Cunningham Sports Cars

1951 C-1

Text by Pete Lyons


Appetites whetted by their impressive finish (10th and 11th) in the
1950 24 Hours of Le Mans in a virtually stock Cadillac Coupe
Deville and a similar car with an aerodynamic body, the Cunningham
team embarked on a program to design and build its own cars
and win the race outright.

Four roadsters and a coupe were planned, and the first real Cunningham,
the C-1 (above), was finished in late 1950. It utilized a
Cadillac OHV V-8 engine and Cadillac three-speed manual transmission
installed in a massive frame made of three-inch steel tubing
with a tubing cruciform x-member in the center to augment
the front and rear crossmembers.

A Ford-based coil spring independant front suspension was used,
along with a Cunningham-built de Dion rear axle assembly.
The wheelbase was 105 inches and the track, front and rear,
was 58 inches. The C-1 was the prototype from which the C-2
was to be developed and, as things turned out, the next three
cars were C-2s, but with Chrysler Hemi V-8 engines instead
of Cadillacs.

Engine   Chassis
Cylinders   V8   Brakes   Hydraulic Drum
Bore   3.81 inches   Brake Dia. Front   12″
Stroke   3.62 inches   Rear   11″
Capacity   331 C.I.   Suspension: Front   Wishbone/coil
Valves   OH Pushrod   Rear   De Dion
Comp. Ratio   7.5:1   Shock Absorbers   Dual Hydraulic
Max. HP   180@5200 RPM   Wheel Type   Center-lock wire,
Carburation   Carter Standard,

      optional disc
    opt. 4 Zenith DD/   Tire Size   7.00″/7.50″x16″
    Stromberg DD   Steering gear   Worm and Roller
        Steering Wheel   17″ Spring Spoke
Ignition   Autolite Coil        
Fuel Pump   Mechanical/Elec.   Dimensions
Fuel Capacity   18 Imp. Gal.   Wheelbase   105″
Oil Filter   Full Flow   Track: Front/Rear   58″/58″
Oil Capacity   5 Imp. Quarts   Overall length   171″
Water Capacity   25 Imp. Quarts   Overall Width   70″
Electrical System   6 Volt   Overall Height   40″ excl. wscreen
Battery Capacity   130 Amp/Hrs   Ground Clearance   7″
        Dry Weight   2800 Lbs.
Clutch   Single Dry Plate   Source:   Road&Track,
Gearbox   3 Spd synchro w/2 speed quickchange or optional overdrive       June 1951
Final Drive   3.54:1        
C-1 C-2R C-3 C-4R/C-4RK C-5R C-6R


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