BRIGGS SWIFT CUNNINGHAM

Briggs S. Cunningham (1907-2003) was an American sportsman, who raced sportscars and yachats. While he won the America's Cup in yachating in 1958, he was best known as a racing car constructor, driver, and team owner whose racing exploits made him a cover feature of Time magazine in 1954.. He desired to produce an American car that would win the 24 Hours of Le Mans Cunningham gave up the idea of winning Le Mans in his own car in the mid-50's, but not the idea of winning Le Mans. He campaigned OSCA, Corvette, Maseratti, Ferrari and Jaguar sports cars both in the United States and abroad into the mid-60's. While he never realized his ambition of winning Le Mans in one of his blue and white cars, he came very, very close!

1950's
1950 Cunningham-Cadillac 'Le Monstre': Cadillac was one of the fastest cars on American roads in 1950. Briggs Cunningham brough two to Le Mand that year, a realtively stock one and this one with a wind tunnel designed body nicknamed Le Monstre. Powered by a stock 5.4L V8 engine, it did have a five-barrel carb setup. Cunningham and Phil Walters finished 11th overall, just behind the other Cadillac.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43
1950 Cadillac Type 61 Coupe de Ville: Briggs Cunningham entered a basically stock Cadillac at Le Mans in 1951. It was driven by brothers Sam and Miles Collier to 10th place overall and 2nd in class. The 5.4L V8 powered Cadillac was nicknamed Petit Pataud (clumsy puppy). The Coupe de Ville had an extra carburetor, improved steering and braking, along with a larger fuel tank for Le Mans.
Model by VITESSE 1/43
1950 Jaguar XK120: January in Florida is a great place to be for the warm weather and the weather is also great for racing. Before there was Daytona, there was the New Year's race at Palm Beach. Briggs Cunningham entered one of the five XK120's that raced at Palm Beach in 1950. Driven by Sam Collier, the car placed 6th, behind Leslie Johnson's XK120 in 4th place.
Model by BRUMM (modified) 1/43
1951 Cunningham C2-R: Briggs Cunningham built the C2-R, based on a massive tubular frame with a de Dion rear axle, was powered by a Chrysler Hemi 5.4L V8, which produced 220 hp. Phil Walters and John Fitch drove the car at Le Mans in 1951, where they ran in second place the majority of the race until the 18th hour, when engine problems slowed the car. They finished in 18th place overall and first in class.
Model by PROVENCE MOULAGE 1/43

1952 Cunningham C-4R: One of three Chrysler V8 Hemi powered cars that Cunningham entered at Le Mans (two spyders and one coupe), this car driven by John Fitch and George Rice. Smaller and more powerful than the C-2 (320 hp), the C-4R was let down by its brakes. While placing as high as 3rd, this car retired in the 6th hour with engine problems due to over-reving on downshifts in order to save the brakes. The sister spyder finished 4th.
Model by TOP MODEL 1/43
1951 Cunningham C-4R: This car is Chassis R5216, the most successful of the two C4-R roadsters built and the one C4-RK coupe. It ran at Le Mans three times, placing 4th overall and 1st in class in 1952, followed by a 7th place finish in 1953 and finally a 5th place finish in 1954. It is in its 1954 Le Mans livery when Briggs Cunningham and John Gordon Bennett were its pilots. Cunningham was no stranger to the cockpit of this car in particular, having driven twenty of the twenty-four hours in 1952. This is also the Cunningham C4-R which won at Sebring in 1953. After the 1954 season, the car was sold to racer Charles Moran, Jr. who drove it in SCCA events in 1955 and 1956 with Fred Wacker as his co-driver. Ironically today, each of the two roadsters has the others engine, swapped sometime during rebuilds in 1954 it is assumed.
Model by SPARK 1/43
1951 Cunningham C-4R: While not raced as often as its stablemate, this C4-R (Chassis R5217) was the most successful at Le Mans. Bill Spear and Sherwood Johnston took 3rd place overall and 1st in class at Le Mans in 1954. This was the best finish for the Cunningham team, just falling short of Briggs Cunningham's ambition to have an All-American team and American car win Le Mans. Powered by a 325bhp, 5.5L hemi-head Chrysler V8, the cars with their tube frames and aluminum bodies were excellent handling cars with brute strength to propel them 155mph on the Mulsanne straight. Their Achilles heel was their drum brakes which severely faded in endurance events. Still, the C4-R's won 74% of the races they entered and finished 84% of them; a testament to their rugged durability.
Model by SPARK 1/43

1952 Cunningham C-4RK: Phil Walters and Duane Carter drove this car at Le Mans in 1952, where it succumbed to engine failure in the 8th hour. One of three Cunningham built tube frame C-4 cars built for the '52 race, this was the only coupe. With a 5.4L Chrysler Hemi V8, the car produced 335 hp. It ran again at Le Mans in 1953 and finished 10th.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43
1952 Cunningham C-3 Vignale Coupe: Twenty C-3 Vignale Coupes were built by Cunninghambased on the C-2R race car to homologate the Cunningham racing cars at Le Mans. Aside from the first car, the tube frame chassis for each car was built and prepared at Cunningham's shop in Palm Beach and then sent to Vignale for the Michelotti designed aluminium body to be installed, interior and finish work. Powered by a 5.4L Chrysler Firepower V8, the cars had a special manifold designed to handle four carburetors, which helped the hemi engine produce 235 bhp and a top speed of 130 mph. Slow production by Vignale, along with the stiff $11,422 price tag ended the idea of producing a road and race coupe.
Model by Brooklin 1/43
1953 Cunningham C-5R: Successor to the C-4R, the C-5R is powered by a 331.1 cubic-inch Chrysler V8, hemi-head engine producing 310 horsepower. Developed for Le Mans, the C-5R was built on a tube frame with an aluminum body and the car set the fastest kilometer at the 1953 race of 155 mph. John Fitch and Phil Walters finished 3rd behind the two Jaguars. Their overall resuilt was hampered by a lack of braking power and the superiority of the Jaguar's disc brakes was evident to all but Ferrari.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43
1955 Cunningham C6R: At Le Mans in 1955 the Cunningham C6-R, fitted with a 3.0L 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine, retired from the race. Second and third gears failed, and the engine, designed for methanol fuel and insufficiently modified for the mandatory French pump gasoline, overheated. A burned exhaust valve and holed piston ended the car's run after 19 hours. Briggs Cumnningham drove along with Sherwood Johnston and were classified 23rd. This was the last Cunningham to race at Le Mans, the teams efforts instead turned to racing other marques, particulalrly Jaguar and Jaguar powered cars.
Model by BIZARRE 1/43

1954 Jaguar D-Type (SEBRING WINNER): Mike Hawthorn and Phil Waters drove this Cunningham entry at Sebring in 1955, finishing in 1st place. One of the early D-Types (XKD406), its first race outing was at the Dundrod Circuit in Northern Ireland in 1954, where Stirling Moss and Peter Walker finished 14th in the the 3.4L car.
Model by SCHUCO 1/43
1955 Jaguar D-Type: Bill Spear and Phil Walters retired in the 7th hour at the 1955 Le Mans, driving the Briggs Cunningham team entry (XKD507). After Le Mans, the car was raced in SCCA events in the USA and did very well in the hands of Sherwood Johnson driving for Cunningham and later John Fitch and Walt Hansgen.
Model by IXO 1/43
1955 OSCA MT4 1450 (SEBRING WINNER): Powered by a 1.5L DOHC four-cylinder engine, the Maserati brothers coaxed 130 hp out of the small engine. This is the Osca that slayed giants at Sebring in 1954! Briggs Cunningham entered this car for drivers Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd. It finished five laps ahead of the second place car and outlasted the Jaguars, Ferraris and Aston Martins.
Model by JOLLY MODEL 1/43

1958 Lister Jaguar Knobbly: Driven by Ed Crawford and Walt Hansgen at Sebring in 1958 , this Lister (Ch. #BHL102) was one of two entered by Alfred Momo for Briggs Cunningham along with a Jaguar D-Type in the 12 hour race. Both Listers failed to finish, this car retiring with a cracked block, the other an accident. All three cars used the ill-fated 3.0L version of the Jaguar XK six-cylinder engine, which complied with new World Sportscar Championship regulations. The car was raced successfully by Cunningham in SCCA races until 1960. It also was campaigned in the Watkins Glen and Road America endurance events, often with Briggs Cunningham at the wheel. I was fortunate to get to see this car at Road America in the fall of 2013, fifty-three years after it last raced there, one of the first two Lister Knobblys made.
Model by GAMMA 1/43


1959 Lister Jaguar Costin: Brian Lister commissioned aerodynamics expert Frank Costin to create a slippery body capable of higher speeds. This car was entered by Briggs Cunningham in the 1959 Sebring 12 Hours for Ivor Bueb and Stirling Moss. Unfortunately after qualifying 2nd, they were disqualified due to illegal refueling during the race. The car was entered for Walt Hansgen in the SCCA C-Modified National Championship, which he won.
Model by PINKO 1/43

1960's
1960 E2A: After Le Mans, Cunningham brought the E2A to America for the racing season here and fitted with a larger 3.8L engine. Although it won at Bridgehampton, the E2A was not designed for most shorter USA sprint races. Jack Brabham drove the E2A at Riverside to 10th place where he did a creditable job of making the heavier E2A competitive gainst the lighter weight competition. Bruce McLaren drove the car in its last race at Laguna Seca, where he could only manage 12th.
Model by CONTACT 1/43
1960 Chevrolet Corvette: Zora Duntov talked Briggs Cunningham into entering three Corvettes at Le Mans in 1960. It was a goal of Cunningham's to win Le Mans with an American built car and by the late 50's, Duntov and Chevrolet had developed the Corvette into a decent road racer. Alfred Momo prepared the cars with GM modified 4.6L fuel-injected V8's. John Fitch and Bob Grossman drove this car, which finished 8th overall and first in class. Engine overheating slowed the Corvette, robbing Briggs of his dream.
Model by SPARK 1/43
1962 Fiat-Abarth 1000 Bialboro: Briggs Cunningham entered two Momo prepared cars in the GT 1.0 class for the Sebring 3-Hour race in 1962. Austin Healey Sprites formed stiff competiton, but the Cunningham cars finished 1-2, with Bruce McLaren driving this car to victory, Walt Hansgen in the sister car finishing second. They held off a hard charging Stirling Moss in a Sprite, Moss finishing 3rd in his last Sebring race.
Model by ABARTH COLLECTION 1/43 (modified)

1961 Maserati Tipo 63: Using the Tipo 61 'Birdcage' engine and chassis, Maserati developed the mid-engine Tipo 63 for the 1961 season. Before the year was out, the car would sport a V12 engine rather than the Birdcage's four and it would suffer reliability problems all season. Cunningham entered his Tipo 63 (Chassis #63002) at Sebring in 1961 with Bruce McLaren and Hansgen driving. They did not finish due to transmission problems. The large pexiglass windscreen on these cars made it hard to see through and hard to see over, the front end design would get changed after Sebring.
Model by GAMMA 1/43
1961 Maserati Tipo 63: The Tipo 63 was one of Italy's first mid-engined sports racers. Designed to take a 3.0L V12, the new engine was not yet available and the car was fitted with a 'four' from the earlier Birdcages. For Le Mans in 1961, the cars were fitted with the new DOHC V12 derived from the engine briefly used in the 250F and 350S in the 1950s. Briggs Cunningham entered two cars for Le Mans and this car piloted by Augie Pabst and Richard ‘Dick’ Thompson finished fourth; the best ever result for Maserati at Le Mans.
Model by PINKO/GAMMA 1/43
1962 Maserati Tipo 151/1 Coupe: Walt Hansgen and Bruce McLaren drove one of the two Cunningham entered 151/1 Coupes at Le Mans in 1962. They retired in the 13th hour due to piston and transmission failure. They had qualified 5th fastest, being as high as third place and were in 5th place when they retired. Powered by a 4.0L V8 (360 bhp), the Maserati could hit 177 mph on the Mulsanne straight. There were three 151/1 Coupes with their distinctive Kamm tail built. All three ran at Le Mans in 1962, unfortunately all retired.
Model by JOLLY MODEL 1/43

1962 E-Type Lightweight FHC: The introduction of the E-Type brought Jaguar back to sports car racing with a true GT car. As with saloon car racing, factory support and assistance was given to select teams. Briggs Cunningham was one such team. The Cunningham/Salvadori driven coupe finished in 4th place, a heavily modified FHC developing 296 hp, it was a precursor to the light weight cars yet to come.
Model by BOX 1/43

1963 E-Type OTS: Briggs Cunningham and John Fitch drove Cunningham's E-Type at Sebring in 1962. They finished 14th overall and 1st in the GT4 class. The next year, Cunningham would field lightweight E-Types at Le Mans. The E-Type was a direct evolution of the E2A concept car. .
Model by BBURAGO 1/18

1963 E-Type Lightweight: Briggs Cunningham was persuaded to enter a team of three lightweight E-Types in the GT category at Le Mans in 1963. Walt Hansgen and Augie Pabst teamed up in this car. Unfortunately they retired after 8 hours due to gearbox problems.
Model by SPARK 1/43
1963 E-Type Lightweight: The race in 1963 was Cunningham's last run at Le Mans as a driver and as an entrant. Cunningham and Bob Grossman were as high as 7th place in this car before a crash at the end of the Mulsanne straight and subsequent repairs dropped them to a 9th place finish.
Model by SPARK 1/43
1963 E-Type Lightweight: An accident in the 6th hour of the race at Le Mans race in 1963 took Roy Salvadori and Paul Richards out of the race. A part of the car did finish though, as part of its bonnet was grafted onto the #15 car so that car could continue on in the race.
Model by SPARK 1/43

1964 Porsche 904 GTS: After his run at Le Mans with Jaguar was over and before he quit racing, Briggs Cuunningham campaigned this Porsche 904 GTS (Ch. #018) at Sebring in 1964, 1965 and 1966. He drove the 1965 in this livery with the great John Fitch and Bill Beckner, finishing in 20th place (4th in GT 2.0 Class) in a hotly contested class among other 904's. Brigg's drove the 904 in USRRC events at Laguna Seca, Riverside and Watkins Glen in 1965, always placing in the top ten. Cunningham finished 9th and 1st in class the year prior at Sebring, but failed to finish the 1966 race at Sebring , which according to my recrds was his final race as a driver.
Model by MINICHAMPS (modified) 1/43




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