Arnolt-Bristol


Stanley H. “Wacky” Arnolt was a Chicago industrialist, who began importing cars in the 1950′. Though sold as American cars, they were true hybrids, with British mechanicals and Italian bodywork.

A fortuitous meeting with Giovanni Bertone  at the Turin Auto Show in 1952 resulted infour collaborative efforts between Arnolt and Bertone.

The first was the Arnolt-MG, a four seater Bertone bodied car base on the MG TD chassis and XPAG 54hp engine.  The Arnolt MG was designed by Giovanni Bertone, his son Nuccio, and Giovanni Michelotti.

An atempt to built a Bertone bodied Aston Martin DB2/4 and sell it as an Arnolt Aston was stopped by Aston Martin after three cars were built.  There were three Arnolt Astons designed by Bertone’s fresh new designer Franco Scaglione.  All looked very much like Scaglione’s subsequent Arnolt Bristol.

Arnolt also had Bertone design and build a Bently, wich resembles a larger version of the Arnolt MG coupe because it was also designed by Giovanni Micholetti who was working for Bertone at the time.

S.H. Arnolt created a racing team for the “12 Hours of Sebring” race, and the Arnolt Bristol team took 1st, second an fourth place in its class in 1955; second and third in 1956; fourth in 1957. One of the team car crashed.  Bob Goldich, of Des Plaines, Illinois, a driver for Arnolt was killed in a fatal single car crash in the race.  Arnolt had been driving the car only minutes prior to the accident, and returned for a final first place win in class in 1960. Arnolt team cars finished in 14th, 22nd and 39th place overall. All Arnolt Bristol were built between January 14, 1953 and December 12, 1959.

The majority were built in 1954 and 1959.  A total of 142 cars were produced, of which 12 were written off after a factory fire.  The fire damaged cars were used as a source of spares by Arnolt in later years.  The total production included six coupes, and two aluminum alloy-bodied cars.  One of the cars was originally right hand drive, the rest were all left hand drive.  An additonal car never received a body, and was used as rolling chassis for auto shows.  This chassis is still in the possession of the Arnolt family.

Despite the racing successes, the cars did not sell well.

 

 

Posted in MEMOIRS.

Emilio Lezcano

Journalist - Editor - Photographer
Professional Race Car Driver

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