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Scottish billionaire car dealer Sir Arnold Clark dies

image copyrightArnold Clark Automobiles
image captionSir Arnold Clark had been in the car sales business for more than 60 years

Sir Arnold Clark, the founder of Britain's biggest independent group of car dealerships, has died at the age of 89.

The billionaire was born in Glasgow, where he set up his first showroom in 1954.

A statement said he had passed away peacefully, "surrounded by his family".

It added that Sir Arnold, who was knighted in 2004, was "an inspiration" and said "the family will continue to carry on his vision".

He was confirmed as Britain's first billionaire car dealer in the Sunday Times Rich List in 2016.

The company which bears Sir Arnold's name has 200 dealerships across the UK, with more than 18,000 new and used cars in stock. It posted profits of £107.2m in 2014 on sales of £3.2bn.

Sir Arnold founded the business after leaving the Royal Air Force in the early 1950s.

He used his demob money to buy a Morris Ten-Four for just £70. Having restored the car to its former glory and sold it on for a profit, he began to buy and sell cars.

His first showroom was in Glasgow's Park Road.

Who was Sir Arnold?

image copyrightAC DIGI TEAM
  • Born in Glasgow in November 1927
  • Started buying and selling cars after leaving the RAF in the early 1950s
  • Opened his first showroom in 1954 in Glasgow's Park Road
  • Knighted by the Queen in 2004
  • Owned a collection of classic cars, including two Ford Model Ts, a 1926 Citroen Cloverleaf and a 1928 Rolls-Royce Park Ward Single Tourer
  • In 1988, he bought the 78ft racing yacht Drum from Duran Duran's lead singer Simon Le Bon. Over the next few years, he competed in UK inshore and offshore races

A statement from his family said: "Sir Arnold Clark passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and a great friend and employer to many.

"He was an inspiration and the family will continue to carry on his vision. He will be greatly missed."

image copyrightArnold Clark Automobiles
image captionSir Arnold was knighted in 2004

His company, Arnold Clark Automobiles, said it was saddened to announce the passing of its founder and chairman.

In a statement it said: "Sir Arnold was a truly inspirational business leader and influential public figure.

"His unsurpassed work ethic and strong family values led him to build a market-leading automotive retailer that continues to go from strength to strength.

"Sir Arnold's entrepreneurial ideals continue to be at the heart of the business.

"His personal philosophies will continue to inspire everybody who works in the business, and will be the cornerstone of its future growth and continuing success."

It added: "Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

Related Topics

  • Glasgow
  • Car industry

More on this story

  • Sir Arnold Clark 'first billionaire car dealer'