Briggs Swift Cunningham
1907 – 2003
By John Fitch
and Tim Considine

Remembering Briggs Cunningham

By John Fitch

“Briggs Cunningham, my boss, companion, mentor and, most of all, my
friend, has passed on and, even though his last years were
pretty much spent apart from all of us, the world seems just
a bit emptier today. I don’t need to belabor his life
and careers – those statistics of his various endeavors will
be found elsewhere as the world pauses a moment to consider
just who he was. I would rather think of our times together,
stretching back to the very early days of postwar motor racing
in this country, our great campaigns with the cars that bore
his name so proudly, the long talks, the common pursuit of
speed and all the other things that characterized our times



By Tim Considine

“They came from near and far to honor him, some of them legends
in their own right, race-car drivers, builders, and engineers
whose names adorn the pages of America’s automobile racing
history – John Fitch, Sherwood Johnston, Dan Gurney, Bill
Stroppe, John von Neumann, ‘Kas’ Kastner, Warren Olsen, Bill
Devin, and Augie Pabst, just to name a few. The occasion was
a surprise party to celebrate the 85th birthday of the patron
of American sports car racing, one Briggs Swift (how appropriate!)


Briggs Swift Cunningham II

N.Y. Times Obituary

CUNNINGHAM-Briggs Swift II. America’s Cup Winner and
motorsports legend dies at 96. Briggs Swift Cunningham II, who
was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and lived the majority of his life in
Westport, Connecticut, died in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 2, 2003.
Mr. Cunningham was the son of a Cincinnati financier and
businessman who funded the start-up of Proctor & Gamble. While
attending Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, Briggs
developed a love of yacht-racing, which lead him to international
recognition when he skippered the Columbia to victory in the 1958
America’s Cup yacht race. In the 1930s Mr. Cunningham and two
friends formed the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) to
promote racing in the New York area. In 1940 he began designing
and building his own cars. After World War II, Briggs founded the
Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and competed in his first race
at Watkins Glen, New York driving his “BuMerc”-a hybrid Buick/
Mercedes of his own creation.


Briggs Cunningham


Briggs Swift Cunningham II (January 19, 1907 – July 2, 2003)
was an American entrepreneur and sportsman, who raced
automobiles and yachts. Born into a wealthy family, he became a
racing car constructor, driver, and team owner as well as a sports
car manufacturer and automobile collector. He skippered the first
victorious 12-metre yacht Columbia in the 1958 America’s Cup race,
and invented the eponymous device, the Cunningham, to increase
the speed of racing sailboats. He was featured on the April 26, 1954
cover of Time magazine, with three of his Cunningham racing cars.
The caption reads: Road Racer Briggs Cunningham: Horsepower,
Endurance, Sportsmanship. He became an early member of the Road
Racing Drivers Club (RRDC), an invitation-only club formed to honor
notable road racing drivers.




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