1956 Arnolt Bristol Bristol Corvette-Engined RoadsterSOLD

RM Auctions - The Ponder Collection - Texas - April 20-21st, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $150,000 - $200,000


$159,500 Sold

225hp, 265 cu. in. 1956 Corvette V8 engine, dual four-barrel carburetors, four-speed Corvette manual transmission, independent front suspension with wishbone and traverse-mounted leaf spring, torsion bars to rear live axle, four-wheel Alfin drum brakes. Wheelbase: 96"

The Arnolt-Bristol gained an almost immediate reputation as a performance sports car thanks to the press of the day. The road test reports all stressed that this was a sports car for the enthusiast and not the boulevard tourers.

Sports Cars Illustrated (July 9, 1956), enthused: “With foot hard on the throttle I punched the clutch, whipped the shift lever down to second and snapped the clutch out again, keeping the revs above the trusty 3000 mark. I wound past 4000 listening to the haawnk of great volumes of air ripping through the slender venturis become louder and stronger. Now the tach read 5000, and as it approached 6000 at 65mph I popped another shift, still keeping the throttle pinned to the floorboards. …I wound on out in third at 6000 indicating about 95mph and threw the final shift into fourth. …This my friends, is a car!”

The Arnolt-Bristol’s long list of racing successes over the years did not go unnoticed. Yet, driving any car at its limits usually has a price and that price most often centers on the engine. Rather than going to the expense of rebuilding the race-bred Bristol unit, it was much easier to drop in an engine with gobs of available horsepower, readily available parts, and a reputation for reliable and inexpensive performance.

In 1964, the very last Arnolt-Bristol built, made out of the leftover parts, had been fitted with a Corvette engine, and previous to that three Arnolt-Bristols had left the factory powered by the Chevy sports car’s engine.

Old race cars and sports cars rarely die, so as time passed, more and more Arnolt-Bristols were converted to Chevy-power. Such is the case with the 1956 Arnolt-Bristol roadster presented here. It is powered by a completely rebuilt and detailed Corvette 265 cubic inch V8 engine with dual-four barrel carburetors rated at 225 horsepower and is mated to a four-speed Corvette manual transmission.

In concours quality condition, the Arnolt-Bristol has been driven a mere fourteen miles since completing its full, body-off restoration. Painted a bright red, the finish is flawless. Like all base Bolide or competition models, it is virtually devoid of chrome on the outside apart from the radiator surround and the Arnolt-Bristol badges.

Inside, it sports a far more luxurious interior than standard, for increased comfort and convenience. The seats are dressed in a striking red and black leather combination with matching carpets and door panels. The dash is Corvette inspired and thus naturally fitted with Corvette gauges. We understand that the Corvette engine was also fully rebuilt at a cost of $8,500 by a marque specialist, and accordingly, is in fit running overall order. The chrome wheels are fitted with original, Arnolt-Bristol hubcaps and the spare tire is hidden out of sight in a rear compartment.

Company brochures of the day proclaimed the Arnolt-Bristol as, “The World’s Most Distinguished Sports Car.” Worldly it certainly was, with its American, British and Italian origins, but adding a bit more Americana didn’t seem like a bad idea forty or fifty years ago, and it still makes sense today for those looking for performance – and a whole lot of fun.

Please note that this vehicle is titled by the engine number.

Reference Number 7617

as of 2/27/2007

Car 1956 Arnolt Bristol Bristol Corvette-Engined Roadster
VIN 59005929 
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