1953 Arnolt-MG

Drophead Coupe
Uniqueness before beauty?
Thursday, 22 September - Saturday, 24 September
Sale Price
$130,000 - $150,000
Est. Range
24 September 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Older restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis no. 22876; Engine no. XPAG/TD2/23496. Post Office Red over red leather piped in white. 1250 with Judson supercharger, 4-speed, wire wheels, Dunlop whitewalls, cloth boot cover, Jaeger gauges.

Evaluation: One of 36 convertibles built. Good paint with some small blisters on the trunk lid. Clean underneath. Beautiful interior. A few marks on the windshield frame. Ultra-rare British/American/Italian droptop with just a handful of real flaws.

Bottom Line: The story of these cars goes that a cash-strapped Bertone brought a pair of cars based on MG TD underpinnings to the 1952 Turin Motor Show. Chicago industrialist Midwest distributor for MG/Riley/Morris Stanley H. “Wacky” Arnolt saw the Bertone-clothed MGs and was smitten enough not just to buy the pair but to put in an order for 200 cars (100 convertibles and 100 coupes).

Marketed as “the Continental sports car for the entire family,” the Arnolt-MG shared the standard Y-type chassis and 1250 engine with the standard MG TD, and the voluptuous Bertone body only weighed about 40 pounds more than the British MG body. At over $3000, though, the Arnolt-MG was nearly as expensive as much larger and faster cars.

Barely 100 were screwed together in the end so all of them are rare, but only around a third were convertibles so this car drew more attention than the coupe (Lot 3153) offered at the same sale. It drew more money, too. Over $100K more. And that’s a surprisingly big gulf between the two, especially since they are both good cars with desirable Judson blowers. This is the most we’ve ever seen anyone pay at auction for an Arnolt-MG.

by Andrew Newton
30 September 2022
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.