, the somewhat better appointed Bolide, the road-oriented Deluxe, and a coupe, which featured pop-up headlights.

A Works competition racer, chassis 404/X/3046 is one of only two equipped originally with front disc brakes and is also equipped with a remote shifter. It was delivered to Arnolt on 20 June 1954; in the summer of 1955, Arnolt convinced René Dreyfus to come out of retirement and manage the team of three Arnolt-Bristols at the Sebring 12 Hour. The Frenchman had not lost his spark: the cars finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the 2-liter class (with Dreyfus in the 4th-place car). The Arnolt-Bristols were awarded the Team Trophy that year, and again in 1956 and 1960.

Never road-licensed by the factory, chassis 404/X/3046 was sold to privateer Richard Milburn in 1963. Milburn was active on the Canadian circuit and raced it in three early Canadian Grands Prix, placing on the podium each time before winning championship honors from the Canadian Automobile Sports Club in 1965. The car eventually ended up with well-known collector and vintage racer Thomas Mittler; it was during the 1985 Sebring vintage race that the numbers-matching engine block cracked, subsequently being swapped for a replacement unit.

Fortuitously, the numbers-matching block was retained, and under the ownership of its present caretaker—a notable Arnolt-Bristol enthusiast who acquired this car in 2018—it was repaired, rebuilt, and recently re-fitted by the experts at Vilas Motor Works in Bryan, Texas. In addition to the mechanical work, no expense was spared in burnishing the appearance of this roadster; the consignor went so far as to commission a run of spectacularly crafted Arnolt-Bristol enameled badges to adorn its sculpted sheet metal, and he installed exquisite Borrani center-lock wheels with Arnolt-branded three-ear knock off wheel nuts, presently wrapped in vintage-style Blockley tires.

Accompanied by FIVA paperwork, a file of period photos, literature, and race program copies, and select invoices, this Works Roadster is highly eligible for the world’s finest vintage races and rallies; indeed, under previous ownership, 404/X/3046 ran in the 2010 Mille Miglia as car #303. In its beautifully restored and detailed condition, it is worthy of a place of honor in the stable of a collector that shares the ambition and indefatigable spirit of its creator, Stanley “Wacky” Arnolt.