C-4RK Project Story

 
 

Chuck Schoendorf is recreating the C-4RK coupe. Here is the project story in his own words:

Back in the day, Briggs Cunningham built a total of just eight race cars. That was it. And of the eight, only one was a closed-body coupe, the C-4RK, the presence of which is widely considered to be the epitome of an awesome brute of a race car. That car, for reasons of fragility and preservation, never leaves the confines of the Revs Institute.

As Cunningham devotees know, Mr. C’s son, Briggs III, built four highly faithful recreations of the C-4R roadster in the 1990′s, using a chassis and a 1952 Chrysler Fire Power Hemi V-8 engine identical to the original race cars. What is not known is that while Briggs completed four continuation cars, he actually
built five original spec chassis. At the time I stumbled on the forgotten fifth chassis, I happened to have, by dumb luck, a fully built 1952 Chrysler Hemi motor, complete with a Cunningham 4 carb log manifold system, and nowhere for it to go.

Now on general principals I am averse to cloning or copying important cars. I want to see the real deal. On the other hand, I believe one should never say never.

What to do with the fifth C-4R chassis and my motor quickly became apparent. With the two original C-4R roadsters still in existence and having been recreated four times by Briggs III, and a fifth time counting the last one built in the UK about 10 years ago, the world did not need another roadster. On the other hand, the one and only C-4RK is now virtually a museum piece, has never been copied, and is available for viewing to only the lucky few who visit Revs in Naples, FL.

So with the consent and authorization of Revs and the Cunningham heirs, the C-4RK recreation project began. On the stipulation that the museum car would not be touched or harmed in any way, step one was to perform a ‘hands off’ 3D photographic scan of the real C-4RK. Step two was to translate the 3D data into a full-sized wooden buck on which aluminum alloy panels could be formed to achieve the exact proportion and contours of the real car.

While body panels were being made, the drive train and all the systems were developed and integrated to make a complete running chassis. Meanwhile to that, the unique parts needed to finish the car were sourced. In order to achieve a faithful-looking result, we sourced among other things: period Marchal headlamps, correct Marchal driving lights, 1950 Pontiac tail lights, Guide rear view mirror, a 24-hour timepiece from a B17 bomber, Halibrand mag wheels and spinners, S-W tach and gauges, Cunningham waving flag nose badge, competition fuel fill cap, period Delco Remy horns, wood-rimmed 3-spoke steering wheel and hand brake grip, a period Renault 4CV rear tag light, and on and on.

The accompanying photos were taken at various stages of the project over the past four years. Panel fitment is now underway. Accessories and paint will follow later this year and next.

The completed car will debut at the next Cunningham Gathering to be held in conjunction with the Greenwich Concours in June 2018. From there it will be in every vintage car rally and event that will have it.

                                                                ~ Chuck Schoendorf, June 2017


Click here to view project photos.

 
     

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