<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236

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Lot 197
1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3

Sold for US$ 275,000 inc. premium
1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3

Chassis no. 5236

331ci OHV Hemi-Head Chrysler "Fire Power" V8
Single 4-Barrel Edlebrock Carburetor
235bhp at 4,400rpm
4-Speed T-10 Manual Transmission
Independent Coil-Over Front and Parallel Trailing Arm with Live Axle Rear Suspension
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

*One of 14 factory chassis that followed production of the 25 Vignale bodied C-3s
*Never bodied in period
*Built on one of the most complete and original Cunningham C-3 chassis
*Bodied in the style of the C-2R
*One of America's preeminent sports cars



THE CUNNINGHAM C-3

The son of a wealthy banker, the aptly named Briggs Swift Cunningham would become the epitome of the American Sportsman thanks to his passion for speed, relentless drive, and access to ample funds. Beginning in 1940 racing his 'Bu-Merc'—a modified Buick chassis with a Buick engine and Mercedes-Benz SSK bodywork, he would seriously step up his racing efforts after WWII.

In 1950, Cunningham entered a pair of Cadillacs Series 60s in LeMans—a stock fastback coupe and an aerodynamic roadster with custom bodywork dubbed 'Le Monstre' by the by the French. Finishing 10th and 11th overall, the experience—along with his other racing efforts—led him to develop his own racecar in 1951. His debut effort, the Cadillac powered C-1 saw little track time given the lack of financial support from Cadillac. Turning to Chrysler, who was willing to sell its Hemi V8s to Cunningham at a 40% discount, in 1952 Cunningham developed the C-2R off of the C-1's chassis. While powerful, the C-2 was hampered by its portly weight, DeDion rear axle, and 3-speed transmission that limited engine braking and put undue additional wear on the drums brakes.

By this point, the organizers of LeMans had established a new rule requiring manufactures to homologate their racecars by producing at least 25 road going units to participate in the race. Prompted by the rule—and looking to capitalize on selling road cars to fund his racing efforts, Cunningham set out to create a street version of the C-2R—the C-3. Featuring a ladder-tube frame similar to the C-2R's, the C-3 featured independent front suspension and a live rear axle, the latter of which weighed significantly less than the C-2R's DeDion rear axle. Power came from a 331ci Chrysler Hemi V8. After building one C2 body on a C-3 chassis, as a cost saving measure, bodywork was done by Vignale in Italy, with completed coachwork sent to Cunningham's West Palm Beach factory for final fitment.

Retailing for $9,000 for a coupe and $10,000 for a convertible when new—nearly three times the price of a Corvette—only 25 complete C-3s would leave the factory. This was all that was needed, however, for Cunningham to continue his racing efforts—now with the improved C-4R.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

B.S. Cunningham Company Works Order number W.O.43 for chassis number 5236 was part of the batch 107" wheelbase chassis produced. It was sold new to Hilltop Trailer Sales in Evansville, Indiana. It was one of 14 C-3 chassis that were built but never fitted with their Vignale coachwork. The car remained in the Midwest, eventually making its way up to a Wisconsin farm, where it would remain—still without a body—for decades before it was discovered by the vendor. The farmer added a seat and radiator, and drove it on his farm. The chassis, which retains most of its original paint, brakes and suspension, is arguably the most original of any of any existing C-3.

Once acquired, a complete restoration of the running gear, while retain as much of the original chassis as possible, was undertaken with new coachwork in the style of the C-2R was fabricated in aluminum by noted coachbuilder Bill Leahy. The original engine ran, but had a cracked block. It was retained, but was replaced with another 331ci Chrysler Fire Power V8. The original semi-automatic transmission was also replaced with a more tractable T-10 4-speed manual. Completed in 2012, the restored Cunningham was recently featured in the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival XXVIII in September 2014 where it ran the re-enactment of the road course behind a C-4R that had competed there in period.

Documented by the 1982 Cunningham Car Register and the Cunningham Car – Supplement 2015 as a 90% complete chassis, there is no question that 5236 is among the few Cunninghams produced. Finally fitted with coachwork after more than half a century, complete with photo documentation of its discover and restoration, and accompanied by its original engine block, wheels and tires—which are marked for racing only and show virtually no wear, it is a rare opportunity to acquire an example of one of America's most storied sports car builder's handiwork.
Contacts
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
<B>1952 CUNNINGHAM C-3<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 5236
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