1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide

History

An American engineer named Stanley Harold 'Wacky' Arnolt was working for Waukesha Engineering Company during 1939 when the company went bankrupt. As payment for the work Stanley had done, he was awarded a patent for an outboard motor. In two short years, Arnolt had purchased two factories and production of the 'Arnolt-SeaMite' engines for American Marine was in production day and night. As a result, Arnolt made a fortune. By the end of World War II, Wacky had six factories. He switched production from engines to domestic appliances.

Arnolt ordered 200 MG TD's from Nuccio Bertone. He sold all two-hundred in the United States as Arnolt-MGs. Though they may not have been extremely fast, they were exquisit to behold. This success inspired Arnolt to continue to purchase vehicles, outfit them using famous coachwork builders, and then re-sell them to the public.

Arnolt Bristol

During the early 1950's, Arnolt realized a market for sports cars in the United States. Using a Bristol 400 chassis, modifications were named and the result was dubbed the 404. In 1954, the Arnolt Bristol was in production and featured Bertone supplied bodies. They featured hand-formed steel body and aluminum-skinned hoods. The similarities between the Shelby Cobra's and the 'Bolide' are undeniable.

The 'Bolide' was a true racing bred sports car. Without a top, carpeting, windshield wipers, or adjustable seats, the car was void of amenities and very light-weight. A 'DeLux' option was available that included these items, different dashboard, and instruments in front of the driver.

The suspension was comprised of independently sprung front wheels, wishbone arms and a transverse multi-leaf spring and anti-roll bar. The steering was rack-and-pinion.

In 1955, an Arnolt Bristol finished first in class at the 12-Hours of Sebring. Two other Arnolts finished second and fourth. The racing team, owned by the Arnolt Company, went on to win its class at Sebring in 1956 and 1960. Privately owned Arnolt Bristols were frequently seen racing in SCCA E-Production classes.

In total, only 142 Arnolt Bristols were created. Three were coupes, a few were powered by Chevrolet V8's, and a few were all-aluminum bodied cars.


By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2007

1954 Vehicle Profiles

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster
Designer: Bertone

Chassis Num: 3055

Stanley 'Wacky' Arnolt was the driving force behind the creation of the Arnolt-Bristol automobile. Arnolt was a wealthy industrialist from Indiana whose serendipitous encounter with Nuccio Bertone at the 1952 Turin Motor Show ultimately resulted in ....[continue reading]

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster
Designer: Bertone

Wealthy Chicago Industrialist Stanley H. Arnolt harbored designs of becoming a sports car importer. This dream became a reality followign a chance meeting at the 1952 Turin Auto Show that kicked off collaboration with the Bertone studio. Arnolt's epo....[continue reading]

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster
Designer: Bertone

The 1950s were a particularly good decade for sports cars: the booming post-WWII economy and lack of stringent regulations fostered innovations and possibility.....[continue reading]

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster
Designer: Bertone

Chassis Num: 404/X/3000
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/49

Stanley 'Wacky' Arnolt earned his nickname 'Wacky' by crossing Lake Michigan alone in a 14 foot boat in heavy fog, a distance of some ninety miles in open water. Having made his fortune in WW2 selling boat motors, 'Wacky' became a region BMC distribu....[continue reading]

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3086
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/286

This 1954 Arnolt Bristol Roadster was the original European demonstrator and show car. Sold new in Paris in 1954, this white and blue over blue car was the company's show car in Geneva, Turin, Brussels, Munich, and Paris. The car was the brainchild....[continue reading]

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 404/X/3075
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/278

This 1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Deluxe was owned, until very recently, by the same amateur race driver since 1956. He raced this little Bristol engined roadster from 1956 to 1963 but when no longer competitive he parked it in his garage where it was ....[continue reading]

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster
Designer: Bertone

The Bolide body types were minimalist. They were identical to the Deluxe Roadster mechanically, but did not include such items as the Connolly leather upholstery, weather protection, or a reasonably sized windscreen.....[continue reading]

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster
Designer: Bertone

Chassis Num: 404/X/3046
Engine Num: BS1/MKII/243

This Arnolt-Bristol Bolide was used by the factory as a Works competition racer and is one of only two equipped originally with front disc brakes and is equipped with a remote shifter. It was delivered to Arnolt on June 20th of 1954 with modification....[continue reading]

1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide vehicle information

Roadster
Designer: Bertone

Chassis Num: 404X3040

Arnolt Bristol 404X3040 was the 40th car built in 1954 out of a total of 142 produced between 1954 and 1959. The chassis is outfitted with a custom Bertone body. It was originally delivered as a Bolide (competition model
designated with a C) but e....[continue reading]

Roadster
Chassis #: 3055 
Roadster
 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 404/X/3000 
Roadster
Chassis #: 404/X/3086 
Roadster
Chassis #: 404/X/3075 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 404/X/3046 
Roadster
Chassis #: 404X3040 


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Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$1,085-$3,990
1954 Bolide
$3,990-$18,050
1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Base Price : $3,990

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Arnolt-Bristol
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Meteor (1,408,478)
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)
1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)
1949Ford (1,118,308)Chevrolet (1,010,013)Plymouth (520,385)

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