Chicago foreign car entrepreneur Stanley H. 'Wacky' Arnolt created the Arnolt Bristol roadster especially for the United States market, marrying the chassis of the British Bristol 404 with a body styled by Italian Nuccio Bertone. The box-section chassis used a transverse-leaf front suspension and a live rear axle. A top speed of 110 mph was possible and 0-60 mph was timed at 8.7 seconds. Excellent weight distribution and decent road manners made the car perfect for racing and the cars were extensively campaigned in the 1950s and 1960s, including class wins at Sebring in 1955.
Just 142 were constructed, but only 130 were sold after 12 were destroyed in a Chicago warehouse fire. Ken purchased this car in 2007. It is powered by a 2-liter, 130 horsepower 6-cylinder Bristol engine, which owes its heritage to the BMW 328 of the 1930s.
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 exquisite 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 a 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 dashboards, 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