Friday, May 30, 2014

Celebration of Automobiles Race Cars

The Celebration of Automobiles is indeed a Concours event that is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the running of the Indianapolis Grand Prix. So what better cars to have on display than some classic racers. Of course there are a huge number of great race cars both old and new on display at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum. While we were enjoying this weekend we stopped in there and I will be posting pictures from that great museum a little later.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Foreign Closed From 1947-1969

There were also a number of very fine post World War II Foreign Closed Classics on display at this year's Celebration of Automobiles. Some absolute favorites in particular were those built between 1947 and 1969. The first was a 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta Coup, a car I had never seen in person before.
Also gleaming in the brilliant Indianapolis sun that day was a 1958 MG Magnette, a 1965 Mercedes Benz 220 SE, a 1964 Ferrari Lusso, and another of those cars I love so much, this time a 1967 Jaguar E Type 2.5 Series.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Foreign Open from 1940-1967

The Celebration of Automobiles wasn't just about American made classics. There were an abundance of foreign beauties on display as well. They had a rather large category for Foreign Open cars that were built between 1940 and 1967. I'm not sure of the logic behind including all of those years but there were some magnificent machines involved. Included was a 1960 Morgan Drophead Coupe.
Also on display were a 1960 Austin Healy 3000 MK1 BM7 Roadster, a 1956 Jaguar XK140 MC OTS, a 1963 Triumph TR 4 Convertible, a 1960 Triumph TR 3A Roadster, and a 1961 Jaguar E Type Roadster, which is a car very dear to my heart.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Early Foreign Open Classics

The next two classes on display at this year's Celebration of Automobiles were the two for the Foreign Open Classics. They are divided by year with the first being 1923-1930 and the second encompassing the length of the 1930s, from 1931 to 1939. The first car was a 1928 Isotto Fraschini Tipo 8A SS Boattail.

In addition there was a 1923 Rolls Royce Playboy Roadster, a 1930 Swallow, a 1927 Isotto Fraschini Tipo 8A Roadster, a 1938 BMW 328 MM, a 1935 Alder Trumf Junior Sport, a 1935 Mercedes Benz 500K Cabriolet A, a 1939 Rolls Royce Wraith Sport Saloon, a 1934 Alfa Romeo 8 C 2300, and a 1934 Bentley 4 Litre Sports Tourer.

Monday, May 26, 2014

American Closed Classics

Despite the turmoil of the Great Depression and World War II, the years 1934 through 1948 saw a number of brilliant American Closed Classics. These are the ones that were on display at this year's Celebration of Automobiles. They include the first car show, a 1937 Packard 1507 Sedan.

Also on display were a 1937 Packard 12 Touring Sedan, a 1934 Pierce-Arrow Salon 12 Silver Arrow Coupe, a 1936 Cord 801 Westerchester Sedan, a 1941 Lincoln Continental, a 1948 Lincoln Continental, a 1941 Cadillac 63 Four Door Sedan, a 1948 Packard 2206 Custom 8 Sedan, a 1941 Cadillac 6227D Coupe, and a 1941 Packard LeBaron Sport Brougham Sedan.

Friday, May 23, 2014

American Muscle, Italain Looks

Briggs Swift Cunningham was that guy. You know, the one everybody wanted to be. He had it all from money to looks with a huge side order of chutzpah. He was an entrepreneur, a playboy and a sportsman who raced not only yachts but also cars.

Born in 1907 to a wealthy Cincinnati family, Cunningham skippered the winning 12 meter yacht in the 1958 America's Cup. But before that he had adorned the cover of the April 26, 1954 cover of Time Magazine. By then he had already established his reputation in auto racing.

Introduced to the sport by his uncle following World War I, Cunningham began racing in the 1930s and had a good degree of early success. By 1940 he was building cars for other to race. One successful example used a Buick frame and engine with a Mercedes SSK body. These hybrids became his trademark.

Most of the cars he was building were really one-off race cars that he dubbed prototypes. Eventually, though, a few high performance sports cars were made to be street legal. In 1952, to comply with homolagation rules which required 25 road worthy examples of a car, he introduced the C 3. In typical Cunningham fashion it was something of a hybrid car like his racers. It sported a 331 cubic inch Chrysler V-8 Hemi engine with Zenith down draft-draft carburetors mounted on a custom Cunningham C-2R racing chassis. This American muscle growled out an impressive for the time 235 horse power. The cars were then shipped to Turin, Italy where famed coachbuilder Vignale clothed them.

This rare combination of American muscle, proven international racing prowess and beautiful Italian design produced only 25 cars, six of which were convertibles. And these cars came at a price. In a time when a brand new Corvette cost under $3500, these Cunningham masterpieces cost between $8000 and $12,000 each. Clients who purchased these cars had names such as Rockefeller and DuPont.

While Cunningham continued to build custom cars for his highly successful racing team, including outright and class wins at such events as Sebring and LeMans, IRS rules at the time stated that after five years if an enterprise wasn't profitable it was deemed a hobby. Cunningham road vehicles fell into this classification.

Cunningham passed away in 2003 at the age of 96 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He left behind a racing and automotive legacy that will live on. The C 3 seen here is one of those six convertibles ever built and was on display recently at the Celebration of Automobiles in Indianapolis, IN.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Early American Closed Classics

In addition to all of the American Open Classic classes, those beautiful and amazing old convertibles, the Celebration of Automobiles also featured a number of American Closed Classic classes. The oldest of these featured cars from 1925 to 1933 and included a brilliant 1931 Marmon Sixteen Limousine.

This classification also included a 1932 Packard 900 Light Eight Coupe, a 1929 Packard 626 Four Door Sedan, a 1925 Cole 890 Brouette Sedan, a 1933 Stutz DV32 Hollywood Sedan, a a 1931 Cadillac V16 Coupe, and a 1932 Stutz SV16.