All I Want For Christmas: 1955 Arnolt MG Coupe

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While there are a lot of amazing cars out there, for some reason this is the one I would want to find out in the driveway on Christmas morning! Talk about a beautiful and rare machine! It’s an Arnolt MG Coupe, one of only 67 coupes to be built from the relationship between Mr. Arnolt, Bertone and MG. I’m sure many of you have heard of the Arnolt Bristol, but it’s understandable if you’ve never seen or heard of the Arnolt MG. They didn’t build many and so far there are around 35 missing. The seller claims this one is all original, although I have my doubts, I still would love to have it. You can find this rare beauty here on eBay in Monte Carlo, Monaco with a current bid of £18k ($22k).

The story goes that Mr. Arnolt, a successful Chicago based car distributor spotted a beautiful Bertone bodied MG at the 1952 Turin autoshow. He loved the design so much, he ordered 200 bodies from Bertone and made arrangements with MG to provide him with MG TD chassis to install them on. After building just 102 cars, MG could no longer provide him with TD engines and chassis, leaving Arnolt to figure out how to meet his side of the deal with Bertone. Thankfully he was able to work out a deal with Bristol, giving birth to the Arnolt Bristol. As incredible as those cars are, I would love to have this MG Special.

MG hasn’t ever been known for building high powered engines, but they have a long history of building some wonderful sports cars. The 1.3 liter MG inline 4 only produces about 50 horsepower, but what the TD lacks in power it makes up for in handling prowess. While I’m sure the Bertone body adds a decent amount of weight, I doubt it’s enough to have a drastic impact on handling or performance. This one looks to be in nice and clean shape. That valve cover looks like an aftermarket replacement to me, but otherwise the engine looks to be original. I see some overspray around the engine bay, which suggests this car isn’t as original as the seller states.

The interior doesn’t look all original to me either, but it looks correct. It looks a lot more comfortable than a TD, or any MG T-series for that matter. It is still fairly spartan, but having a roof over your head and roll up windows makes a world of difference when your cruising down the road.

While I don’t believe that this car is all original, it does look to be in great shape and is complete. Finding replacement body and interior parts could be tricky, so having all the correct screws, bolts and trim pieces is extremely important. As much as I love it, I do have one major issue with it, I’d be scared to drive it. When you own a car this is just one of 67 or so left, it becomes your responsibility to protect and preserve it for the future. Once these cars are gone, they will be gone forever. Do you think you could bring yourself to actually drive it everyday or would you share my fears of damaging it? Either way, if it ends up in your driveway on Christmas morning, we sure would love to hear about it!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. RayT

    I have to say it looks perfectly Wacky to me, Josh! Not that I’m the Ultimate Expert on Mr. Arnold’s cars, but this looks — except for the steering-wheel wrap — original. What do you think has been changed?

    Aside from weight, the Bertone body almost certainly added a little structural rigidity the TD didn’t have, which would be nice for touring. People raced Arnolt-Bristols, but I can’t ever remember seeing one of these on a track.

    Fast it surely isn’t, but this is a very pretty car. I’d certainly enjoy having it but, as normal with me, would have to drive it; otherwise, why bother?

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  2. KeithK

    I’m in Monaco on xmas vacation if anyone wants a look. Did you buy that even for a second ? I gave santa a big list. Damnit forgot to put this on it

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  3. Dave Wright

    Lovely car……bearing little semblance to a TD and I am sure it was in a totally different cost range as well. I am with RayT, they would not put the energy into such a magnificent body to use the inexpensive MG interior. Looks high class Italian to me. I am sure like many of this type car, the photos make it look larger than it really is. The purportions are great, a real piece of art.

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  4. Glen

    I wouldn’t drive EVERY day, ….but, yes I would drive it. How could anyone just look at it, and never drive it?

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  5. Joe Haska

    I’m not sure I even knew such a car existed, but I love it, and I want it ,and I would drive it like all my other cars— LIKE I STOLE IT!

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  6. Brakeservo

    I know the seller, (he bought my ex-Couper “Monte Carlo” Bentley). He is an honorable gentleman and a true enthusiast. I’ve not seen this car but I’m sure his description is credible.

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  7. AlanB

    I wonder what the reserve is … it didn’t sell last month with a final bid of
    £25,690.00 [ ]

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  8. gene

    What is interesting to note, is that the warehouse has metal bars on the windows.
    I would have thout that burglary is not a problem in Monaco, appears to be that it is.

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    • Francisco

      Burglary is indeed a problem in Monaco. Burglars go where the money is, and there’s plenty of money in Monaco. Violent crime is not, however, a problem on the streets of Monte Carlo. I once witnessed an accident there, and police response time was less than five minutes. Walking around the city, you don’t see gangsters or thugs. I guess they’re just not welcome there.

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      • Mr Moo

        It costs a ridiculous amount of money to simply get to Monaco, and I would imagine if you are a thug you probably don’t have “Get to Monaco to cause trouble” high on your list of things to do.

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  9. Parker

    There are quite a few Items that are “not quite right” on this car. But, make no mistake, it is still a nice example. And if the car stays in this bidding range it is a great buy. There is a nicer restored example currently for sale in Basel, Switzerland at about 108,000 Swiss Francs.

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  10. Woodie Man

    Heres the latest listing:

    I don’t know….if the owner says it is all original….then its all original. That said why do I think Vignale when I look at this? It has a strange beauty….save for the rear lights…

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    • Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

      You’re not alone in thinking Vignale, Woodie Man…I’ve long wanted one of these to put next to my Italia 2000 GT. Same general idea (Italian body on production British sports car chassis) and I think they would look great together. :-) Way out of my budget, though…if I hadn’t bought the Italia in 1987 I’d never be able to own it now!

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  11. Woodie Man

    Serves me right….owner in new listing (under)states a color change from Peacock blue to an older ‘green’ repaint. It seems to me that in an language ‘original’means as it was built….so Josh is correct.

    Oh welll…….

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  12. DolphinMember

    ‘Wacky’ Arnolt certainly had passion for special cars. This Arnolt MG is one of the classiest small coupes of the mid-’50s….altho a lot of that class is down to the Italian design house Bertone, which designed and built the bodies. It looks like Bertone might have chosen MGA tail lights for these Arnolt coupes, which look very good on them.

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    • waynard

      Those taillights were used on many different Brit cars of the period.

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  13. Parker

    Well I have photos of a Coupe (#299) once owned by the Arnolt Family. One of the later ones built. And much more “original”. The head light rings and the parking lights are not the same. This car is missing the valence between rear bumper and body. The front bumper looks original but the rear is suspect. There is also trim under the door missing. Very hard to find. It is still a nice car. Quite possible the current owner does not realize the car’s shortcomings.

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    • Dave Wright

      With low production hand built cars there are many variations between individual cars…….I wouldn’t rely on comparison between 2 cars to establish what was original. There is frequently more to the story.

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    • waynard

      I agree: Rear valance is missing, front overriders are gone (note same in B&W photo), paint is non-original as specified on the data plate, valve cover is non-original replacement. Nevertheless, running or not this is a very, very nice and scarce car. I think the owner is just using “original” in his own fashion.

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  14. Parker

    Actually the tail lights are TD and they are proper. Bertone the electrical from the TD that came with the Chassis. The Dash instruments are TD. Only the gas gauge and the turn signal switch. BTW They did not make the MGA until late 55 after the MG TF.

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  15. Rik

    You’ll find those Lucas taillights on many British cars…Jags, Triumphs, MGs…

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  16. Parker

    Dave Wright and Rik, quite possible on both comments. Bertone was famous for using parts from other makes.

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    • Rik

      When I replaced them on my MGA, there was a cross reference chart…I was amazed how many cars used that light!

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  17. Rocko

    Certainly a gentleman’s car , pass the poupon.

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  18. Kieron

    Looks so cute
    Could you imagine how it would go if it had a Bristol engine as well
    I live in the uk and attend many car shows and have never heard or seen one
    Please Santa

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  19. JohnM

    Anyone else seeing a lot of Volvo Amazon coupe from the A pillar back?

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  20. John D

    I would get this car to use for a fiberglass mold to make my own ‘glass copies. With a faithful copy, I could build my own with say a Gen 3 Hemi powering it. With the ability to replace panels virtually at will, I could let Joe Haska drive it like he stole it. Which he might have to do to get more than a ride

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    • John D

      Mickey Thompson was part of a ‘ring’ that borrowed a Fiat Cisitalia in the early Fifties, made a fiberglass mold of it and the Allied Swallow was born. If I recall correctly, there were more copies of the purloined fiberglass cars made than the aluminum originals.

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  21. Ben T. Spanner

    My old reference book states the coupe only weighs 40 pounds more than a TD roadster. They also state that a hotter engine with bigger valves and 1 1/2 inch SU’s produced 62 Horse Power.

    The same reference states the Arnolt Bristol was $4500 in 1954.

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  22. Parker

    I have heard that the coupe was about 200 pounds heavier than a stock TD. For some years there was one road raced in Northern California. The aerodynamics and driver’s skill more than made up for the additional weight. Currently there is one in Maine being brought back to life that has a 289 Ford engine and was Drag Raced in the Las Vegas Area.

    As a side note, of the 67 purported to have been made we can only find 35 of the coupes. Three of them are under restoration that we know of.

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  23. Frank Opalka

    met Mr Bertone at Pebble,I had an Arnolt-Aston Martin, he knew it perfectly, one of 2 or 3, He remembered Wacky,Bertone also did the Iso Grifo, those were the days,Mr Bertone said Wacky saved the house of Bertone with his orders.

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  24. Steve

    The convertible version is even more striking – and only 35 were made.

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  25. Parker

    And we can only account for 16 of the convertibles.

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    • John

      Hi Parker- When you say “we” can only account for 16, who are we? I’m trying to track down who has kept a register list because I just bought a coupe version. -John

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  26. dj

    Why have a car if your scared to drive it? let someone else buy it so they can do what cars are supposed to do ad what they are for.Scared to drive it?

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  27. Parker

    Hardly scared to drive them. My TC is not afraid to jump on the freeway although I do try to avoid the rain. I am bringing the Arnolt coupe back from the dead to be a good quality “driver” also capable of holding its own on the freeways.

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  28. Daniel

    This car was sold at Bonhams last year for $39,600.
    More photos on the following link :

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  29. Terry Sanders

    I have one of these that I restored. I also maintian a list of all Arnolt MGs and try to keep up with these. This car is listed on Ebay right now . It has a few things wrong but over all now a bad example.
    Terry in Oakland, CA

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    • John

      Hi Terry- I recently bought an Arnolt MG Coupe. Please contact me to update your list. -John

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  30. Frank Opalka

    I met a guy at Hershey Pa this fall walking around with sign looking for Arnolt MG parts, showed me pic, needed small stuff, he was from So America, we didnt know each others language, but left me his address.

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    • Parker

      Frank, I do have some smaller parts for Arnolt MG and am reproducing some of the plastic lenses for my own use. I would appreciate his address.

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      • Frank Opalka

        will try to find that info for u

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  31. Terry Sanders

    A coupe body that was stripped turned up in Mexico a few years ago. It has been poorly restored but is now running and probably missing a lot of Bertone items.

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  32. Parker

    Frank, Thank you so much. I will try to help him as I am completing a restoration of a Coupe.


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  33. Terry Sanders

    Hi John and congratulations… I’ll send yo u a copy of the Register when I get it updated…Please send me the numbers of the plate inside the engine compartment.

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