At a time when coachbuilt cars were the norm for the rich and affluent, Stanley H. Arnolt has set himself apart with quite a great success. An entrepreneur of his time, Arnolt held one of the most successful Austin-MG-Morris distributorships in Chicago, United States and had also secured himself a set on the board of the Italian coachbuilder Bertone, with whom he produced a variety of interesting specials on different chassis.
When in the late 1950s MG was unable to fill in his order for 200 cars, Arnolt approached Bristol Cars Ltd of UK, who happily provided them with 200 of their 404 series chassis that were fitted with a 1971cc, six-cylinder engine that produced 130 bhp. Arnolt then shipped the cars off to Bertone, where they were handed over to Franco Scaglione who would be responsible for building their bespoke aerodynamic bodywork. The result of this came in as this Arnold-Bristol Bolide Roadster by Bertone that were built in a variety of combinations. The basic models had a low windscreen and a very spartan cockpit. The mid-tier version the “Bolide” that we see here, was reasonably appointed and featured a half-folding windscreen. There as a deluxe model too, which featured an even better interior that was appointed in a fashion more suitable for road use than track.
The Arnolt-Bristol Bolide roadster were very capable racing cars that were raced extensively during the 1950s and ’60s. They were quite successful racing cars even in Europe, where the Arnolt-Bristol Bolide took 1st, 2nd and fourth in class at Sebring in 1955 and repeated its success by winning its class again in 1960.
This particular 1957 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster with Bertone coatchwork has a certain racing pedigree associated with it. Competing in SCCA regional events in Northern California that included competing at Stockton, Vaca Valley and Cotati, this very car that has been fully restored back to original condition is a part of the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction which is to take place on March 12, 2016.
All images © Ravi Angard for RM Sotheby’s