Photo: Brian McCarthy

Photo: Brian McCarthy

Photo: Brian McCarthy

1960 Chevrolet Corvette

Photos: Johnny Miles

Briggs Cunningham is best known in auto racing for his valiant attempts to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an American team, car, and drivers. He came close in the early 1950s with cars like the C-4R and C-5R, which he manufactured under his own name, but he never got the all-American victory he was striving for. By 1960, Cunningham was no longer producing his own cars and instead was a team owner and driver of cars from marques like Jaguar and Maserati. It was none other than the father of the Corvette as we know it, Zora Arkus-Duntov, who talked Briggs into racing Corvettes at Le Mans.

Cunningham bought three cars from a dealership in New York with every heavy-duty option available, and then further prepped the cars in his race shop in Florida. The car pictured here was one of those three cars purchased by Briggs. The modifications made at the Cunningham shop were enough to secure a class win and eighth overall at the famous endurance race in 1960. But this specific example, driven by Dick Thompson and Fred Windridge, did not finish the race. Still, it was an impressive result for the Corvette’s first showing at Le Mans.

Today, this car is part of the Bruce Meyer Collection and is on display as part of an exhibition at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles entitled “Winning Numbers: The First, the Fastest, The Famous.”

 

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