Finding unique and rare cars on eBay is not uncommon. This past month we found a Lamborghini Countach replica that was hand-built in a Wisconsin basement and a Chevy truck originally owned by the “king of cool”, Steve McQueen. This week our special find is a 1953 Arnolt-MG Bertone Coupe of which there were only 65 produced. Additionally, this coupe wears badges by Bertone, MG, and Arnolt making it a rare find.
The name Arnolt may not be as recognizable as MG, Austin Healey, Bristol or Bentley, but it has close ties to all of the above — more than 250 Arnolt-badged cars were built on chassis by the aforementioned marquees spanning fifteen years.
Experts estimate that 103 Arnolt-MG coupes and convertibles were built altogether. Sixty-seven coupes and thirty-six open cars, plus two prototype cars. This particular coupe was purchased directly from the Arnolt family, making the current owner, Jeffrey Hess (eBay member hessfineauctions), the second registered owner of the car.
Mr. Hess is an acknowledged authority on fine watches and bid on a set of rare and expensive watches at an estate sale a little over two years ago. Unbeknown to Hess, the Arnolt-MG coupe was paired with the watch sale. Upon examination of the documents, it became apparent that Hess had bought the coupe directly from the Arnolt family with a receipt signed by the Arnolt family. Possibly this car went from an Arnolt dealership showroom floor to his personal garage before landing in the hands of Mr. Hess.
The Arnolt family had kept the coupe stored in a garage since 1953 and drove it only on rare occasions. The car wasn’t titled until 1959 by the Arnolt Motor Car Company and Arnolt’s son. According to the documentation that came with the car and with less than 2,400 miles on the odometer, the car has been driven less than forty-four miles in the past fifty-four years and is now nearly in the same condition as when it left the Arnolt dealership.
Wayne Carini, host of Chasing Classic Cars on Discovery network’s Velocity channel, owns two Arnolt Bristols. [One is a roadster, the second is one of four coupes that were built.] Wayne told us that finding an Arnolt-MG preserved in its original condition makes it highly desirable in the eyes of vintage car collectors. Having the manufacturer plate on it makes the coupe even more desirable!
Due to the Arnolt-MG coupe’s condition, it was decided to freshen this rare coupe, not restored it. Old rubber pieces, fuel and brake lines, the battery, and engine gaskets were replaced. The engine got a tune-up, fresh oil change and filter. The twin SU carburetors were cleaned, and the brakes overhauled.
The original Post Office Red paint has been detailed to remove the oxidation and the chrome polished to mirror quality. According to the owner, the original paint has a little bit of flaking and there is one noticeable blemish: a bondo spot on the left rear quarter panel about size of a half-dollar.
Mr. Hess says, “It is time to let someone else enjoy the car.” Hence, he hopes the car will go to the right person who appreciates the storied history of Stanley H. Arnolt and the preserved quality of this rare automobile.
Link to eBay listing: 1953 Arnolt-MG Bertone Coupe
|1953 Arnolt-MG Bertone Coupe Specifications|
|Arnolt car no.||299|
|Body serial no.||4355|
|Engine size||1250cc (76 cubic inches) rated at 54 hp|
|Exterior color||Post Office Red|
|Wheels & Tires||Original Borrani wheels and General tires, Dunlop spare tire|
|Notable features||Originally owned/purchased from Arnolt family, wears manufacturer license plate and badges by Bertone, MG, Arnolt.|
|Preserved in original condition with worn parts refreshed|
|Paint, lights, gauges, tires, leather are all original parts|