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1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster / 404/X/3108 Vehicle Information

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide photograph

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide
Sold for $550,000 at 2014 RM Auctions at Monterey.
Sold for $484,000 at 2015 RM Sotheby's : Amelia Island.
As one who made his living through productive industry, Stanley H. 'Wacky' Arnolt would always have one eye toward the next great enterprise. This meant producing a better product, and it most often hinged meeting those 'right' individuals that could make the dream a reality.

Arnolt began importing automobiles in the early 1950s. However, it wouldn't take him long before he would become convinced he could do it even better. The period after the Second World War would be ideal for Arnolt. Needing to get economies on their feet, nations, like the United States, would have few restrictions and this enabled men like Stanley to go it alone.

Initially, Arnolt would start out with a dealership importing mostly British marques. MG would be one he was very keen on. However, he would also offer makes from many other British firms, like Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Morris. But while he appreciated the engineering of the British cars, the Italian soul called to Arnolt as well, and he would quickly branch out.

The story goes that Stanley would be at the Turin Auto Show in 1952 and would happen upon none other than Nuccio Bertone. The coachbuilder would be in great financial straights at the time, but being the industrialist he was, Arnolt wouldn't pay attention to that. He would notice a couple of MGs sporty Bertone bodies and would be immediately impressed. He would be taken back by the coachwork so much he would place an order for a couple-hundred examples, giving Bertone a lifeline.

The lifeline wouldn't last all that long as MG would be unable to keep up with the demands. This forced Arnolt to look to another, hopefully larger, chassis and engine combination. Stanley greatly liked the engineering and mechanical work of British automakers, but he greatly appreciated the art and the passion Italian makers infused into their designs. The goal was to merge the two. Eventually, Bristol would be chosen as the new option in which to make that blending happen. Then, when it was all said and done, the British chassis and engine and the Italian coachwork would be sold as an American design.

Bristol would be a wise choice. Based upon the pre-war BMW design, the Bristol engine produced 130bhp from its 2.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Arnolt had his heart. He would then turn them over to Bertone's factory in Turin to receive its body and soul.

Designer Franco Scaglione would not have an easy task. The direction would be a car with a low stance. The tall and long Bristol engine didn't make it that easy but Scaglione wold make do. The result would be a curvaceous design with rather simple touches of trim. When completed, the car would make its debut at the London Motor Show in 1953. In the early parts of 1954, the first of the cars would begin making their arrival in the United States.

Following the 'race on Sunday, sell cars Monday' mode of thinking, Arnolt would enter a race at Watkins Glen. Then, in 1955, Arnolt would enter no less than three examples of the Deluxe Roadster at the Sebring 12 Hours. This would be a fruitful endeavor as the Arnolt cars would finish 1st, 2nd and 4th in class. Arnolts would continue to win races within their class, including Sebring in 1956 and even 1960. The amalgamation of British, Italian and American influence had proven successful on the track. Unfortunately, the blend would prove more expensive than the Corvette and this meant overall production of the Arnolts would be limited to just 142 examples. In 1959, production would come to an end.

Chassis 3108 would be one of those 142 Arnolt-Bristol DeLuxe Roadsters built. Records indicate it would be titled in 1959. However, nearly every single example of the DeLuxe Roadsters would actually begin production years before its delivery date. Sure, there was the Bristol engine that had been developed during the early 1950s. Then there was the bodywork. Chassis 3108 would actually be completed by Bertone in early 1957. Then, finally, everything would be mated together to create a DeLuxe Roadster.

This particular car would be one of the last 20 to be produced and shipped to the United States. Originally, 3108 came complete in silvery livery and a navy interior. It is believed Arnolt himself had driven this car at one point in time prior to it being delivered to Doug Buchannan, the car's first owner.

Buchannan would retain the Roadster for nearly a decade before having the car refinished in a more Italian style. He would have the car finished in red with the interior completed in black. In total, the Roadster would remain with Buchannan for some three decades before being sold to Gene Ponder in the 1990s.

Ponder would change the car again completing it in a red finish the car currently carries. On the interior, Ponder would have red and black combined with a tan-top. In Ponder's mind this was an ideal look for the Arnolt, a car ideal for the track and other grand touring events. Therefore, Ponder would take part in the Colorado Grand a couple of times. The car would also take part in the California Mille and even the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic. In addition to the long distance grand touring events, this DeLuxe Roadster would also take part in a number of concours events, including The Quail and other regional concours events.

Don Mann would be drawn to the DeLuxe Roadster and would end up purchasing the car in August of 2014. In its current state, 3108 sports the rare Borrani wheels with new Dunlop tires, a number of spare parts, a 2.2-liter Bristol engine and gearbox, books, brochures and a number of other history files.

Though there were some 142 examples of the DeLuxe Roadsters built there are only about 75 examples known to still exist. This particular chassis is even more exclusive than that being one of only five to have been fitted with Borrani knock-off wheels. These had been custom for Arnolt's racing team. And, if five examples wasn't exclusive enough, it's believed just three examples still exist.

Within the relatively-short century, or so, of automobile history, Arnolt's place and contribution is by no means extensive. However, Stanley Arnolt would be one of the first to do what only many others dreamed. For sure, each culture has its strengths and weaknesses, and this is certainly true within the automotive industry as well. But what Arnolt would manage to do would be a first. Instead of nation competing against nation, he would bring together some of the best of nations. The result would be a real Pegasus, a type of god blended together of horse and bird, an almost mythical creation more dream than reality.

The 1956 Arnolt-Bristol DeLuxe Roadster by Bertone, chassis 3108, would be listed as part of RM Auctions' 2015 event in Amelia Island. Being a rare example of the breed, the DeLuxe Roadster was certain to garner interest from the bidders. Being such a rare example, estimates for the car would range from between $400,000 and $500,000.

By Jeremy McMullen
Sold for $550,000 at 2014 RM Auctions at Monterey.
Sold for $484,000 at 2015 RM Sotheby's : Amelia Island.
Ingenuity, opportunity, and creativity flourished in the 1950s post-World War II economic boom. One such carmaker-to-be was American Stanley Harold 'Wacky' Arnolt. Arnolt purchased an MG TC after the war, and he was impressed with it. He subsequently set-up a car dealerhsip and import company in downtown Chicago, which housed vehicles of several British marques for sale, including MG, Morris, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, and even Brisolt.

Arnolt was at the 1952 Turin Auto Show when he met Nuccio Bertone. Arnolt was impressed with the two MG TD-based cars that Bertone had bodied, and he placed an order for 200 examples. These cars later became known as the Arnolt MG. Before Bertone could complete the contracted cars, however, MG discontinued the TD upon which it was based. Only about half of the planned quantity was ever created. A replacement chassis was needed, and eventually one was found with the Bristol 404 series chassis and its 130 horsepower, six-cylinder engine. Arnolt purchased complete driving chassis Bristols that were then delivered to Bertone's Turin factory. Upon arrival, they received a body that was designed by Franco Scaglione.

Scaglione gave the cars a raised hood scoop, swooping front fenders that curved into a grille area, and closely set headlights that flanked a small grille. The cars were introduced to the public at the London Motor Show in the fall of 1953, and the first Arnolt-Bristol arrived in the United States early in 1954.

Arnolt personally raced one example to a class win at Watkins Glen. He then entered three examples in the 1955 Sebring 12-Hour race, where they finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th in class, to win the team trophy. Arnolt-Bristols later won their class at Sebring the following year and again in 1960. Privately owned Arnolt-Bristols also dominated the SCCA E-Production classes for many years and collected many trophies along the way.

Production ended in 1959 after just 142 cars were built.

This Arnolt-Bristol DeLuxe Roadster was delivered and titled in 1959. The original test of its BMW-derived 328, 1.9-liter, six-cylinder engine was completed on July 23, 1954, at the Bristol factory in England. Bertone completed the body in Turin on January 25, 1957, and it was subsequently shipped to Chicago on the SS Calista. It is one of the last twenty examples produced. When new, the car was finished in silver with a navy interior and black top. It is believed that Wacky Arnolt personally drove this car for several months prior to selling it to its first owner, Doug Buchannan of Nebraska, in 1959. Buchannan was also reportedly the last customer to receive a car with one of only five sets of Borrani knock-off wheels that Arnolt had custom made for his racing team. Of the five cars that received these wheels, it is believed that only three survive today.

While in Buchannan's care, the car was painted a dark red metallic and re-upholstered the interior in black in 1968. The car remained with Buchannan for nearly 3 decades, before he sold it to Gene Ponder in the 1990s. Ponder painted the car in its current shade of red and upholstered the interior in red/black with a tan top and tonneau.

The car has since participated on the Colorado Grand, the California Mille, and the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic, and has been shown multiple times, including at The Quail.

The current owner acquired the car in 2007. Since then, the unique gear-operated top was refurbished, as were the brakes. It has received significant mechanical service, which amounted to approximately $115,000. The Borrani wheels have been fitted with new Dunlop times.


By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2015



2015 RM Sotheby's : Amelia Island

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $400,000-USD $500,000 
Sale Price :
USD $484,000

2014 RM Auctions at Monterey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $400,000-USD $500,000 
Sale Price :
USD $550,000

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Auction Sales

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1956 sales)
1956 Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe Roadster by Bertone
Chassis#: 404/X/3108
Sold for USD$484,000
  2015 RM Sotheby's : Amelia Island
1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide image  1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide image  
1956 Arnolt-Bristol DeLuxe Roadster by Bertone
Chassis#: 404/X/3108
Sold for USD$550,000
  2014 RM Auctions at Monterey
1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide image  1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide image  
1956 Arnolt Bristol Roadster
Chassis#: 59055929
Sold for USD$99,000
  2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions
 
1956 Arnolt Bristol Roadster
Chassis#: 404X3108
Sold for USD$195,250
  2007 RM Auctions The Ponder Collection
 
1956 Arnolt-Bristol Coupe
Chassis#: 404X3120
Sold for USD$451,000
  2007 RM Auctions The Ponder Collection
 
1956 Arnolt-Bristol Corvette-Powered Roadster
Chassis#: 59005929
Sold for USD$159,500
  2007 RM Auctions The Ponder Collection
1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide image  1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide image  

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1956 Arnolt-Bristol RoadsterAR BR 5865-C2015 RM Sotheby's : Monterey $350,000$450,000
1956 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster404X30192005 The Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction$60,000$80,000$100,000

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Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Vehicle Profiles
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Model Year: 1954
Profile
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Model Year: 1954
Profile
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Model Year: 1954
Profile

Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Model Year: 1954
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 3055
Model Year: 1954
Profile
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3000
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/49
Model Year: 1954
Profile and Auction History

Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3046
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/243
Model Year: 1954
Profile and Auction History
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3075
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/278
Model Year: 1954
Profile and Auction History
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3086
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/286
Model Year: 1954
Profile

Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 404X3040
Model Year: 1954
Profile
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3050
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/ 255
Model Year: 1955
Profile
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Coachbuilder: Bertone
Chassis Num: 404/X/3905
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/297
Model Year: 1955
Profile

Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Engine Num: 312
Model Year: 1956
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Model Year: 1956
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3108
Engine Num: BSI/MKII/312
Model Year: 1956
Profile and Auction History

Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 59005929
Model Year: 1956
Profile and Auction History
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: AR BR 5865-C
Model Year: 1956
Profile and Auction History
Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3074
Model Year: 1957
Profile and Auction History

Roadster
Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster

Coachbuilder: Bertone
Chassis Num: 404/X/3022
Engine Num: BSI/MKII/223
Model Year: 1959
Profile and Auction History


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