December 12, 2017

Briggs Cunningham is a man who lived his life well.

Born in 1907, Cunningham had a family with buckets of money and he used that to fully enjoy the things that mattered to him. This included boats, cars and sports. He was an avid yachtsmen, winning the America’s Cup race and also finding a home in the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. He’s also in the Motorsports Hall of Fame, and he earned his spot there by building and then racing his own cars.

Jay Leno owns one of Cunningham’s cars. Specifically, Jay owns a 1953 Cunningham C3. This is just one of 25 that were built with bodies built by Vignale in Italy and power supplied by Chrysler in the form of a 331 cubic inch Hemi V-8. All 25 are reportedly still around, and Jay’s example is fresh from a restoration.

Cunningham left his mark on the world of motorsports. There’s a corner at Sebring named for the Cunningham racing team, and the list of drivers that have taken the wheel for this team is long and filled with notable names. Cunningham fielded a number of teams that attempted to surpass the Le Mans field, and they did just that in 1953. Driven by Phil Walters and John Fitch, a Cunningham C5-R took first place in class and third overall.

Jay’s car is an amazing example of a wonderful period in motoring history. It’s rare, beautiful, and clearly a beloved piece of Leno’s collection.

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