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