1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176

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Lot 310
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car
Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176

Sold for US$ 135,000
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car
Coachwork by James Cunningham, Son & Company

Chassis no. V1179
Engine no. V1176
Priced at some $3,750, this 1917 Cunningham Series V-1 Four-Passenger Touring car is the finest example of its type that money could buy in the United States in 1917.

Every important component was built in Cunningham's large six-story factory complex in Rochester, New York and the company, famed as coachbuilder to the upper class since the nineteenth century, designed and built all its own coachwork.

At the heart of the Cunningham is its proprietary V-8 engine. Designed by Volney Lacey and introduced the year before, 1916, it is as sophisticated as any engine built for road use in the United States or Europe at the time. Its 3¾" x 5" bore and stroke dimensions gives it 442 cubic inches displacement and a rating of exactly 45 horsepower on the NACC formula. Its two cast iron side valve four cylinder blocks are mounted at a 90° included angle on a cast aluminum crankcase with three main bearings. Lacey left little to chance in designing the Cunningham V-8 for reliability, incorporating full pressure lubrication and pumped cooling for the large cellular radiator. Electric starting was standard.

A Brown-Lipe three-speed transmission is driven through a multi disc dry clutch from the same supplier, then shaft drive to the spiral bevel drive, fully floating rear axle. The chassis employs semi-elliptical front springs and three-quarter elliptical rear springs with rebound snubbers. Contracting band mechanical brakes on the rear wheels are foot-operated in regular service while expanding shoes on the inside of the rear wheel drums are hand-operated for emergencies.

The Cunningham-designed and built coachwork is exceptional, particularly for its period, with a rounded radiator shell, sloping front fenders, a sleekly raked opening windshield and a continuous break molding from the curve of the radiator shell straight back through the tonneau and around the rear. Particularly notable on this example is the rakish profile of the rear of the tonneau and the sharply raked rear-mounted spare tucked under it that mirrors the rake of the windshield.

Cunningham was one of the first coachbuilders to abandon cowl lights and replace them with markers atop the front fenders. Cunningham's are unique, being faired into the fender top itself, not mounted separately, in contrast to the large nickel-plated drum headlights set low between the radiator and fenders. Legend has it that in the Series V's early years the marker lenses were cut from the bottoms of imported liquor bottles, a source which literally dried up with passage of the Volstead Act and Prohibition.

This splendid example of the Cunningham V-1 has received a thorough, sympathetic older restoration that presents today in exceptionally well-preserved condition. Finished in a green/blue hue throughout, the interior is beautifully upholstered in black leather and features a remarkable complement of leather compartments on the rear doors and behind the front seat to hold side curtains, robes and other accoutrements of touring. The cream-colored centerlock wire wheels are an unusual and distinctive feature which complement the coachwork

The current owner acquired the car from Ralph DeAngelis of Stamford, CT, who restored the car after he acquired it in the late 1970's. Mr. DeAngelis purchased the car from a Greenwich, CT collector who told him he purchased it at an auction in Rochester, NY in the 1950's. Nothing else is known of the car's early history, however, not surprisingly given the quality of the automobile and its comprehensive restoration, it is a 1984 AACA prize winner.

The car has been maintained in ready to drive touring condition, and is a pleasure to drive. It has enjoyed continuous care and attention from its enthusiast owner along with careful use and enjoyment on tours and events. This has included the recent fitting of a new drive shaft with integral overdrive fitted to the car for touring, installed without any alteration to the car. The original driveshaft can easily be reinstalled and is included with the car. The car recently has had its cooling system reconditioned.

Today less than 35 Cunningham's are known to exist, with only a few in private hands. This is the oldest known complete Cunningham motor car and the only known V-1. All V Series Cunningham cars are full classics as defined by the CCCA.

One of a very few surviving examples of this exclusive, quality marque, this is a rare opportunity to acquire an exceptional example of a marque whose history deserves to be better known and whose reputation will only be enhanced by this great automobile.
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
1916 Cunningham Series V-1 Touring Car  Chassis no. V1179 Engine no. V1176
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