1959 Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe

Roadster by Bertone
Uniqueness before beauty?
Thursday, 22 September - Saturday, 24 September
Sale Price
$350,000 - $400,000
Est. Range
24 September 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Older restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis no. 404X3133; Engine no. BS1/MKII/334. Blue with dark blue cloth top over blue piped in white. 1971/132hp, 4-speed, Borrani centerlock wheels, engine-turned dash, Smiths gauges.

Evaluation: One of 142 built. This is a DeLuxe model, which came with such lavish accoutrements as a convertible top, windows, and a glove box. Represented as matching numbers. Good older paint with a crack at the front of the hood and a tiny dent on the trunk lid. The driver’s seat leather is very slightly stretched but the interior mostly looks great. Very clean underneath. A solidly restored example of this unusual but quick Anglo-Italo-American collaboration. Fun to drive, cool to look at, and eligible for a lot of great events.

Bottom Line: This auction had three different Arnolts, and between this Arnolt-Bristol, an AC Ace and three BMW 327s, there were five different cars powered by the famous BMW/Bristol six. That’s a lot. This car was the highlight of the bunch. Arnolt-Bristols were expensive when new, nearly $5000 for a DeLuxe, largely because the Bristol-supplied chassis and body had to from England to Bertone in Italy to have the bodywork fitted, and then to Arnolt’s facility in Indiana for final assembly. So it didn’t sell well and is quite rare. It was also a top notch sports car, winning its class three times at Sebring. And yet it’s another one of those multinational ’50s sports cars that isn’t worth as much as it probably would be if the whole thing came from the Italian peninsula or the British Isles. This price is about right for an Arnolt-Bristol.

by Andrew Newton
1 October 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.