Billionaire Motoring Tycoon Sir Arnold Clark Dies

10 April 2017, 14:22 | Updated: 10 April 2017, 14:44

Arnold Clark

Motoring tycoon Sir Arnold Clark has died at the age of 89.

The billionaire, who founded his Arnold Clark car dealership in Glasgow in 1954, died on Monday surrounded by his family.

He was knighted in 2004 for services to the motor industry and last year became Britain's first billionaire car dealer, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

A family statement said: "Sir Arnold Clark passed away peacefully this morning, April 10 2017, 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.

"We wish to thank all those who have sent messages of condolence and appreciate your kind support.''

Sir Arnold founded his company after leaving the RAF in 1954.

He is said to have used his demob money to buy a Morris Ten Four for £70, before restoring it and selling it on for a profit.

He soon opened the first Arnold Clark showroom in Glasgow's Park Road, going on to establish hire car schemes, repair centres, franchises and a car finance and insurance business over the next decades.

Sir Arnold opened his first site in England with a retail centre in Liverpool in 1994.

Adding to his knighthood, awarded by the Queen, and numerous business honours, Sir Arnold also collected an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow in 2005.

A statement from the Arnold Clark Group described the founder as a "truly inspirational business leader and influential public figure''.

It added: "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.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.''

Paul Cooney, chief executive of charity Kiltwalk, which has been sponsored by Arnold Clark, said: ''Scotland has lost one of its greatest business figures and someone who embodied the ethos that business success should be used as a force for good in society.

''Sir Arnold Clark and the organisation he built have been enormously supportive of Kiltwalk and the growth of the charity has been due in no small measure to the kindness and enthusiasm which they have shown towards us.

''Our thoughts are with his family and his many, many friends at this difficult time.''

Dr Bridget McConnell, chief executive of Glasgow Life, the cultural arm of the city council, praised Sir Arnold's contribution to Glasgow.

She said: ''Sir Arnold was a true friend of Glasgow and an enthusiastic contributor to our cultural life.

''For decades he and the company which bore his name supported what was the old Museum of Transport and latterly the Riverside Museum, where he served as a trustee on the fundraising appeal which raised almost #5 million for the iconic, Zaha Hadid-designed gallery on the banks of the Clyde.

''Sir Arnold also had huge affection for Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and was a trustee on the refurbishment appeal which raised #12.9 million, as well as the hugely successful organ programme.

''His contribution cannot be understated and he will be very sorely missed by his family and all of his friends and colleagues across Glasgow and Scotland.''