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1950 Cadillac Le Monstre

    The French called this car 'Le Monstre.' As Le Mans rules permitted rebodying of standard automobiles and represented an attempt to reduce both weight and wind resistance. Briggs Cunningham had decided to hedge his two-Cadillac bet for LeMans, streamlining this car to render it more competitive, while leaving the other alone in class, the aerodynamic experiment failed.

    Both Series 61 Cadillacs were prepared for the race at Frick-Tappett Motors. The Colliers' coupe received twin carburetor manifolding by Frank Burrell, air scoops for the brake drums, and an extra gas tank for the trunk. Otherwise, that car was essentially showroom stock.

    Underneath so was Le Monstre, although its body was so extraordinary that Le Man's officials spent hours in examination to assure themselves that the chassis was standard Cadillac. The engine was also standard with the exception of a five-carburetor induction system and some fine-tuning.

    The scale model was tested in a wind tunnel normally used for evaluating crop dusters and other slow-flying airplanes. Aircraft influence in the car extended to the inclusion of a tubular 'crash frame.' The Cadillac Le Monstre measured three inches narrower than the Cadillac 'Petit Pataud' ('Little Clumsy'). With a top speed of 130 mph, it was some 13 mph faster than its teammate.

    The Cnnningham-Walters Le Monstre finished 11th to the Collier (Miles and Sam) brothers' 10th place finish. After slamming into a sandbank and laboriously digging Le Monstre out by hand, with a lot of time that was lost there, and subsequent loss of all but high gear, Le Monstre was prevented from realizing its potential.

    The American entries were popular at Le Mans, and the American drivers were toasted in the European press for their 'skill, sportsmanship and dauntless good humor.'

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