Three of the limited run of 20 handsome Cunningham C-3 Coupes can be seen at the eighth annual Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance on Sept. 18 in Westport, Conn. Built in the early 1950s by celebrated race car builder and former Westport resident Briggs S. Cunningham, these cars were Mr. C’s ticket to enter the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Le Mans’ rules prevent privateer builders from competing, and so to establish his legitimacy and secure entry, Mr. C built 20 Coupes and five Cabriolets in 1952-53, designated as the C-3 Series.
This year the Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance will proudly feature three of the Coupes, all similar but no two alike: an original 1953 Coupe continuously owned to this day by the immediate Cunningham family; a 1952 Coupe rescued in 2004 from South America, the only C-3 factory-fitted for racing, and which has just emerged from a five-year total restoration; and a “barn find” 1952 Coupe that sat idle for 20 or more years in upstate Connecticut in the hands of the family of the second owner. This recently found example highlights the importance of keeping a rare and important car for all time.
Common to these three Coupes is the potent Chrysler Hemi FirePower V8 motor and the distinctive coachwork, designed by the brilliant Giovanni Michelotti and hand-built by the artisans of Carrozzeria Vignale of Turin, Italy. They differ in their gearboxes, induction systems, chassis, and other numerous details.
The Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance will showcase more than 175 of the world’s most extraordinary automobiles and motorcycles spanning the past 100 years and host Bonhams’ Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance Exceptional Collectors’ Motorcars and Automobilia Auction.
Other Special Exhibits and Featured Classes are Formula 1 race cars, Isotta Fraschini masterpieces, Classic Car Club of America Grand Classic 100 Point Winners, Historic BMW motorcycles, Porsche, Jaguar E-type celebrating 50 years, Woodies, Barn Finds, and Preservation Vehicles.
Sept. 17 presents Car and Motorcycle Club Day, Art + Automobilia exhibitors, the Nutmeg Tour for Autism and Toast the Tour Reception as well as a CCCA Grand Classic and Bonhams Auction preview.
For more information, visit www.fairfieldcountyconcours.com.
For more on the Fairfield auction — with Bonham’s Bugatti barn find — click here!
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