The Arnolt Bristol is a Bertone coachbuilt wonder

14th April 2024
Adam Wilkins

Stanley H 'Wacky' Arnolt was a Chicago-based industrialist who built an international automotive business. He would take the chassis of British cars, add Italian coachwork and sell the results in the United States. Arnolt’s first offering was the MG TD based Arnolt-MG but, when production of the base car came to and end, the search was on for an alternative platform. Bristol provided the answer, with Bertone once again responsible for the coachwork.


Production records and numbers are open to conjecture, but 142 chassis numbers were issued although twelve chassis are known to have been lost to a factory fire. Chassis number 404X3008 was the the ninth car, and it was raced from new. As well as having a life-long racing career, chassis 3008 had further claims to fame in the world of cinema. It appeared in the 1997 film James Dean: Race With Destiny and also featured on the poster to promote The Devil’s Hairpin in 1957. In the the 1980s, it was bought by long-time Arnolt enthusiast and keeper of the marque register, Bill Watkins. He had raced 404X3006 in period.

The current owner of 3008 is Ivo Noteboom, who bought the car with the specific intention of entering the Mille Miglia. He had been studying the entry lists and realised that there was only ever two or three Arnolt-Bristols vying for an entry and they were always accepted. Calculating that it would be a shoe-in, Ivo found a car in Switzerland and, once the deal was done, sent off his entry. That year, seven Arnolts applied and he ended up on the waiting list...


He bought another car to enter the Mille Miglia and has spent the past few years using the Arnolt for lower-key events. Plans to race the car in California last year came to nothing because of the complications involved shipping the car to the States, but preparations for that meant the car was race-ready when the call came from Goodwood to compete in the 81st Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport. This is not Ivo’s first visit to West Sussex. A previous invitation with his Maserati 6CM didn’t go to plan. “Qualifying wasn’t good because the car wasn’t running well and it broke down just before the start of the race,” he told us. Speaking on Friday before the 81st Members' Meeting, he said, “I’m hoping for a better weekend this time.”

That said, he’s not expecting the be at the sharp end of grid in the Peter Collins Trophy. “I hope not to be last! That’s actually my goal,” he says. “I’ve seen the other cars that are here and they are all faster and race prepared. I haven’t done much about the mechanical parts of the car. It’s all standard. I’m not expecting much. If this all goes right, if it’s a really nice car to drive maybe I’ll tweak it a little bit to make it faster.”

Ivo has recently bought chassis 3006, the car raced by Bill Watkins in period, bringing together both cars of similar provenance. His plan will be to keep the earlier car for road use and dedicate the car seen here to racing. Perhaps, then, we’ll see those lap times fall as time progresses.

Photography by Joe Harding.

  • 81MM

  • Members' Meeting

  • Event Coverage

  • Bristol

  • Bertone

  • bristol-450-le-mans-racer-up-for-sale-with-bonhamscars-at-81mm-main.jpg

    Members' Meeting

    Bristol 450 Le Mans racer up for sale with Bonhams|Cars at 81MM

  • bonhams-81mm-walkaround.jpg

    Members' Meeting

    Inside the Bonhams|Cars auction at Members' Meeting | 81MM

  • parnell-cup-full-race.jpg

    Members' Meeting

    Video: 2024 Parnell Cup full race | 81MM