Thursday, May 29, 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
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
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
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.