Stanley Harold Arnolt II was an industrialist and car dealer owning a variety of businesses in Chicago, Illinois and Warsaw, Indiana. He also had a passion for cars. In 1952 he visited the Turin Automobile show in Italy where he met Nuccio Bertone, chief executive of Carrozzeria Bertone, an Italian automotive design and constructor company.
Arnolt (nicknamed “Wacky” for crossing Lake Michigan in a 13-foot boat during heavy fog and waves) commissioned Bertone, on the spot, to build 100 of each model. Production of the handmade cars began in 1953 and eventually about 100 of the Arnolt-MGs were shipped to Chicago for sale at Arnolt’s imported car distributorship.
From mid-1953 until August of 1955, 142 consecutively numbered chassis, 404 X 3000 through 404 X 3141, were sent to Bertone.
Scaglione’s challenge was to create an attractive body to enclose the Bristol chassis with its very tall six-cylinder engine.
Of the 142 Arnolt-Bristol cars built, 12 were destroyed in a Chicago warehouse fire. Of the remaining 130 cars it is estimated that about 90 are still in existence.
Production models consisted of a racing version called the Bolide, the more road- friendly version with bumpers and a folding top was called the Deluxe, and additionally, there was a coupé version, of which only three examples were made.
Stanley Harold Arnolt II died the day before Christmas in 1963. With him died everything he had built including S.H. Arnolt Inc. and the Arnolt-Bristol. Wacky was just 56 years old.
ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
This car was completed and shipped to the USA in 1959 and registered later than the other Arnolt Bristol cars because it was for a long time in the possession of the Arnolt Family business.
At that time, the car was modified towards the front. This explains why this example is fitted with four headlights and without the “standard” bumpers.
It was acquired by a Mr S. in 1968. He drove it for almost 25,000 miles until his passing in the second half of the 1990s.
His wife then donated the car to the Classic Car Museum in Sarasota, Florida.
The car was catalogued in the Christie’s auction book and sold at the 1997 Pebble Beach auction.
In 1999 the Arnolt Bristol was in Germany when it was offered for sale in Hamburg at Martin Godbey from Vintage Motors of Sarasota.
According to information from the Bristol Owners Club and verified their access to the Arnolt family archives, this is the last fully manufactured car from the original production to be sold new by the Arnolt family business.
The car is mentioned as the last Arnold sold in Automobile Quarterly vol. XV, Number 4 page 415 (“Wacky, Stanley Harold Arnolt II and his cars” by Rich Taylor.
The first time we bought an Arnolt Bristol we had some doubts about the Bertone design but the longer we looked at the car the more beautiful it became.
Bertone certainly looked very well to competitors at the time and different styles were implemented in the car resulting in a very rare and beautiful design.
The body of this Arnolt Bristol is in an extraordinary condition. The paint has a beautiful deep shine and doesn’t show signs of use.
The chrome hubs show some very minor pitting. According to us a nice patina but if one would like to have the hubs rechromed it is off-course possible.
The front window is in a nice condition even as the special front lamps which are only mounted on this example.
The interior of the Arnolt Bristol is beautifully minimalistic. What is needed is available but nothing more then that.
The original seats are available but the car is currently fitted with more comfortable bucket seats.
The original seats were unfortunately dried out so we let them cover in new black leather and after finalization the original seats will be re-installed.
The handling of the Arnolt Bristol cannot be described. One has to feel it because it’s impressive.
We would describe the driving experience as a Italian/English muscle car which handles extremely well.
The enormous power which is coming from the engine and which is combined with the super light body (total weight of an Arnolt Bristol is only 991kg) makes the car absolutely fabulous to accelerate.
But a muscle car is mainly known as a car which drives only very fast but is difficult to handle.
The Arnolt Bristol is certainly not a car which is handling difficult. It actually is handling absolutely superb. The steering is extremely direct and responsive even as the gas.
The engine sound is great and invites to give sometimes a bit of gas.
We are extremely enthusiastic about the Arnolt Bristol ourselves. The looks, the sound of the engine and the handling is just fantastic. It will be difficult to find other cars which are so rare and so much fun to enjoy and certainly in this price range.