Available in Massachusetts: 1953 Cunningham C3

Cunningham C3This Cunningham C3 is the first of the mere handful of Briggs Cunningham built cars designed for the road and is simply astonishing. This Vignale-bodied beauty, chassis 5206, is often referred to as “the prototype”, being the first of the 20 coupes assembled and its unique stance (it’s 2 inches shorter than the others, and curved side glass (the other 19 built had flat windows). This car was originally owned by Brigg’s friend Carl Kiekhaefer, the owner of Mercury Marine and prominent NASCAR team owner.

Chrysler FirePower HemiPaul Russel and Company offers this majestic machine now, and it looks built to their usual concours winning standard. It is not, however, completely original. The powerplant has been upgraded to a period appropriate Chrysler FirePower Hemi coupled to a modern GM 5-speed. The brakes have been swapped for front discs and contemporary brake cylinders. The original parts come with the car, but these upgrades seem like a fine idea for classic rallying and touring. I might scoff at a contemporary Corvette block dropped in there, but a mid-fifties Hemi seems like a perfectly logical and non-jarring upgrade, with oceans of improved experience on the road.

Call it frivolous if you like, but a real standout feature of this car for me is the included and original fitted luggage. What could look more refined and orderly than interior leather matched luggage properly strapped in place in the perfect fittings. It couldn’t look more streamlined and sophisticated.

C3 Fitted luggage She’s simply a stunning car, and with only 20 C3 coupes produced, there certainly isn’t likely to be another on your block. Or State. There’s certainly not going to be many restored to this level of quality. Simply amazing.

I can think of worse ways to spend $875,000. More photos at Paul Russel, and Concept Carz.

DISCUSS (2 Comments)

  1. Jay N. Oppenheimer

    I have owned my C3 for more than 30 years, Briggs told me to install a Borg Warner T10 gearbox, which I did, Phil Walters installed a Supercharger to the 354 1956 Chrysler 300 engine he installed in ’57.
    Ted Hallibrand sold me a set of 16″ kidney bean knock off wheels, as per factory option.It was built in 1952, so a 54 isn’t first!

  2. Anthony

    wow, if you never said anything about the upgrades, no one would be the wiser. Even the 4 carbs on the Chrysler Hemi look just like the original.

    Incidentally, what happened to the car’s Original Chrysler Hemi?

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