Much has been written of the heroic Cunningham racing program of the 1950s when Briggs Cunningham fought hard to win at LeMans. Not so much is known of the road cars he had to build in order to be classed as a manufacturer for the race. This is one of four convertible C-3 Cunninghams built at West Palm Beach and bodied by Vignale in Turin, Italy. The engine is the Chrysler Hemi V8. Advertised with a price of $14,000, this is an expensive and exclusive car, especially in this rare convertible style. The C-3 coupe was a little more successful and around twenty were sold. Cunninghams were admired by those 'in the known' but for Briggs they were a means to an end; he wanted to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The C3 chassis was produced at Cunningham's plant in West Palm Beach, Florida. It included the same mechanical features as the racing cars - a ladder-type tubular frame, coil-spring suspension and a modified Chrysler V8 engine with hemispherical combustion chambers. The body, made of aluminum and displaying an oval grille, was designed by Giovanni Michelotti and built in Italy by Carrozzeria Vignale. The original 105-inch wheelbase was stretched two inches to accommodate 2+2 seating.
The 331.1 cubic-inch overhead-valve, V8 engine produced 210-235 horsepower and the C3 Cunningham had a top speed of 138 mph. The engine was coupled to a three-speed manual or semi-automatic transmission. The car sold for between $9,000 and $11,423 new, and Briggs Cunningham lost money on every car.
The current owner restored the car in 2009.Also photographed at :