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Wacky Arnolt’s Aston Martin Indiana Spider is an Anglo-Italian masterpiece

Designed by Franco Scaglione and bodied by Bertone, Wacky Arnolt’s unique Aston Martin DB2/4 Indiana Spider is now coming up for auction at Gooding’s London sale on September 1st.

Some of Aston Martin’s most jaw-dropping automobiles were the result of collaborations with Italian coachbuilders, but this extremely special DB2/4 wasn’t bodied by Zagato as you might expect. Its story starts with a man by the name of Stanley Harold “Wacky” Arnolt, an American entrepreneur who made vast sums of the green stuff by selling marine engines during WWII. Following the war, Wacky turned his love for foreign sports cars into a business, striking a deal with Nuccio Bertone to build a run of custom-bodied MGs in the US as Arnolt-MGs. It proved to be a great success, so Wacky set his sights on more illustrious targets. 

In 1953, Wacky secured a deal with Aston Martin for eight DB2/4 chassis, which he planned to have bodied by Carrozzeria Bertone to sell in the US as Arnolt-Astons. Three were designed by Franco Scaglione as competition-style roadsters, while Giovanni Michelotti designed two drop head coupés. However, this car, the one Wacky would use as his personal ride, was totally unique. 

Wacky commissioned Franco Scaglione to design a one-off Spider body for his own DB2/4. It’s a design that many agree is the most beautiful of the Bertone-bodied Aston Martins, and one that is peppered with hallmarks of Scaglione’s masterpieces. This gorgeous Spider features the classic Aston Martin grille ahead of a dramatically sculpted bonnet, stylish wraparound windscreen, crisp wheel arches, and a rounded boot with protruding tail lights. The finished product was dubbed the “Indiana” Spider as a reference to either the Indianapolis 500 or the location of Wacky’s headquarters in Warsaw, Indiana, but historians have yet to find a definitive answer. 

For any collectors of David Brown-era Aston Martins, this unique Indiana Spider represents an unmissable opportunity to acquire a new crown jewel. As Wacky’s personal car, boasting well-documented provenance, and benefitting from a magnificent restoration, we expect this Indiana Spider to generate quite the buzz when it crosses the stand at Gooding’s London auction on September 1st