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Arnolt-Bristol DeLuxe Roadster 1954


Arnolt-Bristol DeLuxe Roadster 1954

Chassis no. 404/X/3097

•A rare survivor of only 130 produced

•Original matching numbers engine

•Professionally restored in 2013/2014


Having made his fortune during WW2, American industrialist Stanley Harold 'Wacky' Arnolt was able to indulge his lifelong love of automobiles, and by 1952 was a regional BMC distributor and US distributor for Bristol cars. In 1952, a visit to Carrozzeria Bertone led to Arnolt buying a stake in the Italian company and arranging manufacture of Bertone-bodied Arnolt MGs. His next venture made use of the Bristol connection, the UK manufacturer's 404 getting the Bertone treatment in 1953. Despite being based on a pre-war BMW design, the Bristol possessed one of the finest chassis of its day, and its 2.0-litre six-cylinder engine was one of the most efficient around. The latter could be tuned to produce in excess of 150bhp, and before long the pretty Arnolts were making their mark in production sports car races in the USA. After class wins at Sebring and Le Mans in 1955, the works team was disbanded, returning to Sebring in 1960 to capture class and team awards yet again. Production ceased in 1963 after a total of 130 cars had been sold. 

According to information supplied by the vendor, this stunning DeLuxe Roadster was originally delivered to the Governor of Mexico's Chiapas region, Efrain Aranda Osorio. In 1970, the car was discovered in a garage in Guatemala and exported to the USA. It was subsequently purchased by Andrew Howarth and brought to the UK, where, after restoration, it was registered as '518 XUN'. 

'3097' was sold to its current custodian in 2009 with a view to participate in the Mille Miglia. The owner successfully completed the 2012 event without any trouble but nevertheless decided to embark on a second comprehensive restoration; undertaken during 2013/2014, the rebuild cost some €130,000. He then went on to drive the car in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Mille Miglia, again without it missing a beat. 

Beautifully presented, this DeLuxe model has the added benefit of some creature comforts, distinguishing it from the more Spartan Bolide variants - deeper padded leather seats, a glove compartment, front and rear bumpers, higher windscreen, convertible hood, carpets - and is finished in the handsome colour combination of British Racing Green with tan leather interior. 

The car is offered with German registration papers; sundry documents relating to its history; a quantity of original sales brochures (some of which are in both French and English); a pen from the Arnolt Corporation; and even two sugar sachets with the printed legend 'Stolen from Wacky Arnolt, Warsaw, Indiana'. Importantly, it also comes with an extract from the Arnolt Bristol Register confirming that '3097' retains its original engine (number 'BS1 Mk2 300'). The car benefits from a recent carburettor rebuild by a specialist company in the UK, and passed its German TüV without defects on 13th June 2018. One of a mere handful of survivors, it is worthy of the closest inspection.


Arnolt-Bristol DeLuxe Roadster 1954


Est.€ 290,000 - 330,000


  • Model: Arnolt-Bristol DeLuxe Roadster
  • Year: 1954
  • Coachbuilder: Bristol
  • Designer: Bertone
  • Production nr.: 130
  • Seller: Bonhams
  • Country: France
  • Contact: www.bonhams.com
  • Auction: Bonhams The Chantilly Sale 2019
  • Auction date: 30 June 2019
  • Tags: 1954, Arnolt, Bonhams, Bristol, Mille Miglia, roadster

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