1956 Arnolt Bristol Bristol DeluxeSOLD

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Reference Number 122106

as of 4/13/2011

Overview
Car 1956 Arnolt Bristol Bristol Deluxe
VIN 404/X/3112 
Exterior / Interior Color      Red /      Tan 
Condition Pristine 
Configuration Left Hand Drive (LHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
Options Interior: Leather interior 
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Known History

1956 Arnolt Bristol Deluxe Roadster

 

Chassis # 404/X/3112

 

Stanley Harold "Wacky"Arnolt made a fortune selling engines and other equipment to the armed forces during WWII. A lifelong motorhead, he set up SH Arnolt, Inc. in Chicago during the late 1940s to distribute MGs and other European imports.

 

At the 1952 Turin Salon, Arnolt came across an MG TD-based coupe and convertible on the Bertone stand. Smitten by the Italian carrozzeria's work, he promptly ordered 100 of each, which left Nuccio Bertone somewhat flabbergasted by the huge number.

 

Production of the Arnolt-MG began shortly thereafter and things went well until about 100 cars had been made, when MG announced that it could no longer supply powered chassis to Bertone.

 

However, by then Arnolt had invested heavily in Bertone's assembly capabilities and even become one of the Turin firm's directors. After a brief dalliance with Aston Martin, the American entrepreneur successfully negotiated the purchase of 200 404-series chassis and tuned 1,971-cc engines from Bristol Cars Ltd.

 

Charged with styling the coming Arnolt-Bristol was new Bertone designer/aerodynamicist Franco Scaglione, who would go on to create the famous Alfa Romeo BAT concept car.

 

To distract the eye from the engine's height (thanks to its triple Solex downdraft carburetors), Scaglione clothed the two-seater with a mixture of swooping curves and sharp edges.

 

Bodied in steel with an aluminum hood and trunk, the Arnolt-Bristol could be had as a roadster or coupe (though just six of the latter were built). However, the roadster was sub-divided into three distinct specifications: Competition (pared-back racer), Bolide (marginally more civilized), and DeLuxe (full-height windscreen, side windows, convertible roof, etc).

 

With independent transverse-leaf front suspension and rear axle located by torsion bars, the model became known for its roadholding and balance.

 

Typically developing 130 hp at 5,500 rpm on a 9:1 compression ratio, the Bristol BS1 Mk II straight-6 was allied to a 4-speed manual transmission.

 

After testing an Arnolt-Bristol in February 1956, Road & Track announced that its 0ľ60 mph in 10.1 seconds and 107 mph top speed were "the best we have ever recorded for a two-liter machine."

 

Leaving the Bristol factory as a powered chassis, each car was bodied at Bertone and finished off at the Arnolt factory. With its low curb weight (circa 2,200 lb), punchy engine, and respectable handling, the model had potential as a racer. Assembling a team of lightweight cars for the 1955 Sebring 12 Hours, Arnolt scored a 1st, 2nd, and 4th finish in the Sports 2000 class.

 

The following year his cars took 2nd and 3rd in class. The marque's final Sebring outing came during 1960, when the team crossed the line in 14th, 22nd, and 39th places overall, and Arnolt-Bristols were competitive in the SCCA into the mid 1960s. Wacky himself entered a Bolide for the 1955 Mille Miglia but never made it to the start line.

 

Between January 1953 and December 1959, just 142 Arnolt Bristols of all types are thought to have been made. A factory fire resulted in 12 cars being written off, though some are thought to have been bought back for spares. It is believed that about 85 cars survive today.

 

Supplied new as a Deluxe Roadster, chassis # 3112 is still presented in its original color combination of Regal Red over Tan Connolly leather upholstery.

 

The BS1 Mk II engine, (serial number 316) still powers the car.

 

Arnolt-Bristols are rare, but finding one in this unmolested near new condition is almost unbelievable.

 

 

 

Meticulously kept in a Southern California and part of a multi car collection, 3112 has been in the hands of its fastidious owner for the past 8 years.

 

 

 

We had the privilege to drive the car on the windy roads of the Santa Barbara Mountains and it did not skip a beat, during the 30 mile exercise stretch we took it on.