Tag Archives: Arnolt

I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clue – Sonoma Historics

Most teachers know that they can walk into a room with a dozen students and tease pretty much anything they want to teach out of them, on almost any subject, over the space of an hour or so. In the spirit of such student participation I’m inviting you dear reader to help me out here, because at fast glance I’m sorry to say I haven’t a clue about what any of today’s six featured vehicles are, neither manufacturer or age.

Sonoma Historics

At first sight this green racer looks like a cross between the second incarnation of the Bristol 450 Le Mans racer and the later Bristol Arnolt. The British registration plate on the back reads “SAR 336”. At a guess this vehicle is British and Bristol powered but do you know where the body came from and when ?

Sonoma Historics

Chip slicer radiator grills, as on the vehicle above, often point to a Ferrari or Chevrolet but I cannot think of any models from those manufacturers who built anything that looked like this. If you think you know what this might be, please do not be scared to chip in below.

Sonoma Historics

California is the home of the fiber glass special and the white racer above looks like one of the majority I have not heard of. The HM sticker tells us it probably ran in SCCA events for vehicles up to 750 cc / 45.7 cui. Does anyone recognise this pint size racer ?

Sonoma Historics

My first thought was that the vehicle above was a Kes Kastner & Pete Brock designed Triumph TR250K, but it is not. Confusingly it says Phoenix on the front and advertises Piranha kits on the side, I feel like a fish out of water on this one too, can you help ?

Sonoma Historics

The rear body reminds one of the Lotus 19 and Lotus 23 sports racing cars, but everything forward of the roll bar does not. All suggestions welcome below.

Sonoma Historics

Finally the Can Am type vehicle above looks part McLaren and part Chaparral with out fitting the mould of either, unusually for a vehicle of this type, if it is a Can Am car, it appears to have an aluminium body at a time when fiber glass was very much de riguer.

If you can help identify any of these vehicles please do not hesitate to chip in below, as soon as I have all the answers I’ll do a follow up blog.

My thanks to Karl Kause and Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs taken at Sonoma Historics at the end of May.

Thanks for joining me on this “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at some of the vehicles at the recent San Morino Motor Classic. Don’t forget to come back now !


Wacky and Bertone – Arnolt Bristol Bolide #404X3086

In 1906 Stanley Harold Aranoff was born into a family of bookbinders living in Chicago. After studying engineering he changed his name to Arnolt as part of an unsuccessful bid to break into the motor industry in 1936.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

While looking for business opportunities he bought the rights to the Sea Mite Marine engine which he attached to a 13 ft rowing boat and sailed from St Joseph in Michigan across Lake Michigan to Chicago as part of a publicity stunt which earned him his “Wacky” nickname.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

The Sea Mite proved a wise purchase after “Wacky” Arnolt won a contract to supply the motors to the US NAVY for their small vessels during the ’39-’45 war.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

After the war “Wacky” held franchises to distribute MG, Riley and Morris cars and at the 1952 Turin motor show a MG TD with bodywork designed by Franco Scaglione form the financially struggling Bertone Coachworks caught his eye.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

Wacky immediately placed an order for two hundred of the distinctive Bertone MG’s and Mr Bertone apparently nearly fainted. Only 103 Arnolt MG’s were built because MG switched production to the new TF model.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

Impressed with the sales of the Bertone MG Arnolt, “Wacky” commissioned Bertone to develop a body for an Aston Martin and a total of eight these cars are thought to have been built by which time Aston Martin has long pulled the plug on the project.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

Wacky then commissioned a one off Bertone Bentley for his personal use before entering an agreement with Bristol to supply 200 type 404 chassis with 125 hp six cylinder Bristol motors which would then be shipped to Bertone for the bodywork as seen on today’s featured 1954 example chassis #404X3086.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

Today’s featured car, which is seen at the 2012 Bristol Concours d’Elegance at Greenwich, was the original European demonstrator and was displayed at the 1954 Motor Shows held in Geneva, Turin, Brussels, Munich, and finally Paris where it was sold to an American owner.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

To help market the Arnolt Bristol “Wacky” entered three cars in the 1955 Sebring 12 hours and they finished 1st, 2nd and 4th in the 2 litre / 122 cui class with John Panks and Ernie Erickson sharing the honours. The following year the team finished second in the Sebring 12 hours to a Ferrari and in 1957 the team withdrew from the race after team member Bob Goldrich was killed during the race.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

In 1960 Max Goldman and Ralph Durbin shared a second Sebring 12 hour class win driving an Arnolt Bristol which finished 14th overall. Other class and race winners driving Arnolt Bristol’s included team owner Wacky himself, Ed Rahal, Carl Grassman and Tom Payne.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

Production of the Arnolt Bristol is thought to have come to an end in 1959 with 142 vehicles built, of those 12 were destroyed on Wacky’s premises in a warehouse fire.

Arnolt Bristol Bolide, Bristol Concours d'Elegance, Greenwich

Three versions of the Arnolt Bristol were built striped down Bolide like the one seen here, several Bolides also had aluminium bodies, Deluxe Roadster with Connolly hide seats full windscreen and full weather protection and a couple of coupes. At least one Arnolt Bristol is known to have been sold new as late as 1966.

Thanks for joining me on this Wacky and Bertone edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the first of this months Indy Cars. Don’t forget to come back now !


43rd Wedding Anniversary – Dana Point Concours d’Elegance

Such is the inclement weather here at GALPOT Towers that when my landlady asked for a theme for her 50th Birthday Party I had no hesitation when I suggested having a Diving Suit Party, dry wit after all is an Englishman’s stock in trade, so it’s always a pleasure to receive photo’s from Geoffrey Horton’s adventures in the sunny world of the California Concours d’Elegance scene.

Dana Point, California

Above is Dana Point where Geoffrey and his wife Gayle spent the weekend celebrating their 43rd Anniversary a couple of weeks ago.

Bentley Hawkeye Special, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

During their stay they entered their Jaguar XK140 FHC SE in the Concours d’Elegance in which this 8 litre / 488 cui 1924 Bentley Hawkeye Special was also taking part.

Mercedes Benz 130 Cabrio Limosine, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

Among the Mercedes Benz vehicles entered was this 25 hp rear engined 1935 130 H Cabrio,

Mercedes Benz 540 K, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

and class winning 1937 540K W24 Roadster with up to 180 supercharged hp capable of reaching 110 mph.

Mercedes Benz 320 Cabriolet B, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

Marginally more modest from 1937 was this 320 Cabriolet B W124 similar to the four door type used as German military staff cars in films including The Great Escape, The Longest Day, The Train and Schindler’s List.

Mercedes Benz 230 S / W153, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

The Mercedes Benz 230S W153 above was developed for taking part in trials and rallies, hence the unusual bumpers which feature front and rear designed for co drivers to stand on should a redistribution of weight be required to aid traction or steering. Only 52 of these cars were ever built.

Kurtis 500M Roadster, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

Leaping into the post ’39-’45 War era I believe this 1953 Kurtis 500M has appeared in a previous GALPOT post, I find it’s chunky styling even more appealing from the rear.

Arnolt Bristol, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

Like wise an Arnolt Bristol has appeared on these pages before, the green example above is from the final 1959 year of production which totaled just 200.

Chevrolet Corvette Italia by Scaglietti, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

Only three Chevrolet Corvette Italia’s were built in 1959 with coachwork by Scaglietti in Italy. The idea for the car was born out an expensive to replace Ferrari crankshaft required by Gary Laughlin who turned to Jim Hall and Carroll Shelby to help in realise an exotic hand built car with affordable and reliable mechanical components. The example, above, owned by the Peterson Automotive Museum is the only one of the three built with a manual transmission.

Voisin C-25 Aerodyne, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

Not for the first time this 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne, from the Mullin Automotive Museum, won the best in show award, it won at Pebble Beach last year too ! Among it’s novel features are a radial engine as used more commonly in aircraft, and a pneumatically operated retractable roof.

Jaguar XK140 FHC SE, Dana Point Concours d'Elegance

Finally I hope you will join me in congratulating Geoffrey and Gayle not only on their 43rd wedding anniversary but also on winning their class at the Dana Point Concours d’Elegance with the faithful Jaguar XK140 FHC SE that has been a part of their lives for 26 years.

My thanks to Geoffrey for his photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “43rd Wedding Anniversary” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Meridian Date – Bristol Concours d’Elegance

Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

Yesterday I travelled 2 degrees, 35 mins 45.25 seconds East to the Meridian line at Greenwich in London with Florian, my guest from France, to see the Bristol Concour’s d’Elegance, where a fine selection of Bristol Cars and a single Fraser Nash BMW, representing over 60 years of automotive history was accumulating in the grounds of the Old Naval College.

Frazer Nash BMW 321, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

Oldest car at the show was this 1939 Frazer Nash BMW 321, Frazer Nash were in partnership with the Bristol Aircraft Company when the latter diversified into the automotive market after WW2.

Bristol 400, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

Several Bristol 400‘s, the manufacturers first model, were present all in immaculate condition, this 1971cc, 120 cui six cylinder being maintained by Bristol Owners Club (BOC) member Derek Hughes.

Bristol 402, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

Among many Bristol models I saw for the first time was the 402 of which only 23 examples were built, this one belonging to Richard Weale.

Arnolt Bristol, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

I know the father of one GALPOT regular used to race an Arnolt Bristol so it was a particular thrill to see and above all hear this car being started up by Kenneth Andrén who brought his car over from Sweden.

Bristol 406, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

There were several Bristol 406’s, which featured roof mounted indicator lights, present this one belonging to Edward Anderson.

Bristol 407, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

Chrysler supplied the motor’s for all Bristol models starting with the 407 in 1961, this is the 6277 cc / 383 cui big block Chysler B series V8 fitted to the 411 Series 2 belonging to Jamie Davenport.

Bristol 603, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

In 1976 the 603 model was introduced a car that owed no heritage at all to the Bristol 407 that had been continually upgraded from 1961 and formed the basis of a succession of new models. This is the cockpit of the 603E belonging to Fergus Taylor-Gregg.

Bristol Blenhiem, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

Newest of the Bristol’s present was the 2009 Blenhiem Series 4 of Richard Levine.

Bristol 407 Viotti, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

91 year old Bristol Works Director, until the factory closed earlier this year, the sprightly Syd Lovesy was amongst those who handed out the prizes at the end of the day. Syd is seen here with Richard Vaughan and the unique 1963 Bristol Viotti 407 styling exercise that once belonged to comic actor Peter Sellers.

Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

Concours d’Elegance award winning cars included the 400 of Ashley James, the 403 of John Manley, the 405 of Cyril Milward, the 411 Series 2 of Jamie Davenport, a 412, the Arnolt of Kenneth Andrén, and the last one I can positively identify in the line the Fraser Nash BMW 321.

Arnolt Bristol, Bristol C'dE, Greenwich

Car of the day for me was definitely the Arnolt, hats off to Kenneth bring this car over from Sweden, thanks to everyone at the Bristol Owners Club who made this a day for Florian and I to remember.

Thanks for joining me on this Meridian edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow to see how the Aluminium Buick 215 V8 came to impact the British motor industry. Don’t forget to come back nowhttps://www.psychoontyres.co.uk/powered-under-licence-rover-p5b-3-5-litre-coupe/ !