Sir Arnold Clark dead: Britain's first billionaire car dealer dies aged 89

Sir Arnold founded his company after leaving the RAF in 1954

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The Independent Online

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."