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Cunningham History

1953 Cunningham C3

Chassis number : 5226

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Sold for $539,000 at 2011 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auctions.
As the only series production model manufactured at Cunningham's Palm Beach, Florida factory, the C3 was a hot rod in European disguise. Coming from one of the first American companies to manufacture for and compete in European endurance racing, Briggs Cunningham needed to produce 25 examples to be eligible for LeMans in 1953. In total, five cabriolets and 20 coupes were created.
This Cunningham C-3 was shipped to Carrozzeria Vignale in late September of 1952. It returned to the United States in March of 1953 where it underwent final assembly in preparation for delivery. When it left the Cunningham factory, it was finished in Cunningham's classic three-tone color scheme with a tan upper section, blue panels and a black main section. The interior was finished with tan trim and outfitted with a Mopar radio and heater. The first owner, Jack B. Hinkle, took possession of the car sometime after May of 1953.

It is believed that the Cunningham remained in his care until 1957, when it was sold to Larry Bass. The history of the car from that point until the early 1980s is not really known. By that time in history, the car was in the car of Melvin Olshansky, owner of the Volo Museum. Shortly after receiving the car, it was treated to an exhaustive restoration that is said to have taken eight years. It received an AACA National First Prize at the Hershey Meet in 1993.

In 2006, the current owner acquired the car. The car was then treated to another restoration and is currently finished in blue and light gray color scheme with matching dark blue interior. It rides on the optional wire wheels, period-appropriate tires and correct 'log' manifold.

In 2011, the car was brought to Pebble Beach and offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction. It was estimated to sell for $350,000 - $450,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $539,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.


By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2012

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2011 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auctions

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $350,000-USD $450,000 
Sale Price :
USD $539,000

1953 Cunningham C3 Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Cunningham C3

(Data based on Model Year 1953 sales)
1953 Cunningham C-3 Cabriolet by Vignale
Chassis#: 5441
Sold for USD$1,215,000
  2022 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
1953 Cunningham C3 image  1953 Cunningham C3 image  
1953 Cunningham C-3 Coupe by Vignale
Chassis#: 5223
Sold for USD$1,100,000
  2017 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1953 Cunningham C3 image  1953 Cunningham C3 image  
1953 Cunningham C3 Coupe by Vignale
Chassis#: 5206
Sold for USD$869,000
  2015 RM Sotheby's : The Andrews Collection
1953 Cunningham C3 image  1953 Cunningham C3 image  
1953 Cunningham C-3 Continental Coupe
Chassis#: 5211
Sold for USD$341,000
  2012 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auction
1953 Cunningham C3 image  1953 Cunningham C3 image  
1953 Cunningham C-3 Continental Coupe
Chassis#: 5226
Sold for USD$539,000
  2011 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auctions
1953 Cunningham C3 image  1953 Cunningham C3 image  
1953 Cunningham C3
Sold for USD$255,000
  2009 Automobiles of Amelia Island
1953 Cunningham C3 image  1953 Cunningham C3 image  
1953 Cunningham C3 Competition Continental Coupe
Sold for USD$374,000
  2006 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction
1953 Cunningham C3 image  1953 Cunningham C3 image  

Cunningham C3s That Failed To Sell At Auction

1953 Cunningham C3's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High

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1953 Cunningham C3 Profiles

1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Michelotti
Designer: Alfredo Vignale
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Michelotti
Designer: Alfredo Vignale
Chassis #: 5211
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Michelotti
Designer: Alfredo Vignale
Chassis #: 5206
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Cabriolet
Coachwork: Vignale
Chassis #: C52843235
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Cabriolet
Coachwork: Vignale
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Cabriolet
Coachwork: Vignale
Chassis #: 5441
Engine #: C52-8-43235
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Continental Coupe
Coachwork: Vignale
Chassis #: 5226
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Michelotti
Designer: Alfredo Vignale
Chassis #: 5223
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Michelotti
Designer: Alfredo Vignale
1953 Cunningham C3 vehicle information
Coupe
Coachwork: Michelotti
Designer: Alfredo Vignale
Chassis #: 5230