Originally published in Automobile, June 1992
Stanley “Wacky” Arnolt’s industrial empire included, almost as a sideline, sales and distribution of chiefly British cars and sports-car accessories. He even dabbled in “manufacturing” with the Arnolt-MG and Arnolt-Bristol, which were MG TDs and modified Bristol 404s bodied by Bertone. Seven Aston Martins were handcrafted by Bertone for Arnolt; four were badged as Arnolt-Aston Martins.
These cars were all basically for resale, but in 1953 Arnolt asked Bertone for a one-off Bentley R-type for his own use. The result was this high-wasted sedan that strongly resembles an oversize Arnolt-MG coupe with a narrowed Bentley grill. Those suicide doors swing open on a single huge piano hinge.
Although Bertone’s styling was a generation ahead of the Thirties-like standard steel R-types, Arnolt didn’t keep this car long. Possibly he was disappointed with the lackluster performance of the 4.5-liter six-cylinder engine and the sloppy operation of the GM Hydra-matic transmission. The car also had, because of its narrowed grille, a tendency to overheat in hot weather at slow speeds. Anyway, Wacky was more attracted to sports cars than luxury cruisers, which the Bentley undeniably was, with its wood and leather interior and even twin full-down trays for the rear-seat passengers.
The car, apparently the only Bentley ever bodied by Bertone, is now owned by Neil Henry of Schaumburg, Illinois.