1957 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide

1957 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide 1957 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide 1957 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide
Chassis #: 404/X/3074
Sold for $286,000 at 2016 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island.
Chicago imported car and accessory dealer Stanley H. Arnolt, known as 'Wacky' for his demeanor, was very successful, with a large Austin-MG-Morris distributorship based out of Chicago and a seat on the board of Italian coachbuilder Bertone. In the early 1950s, Arnolt arranged a deal with Bristol Cars of England for 200 of the Series 404 chassis, powered by the company's 1971 cc inline-six, four-speed gearbox, and transverse-leaf and torsion-bar suspension. The cars were then sent to Bertone where they were given roadster bodywork, designed by Franco Scaglione. They were sold in four different configurations, with the most basic model known simply as the competition, with a low windscreen and a very Spartan cockpit. The Boldie models were slightly better appointed, with a folding half-screen. Deluxe models were even better appointed and were designed for road rather than track use.

This particular Arnolt-Bristol Boldie was sold new to Larry McNutt of Oakland, California, who used it in several SCCA regional events in Northern California, including at Stockton, Vaca Valley, and Cotati.

After Mr. McNutt's passing in the early 1960s, the Bolide rested in storage until 1974, when it was sold by his widow to James 'Jimmy' Dale. Dale competed with the car at Mosport in Ontario, among other venues, before selling it to the third owner in 1977. The new owner installed a small-block Chevrolet V-8 and nine-inch Ford rear axle and ran the car at various East Coast tracks and hillclimbs, in a new orange and dark blue color scheme, including annual appearances at Mount Equinox in Vermont for over two decades.

The current caretaker purchased the car in 2009. Since then, the car has been given $40,000 worth of mechanical rebuild, including reinstalled the original Bristol engine, which was included in the sale. At that time, it was also given a new, large aluminum radiator with manually operated electric fan, a backup electric fuel pump, and electronic ignition.

The car has the original oil cooler and Alfin brake drums on the front. The Ford axle was retained at the rear. The original unrestored top and side curtains also remain with the car. Power is from an overhead valve six-cylinder engine displacing 120.2 cubic-inches and offering 130 horsepower.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016
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

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1957 Bolide
1957 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Price Range: $4,000 - $6,000

Model Year Production

1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)
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)Buick (572,024)
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)

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Arnolt-Bristol Models

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