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1953 Arnolt MG Bertone Coupe

Classics  /   /  By Derek Mau

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.

1953 Arnolt-MG Bertone Coupe

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.

1953 Arnolt-MG Bertone Coupe

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
Chassis no.27858
Engine no.27785
Body Stylecoupe
Body serial no.4355
Engine size1250cc (76 cubic inches) rated at 54 hp
Exterior colorPost Office Red
InteriorConnolly Grey
Wheels & TiresOriginal Borrani wheels and General tires, Dunlop spare tire
Notable featuresOriginally 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
About the Author

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  1. Frank January 25, 2013 at 7:14 am Reply

    Many yrs ago I had a Arnolt car but it was built on a Aston chassis

    • eBay Motors January 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm Reply


      Wayne Carini was curious as to what happened to your Arnolt built on the Aston chassis. Did you sell it, give it away, or something else?

      • Frank January 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm Reply

        Hi Wayne call or Email me, sorry I couldnt make Scottsdale this yr, Email 773-719-5053

  2. eBay Motors January 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm Reply

    Great to hear Frank!

  3. Wayne Carini January 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm Reply

    What happened to the Aston?

  4. WAYNE HARDY January 28, 2013 at 8:46 am Reply

    If that Arnolt / Bertone MG coupe has 1 1/2 inch SUs then it has the incorrect carbs on it. These cars came with TD MG mechanicals and should have had 1 1/4 inch SU carburators on the engine. Apparently it’s not as “UNTOUCHED” as everyone thinks with wrong carbs, what else is incorrect????

    • eBay Motors January 28, 2013 at 9:03 am Reply


      Carb specs were pulled from an unverified source. Since the carburetor size is in question, then it will be removed from the above spec sheet.

      Prospective buyers should contact the seller directly if they have any questions regarding specifics. Keep in mind that this car was owned by the Arnolt family. S.H. Arnolt may have spec’d this car slightly different from the other MGs.

  5. Wayne Carini January 29, 2013 at 6:16 am Reply

    Arnolt fitted 1 1/2 inch SU’s to his Arnolt MG’s. You can find this information in a Arnolt MG spec sheet. If this is the only thing in question I think we can still list this car as” UNTOUCHED”.
    Best regards
    Wayne Carini

  6. Tracey Pace January 29, 2013 at 9:59 am Reply

    How cool is this? I love seeing these old classics being refurbished rather than restored. every chip crack and dent tells a story, and you loose that in restoration. They are scars telling tales of our past.

    Love your show Wayne. Absolutely the best vintage car show on, in my opinion.

    Good luck with the Auction.
    Tracey =;~}

  7. Mark Roman January 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm Reply

    My uncle was fortunate enough to have owned an Arnolt-MG. The story has it that my aunt worked at a television station in San Diego back in the
    50’s where an anchor at the time had driven one. When Unc found out that the anchor totaled it, he then set out to track it down in a salvage yard and then restored it himself. Unfortunately, the car lost it’s fate shortly after. The wipers didn’t work well during a rain storm and that was the end of it. There was one that crossed the block at the 2011 RM in Scottsdale and I set out to document the car and put a book of photos together for him as a gift. That car hailed from the Gene Ponder Collection as was in Concours State. Also, there is an Arnolt-Aston on display at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, CA. At least it was back in late 2011 when I attended the facility. Just stunning.

    • eBay Motors January 30, 2013 at 9:34 am Reply

      Thanks for sharing your story, Mark. We like how a car can stir up fond memories.

      The Blackhawk Museum is in our area. We’ll have to visit the museum soon to see if the Arnolt-Aston is still in their collection.

  8. jeff hess January 30, 2013 at 5:07 am Reply

    The car is untouched. THe title is still in Wacky’s grand sons name Stanley arnolt III whom I bought it from. IT has been in the family garage since the 1950’s as a notarized letter from Mr. Arnolts says. My partner and I bought it two years ago and had a local mg expert replace spark plug wires and tires and such. did not touch a thing. never titled to anyone but the arnolt family.

    anyoher questions? also please go to bottom of auction to see a link for 60 other pics.

  9. Tim Pelke January 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm Reply

    I guess beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder. This car could have 25 things changed on it, and it would still be so totally cool. Some of us couldn’t ever expect to own something like this. My son and I would have a hobby for life with a car like this to show off and talk about. Just saying.

  10. John Larson January 31, 2013 at 12:55 pm Reply

    When I was growing up in L.A. in the 60’s, a neighbor of ours had one identical to this, but he slipped a 230 cu. in. Ford V8 into it and it looked like it rolled out of the factory that way. Totally stock looking, but that little V8 was really sweet!

    • Kari December 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm Reply

      My dad purchased his Arnolt Bertone from a guy in LA in ’68. It’s red with a V8 in it. What part of LA were you in? I’m trying to find out more information on my dad’s car (he passed away 6 years ago). Thanks!

  11. jeff hess January 31, 2013 at 6:18 pm Reply

    oops… I said it belonged to wackys grandson. We bought it from Wackys son.

  12. Tom Vogel February 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm Reply

    These cars were manufactured in a factory in Warsaw Indiana. The factory was purchased by OEC, and Frank Siemens to produce Medical Equiptment. WakckyS wife who was a Zigfird Follies Queen stil had a office in the building. This car was in storage in Europe somewhere and was shipped back to Indiana to the son. The story goes that he was not really aware of it intil he was contact to see what he wanted do do with it. This was probably in 1977.

    I remember seeing many of the tooling fixturs in the factouy when we were upgreding it for manufacuring of our equiptment. There were many pictures and sales literature around when Wackey’s wife vacated her office there.

    Tom Vogel

  13. Wes Stewart February 7, 2013 at 7:36 am Reply

    Small world. The successful bidder is the same guy that once owned the 63 Morris bus while it was in Texas. It’s going to a good home. I wrench for him on occasion. Nice car.

  14. Craig Burchsted February 19, 2013 at 6:42 pm Reply

    I was the successful bidder on the MG Arnolt, and after a 2,100 mile 3-day road trip, it is now sitting in my hangar. I am thrilled with the car, it truly is a “time warp” vehicle. It is just as Jeff Hess represented it, and I am not planning on changing a thing on it. It has truly gone to a “good home”, and I look forward to showing it.

    Craig Burchsted

    • eBay Motors February 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm Reply


      Great to hear from you and congratulations in being the lucky bidder! Would you be able to share photos of the vehicle now and any other experiences that you have had with it?

      eBay Motors

  15. Jose Luis May 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm Reply

    Tengo en Mexico un MG Arnolt Coupe 1954 en buen estado general.
    Me gustaria venderlo si alguien esta intersado le podria enviar fotos, etc

  16. frank opalka June 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm Reply

    Still have a Arnolt silk scarf and large stained glass window around here somewhere, they are for sale. 773-719-5053

    • Stephane March 4, 2014 at 7:55 am Reply

      Dear Sir,
      I am aiming to buy a MG Arnolt convertible and I will be pleased if you could help me on one point.
      The front windscreen needs to be changed !
      Do you know by any chance how could I get one ?
      Do you know if the MG Arnolt used a windscreen from an Italian car on a large production ?
      I thank you very much in advance for your help and I hope to find a solution to this problem.

      Best regards,

      • Andy May 5, 2015 at 11:15 am Reply

        did you ever get a reply on the windscreen question?

        • lionel July 7, 2015 at 4:56 am Reply

          Hello, I bougth this Arnolt with the need of a windscreen.
          Unfortunately no answers came back.
          The only information I found for the moment, is the Cisitalia 202 which had the same… probably coming from an Italian more produced car.
          It’s not the Alfa Romeo 1900 because I already checked.
          Next try should be with the Fiat 1400 or 1900…
          If ever anybody has an idea or information, I’ll be pleased to get it.

    • Terry December 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm Reply

      Frank, I believe I bought a rear view mirror from you a long while ago for my Arnolt MG…tell me more about the stain glass window.
      terry in Oakland

  17. Kari November 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm Reply

    I have a 1954 Arnolt Bertone that looks a lot like this one here! Has a Ford v-8 thrown in it and needs some love. I inherited it after my dad passed away. He was planning on restoring it.. Looking to find it a new home. Anyone know anyone that might be interested?

    • Tom January 22, 2014 at 2:49 pm Reply

      Kari – Do you still have the Arnolt? I have someone who might be interested. Tom 207-288-0978

      • Kari January 22, 2014 at 4:02 pm Reply

        Hi! Yes we still have the Arnolt… we have had a few offers, but super low. We do not NEED to get rid of it, we would just like to see it go to a new home and get restored. I tried to call, but I did not leave a message. You can call me back at 702-325-7019

    • michael January 31, 2014 at 8:16 pm Reply

      send me an email regarding your car pls

    • alberto February 4, 2014 at 3:00 am Reply

      HI kari, if you still have the Arnolt I could be intersted,I am from Italy and I have others MG in my home.In the case some photo and your required price is appreciate.

      • Kari February 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm Reply

        Please send me your email address so I can forward you more pictures.

      • Andy May 5, 2015 at 11:13 am Reply

        Hey Alberto,

        I came across this thread whilst looking up information on my Arnolt Coupe before I sell it, are you interested in buying one still?

  18. Caz February 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm Reply

    My Dad has an MG-Arnolt in his garage in Australia. From what I’ve been told it was shipped out here from the U.S. possibly 20 years ago. Would love to find out the history of this vehicle.

    • Terry December 10, 2014 at 11:02 am Reply

      Caz, if you know the Arnolt number, I might be able to give you some history.

  19. Terry December 11, 2014 at 4:39 pm Reply

    Your Dad, P Gostelow, has Arnolt 243 which used to belong to Larry Weinstein in Lexington, KY before that it belonged to Robert Kimberly in Ann Arbor, MI….Is he ever going to restore it?

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