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October 29, 2023

Amazing Photos of the 1953 Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe Roadster

Stanley ‘Wacky’ Arnolt was definitely one of the more intriguing characters in American Automotive History. Having earned the 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 WWII selling boat motors, he was able to indulge his lifelong love of automobiles and by 1952 was a regional BMC distributor and US distributor for Bristol cars.

In 1952, a visit to Bertone led to Arnolt buying a stake in the Italian company and arranging manufacture of Bertone-bodied Arnolt MGs. His next venture made use of the Bristol connection, the UK manufacturer’s 404 getting the Bertone designed body treatment in 1953. Despite being based on a Pre-war BMW design, the 328, the Bristol possessed one of the finest chassis of its day and its 2.0-liter six-cylinder engine was one of the most efficient around.

The Bristol’s engine in D2 tune produced in excess of 150 bhp and before long the pretty Arnolts were making their mark in production sports car races in the USA. After class wins at Sebring and Le Mans in 1955 and 1956 the works team was disbanded in 1957, but returned to Sebring in 1960 to capture class and team awards yet again. Production ceased in 1963 after a total of 130 cars had been sold. Twelve cars were destroyed in a Chicago warehouse fire, and it is believed that just 90 survive.

Arnolt-Bristols were available in three different models: The Deluxe, the Bolide, and the Coupe. The Deluxe was the more road friendly version and fitted with bumpers and folding top, while the bolide was more or less a race trimmed vehicle. Here below is a set of amazing photos of the 1953 Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe Roadster.


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