Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Vignale
*Please note this vehicle is titled 1954.
With excellent history from new and documented in Richard Harman’s book, Cunningham: The Passion, the Cars, the Legacy, this C-3 Vignale Coupe bears chassis 5210 and retains the matching-numbers 331 cid Chrysler “Hemi” V-8 engine, topped by four single-barrel Zenith carburetors on a Cunningham intake manifold, mated to a Chrysler Fluid-Torque Drive semiautomatic transmission.
Chassis 5210 was shipped to Vignale on April 10, 1952, and returned to New York on September 7th, finished in two-tone metallic gray and metallic blue. The interior compartment was the same as the earlier C-3 Vignale cars; however, 5210 featured a winged emblem on the steering-wheel hub and a gear-selector quadrant on the steering column. Notably, 5210 was the first C-3 to receive suspension revisions by eventual NASCAR Hall of Fame member “Red” Byron.
Following completion, 5210 was retained by Cunningham and served as a company demonstrator. It was shown and described within the October 1953 Mechanix Illustrated, Tom McCahill’s The Modern Sports Car, and the May 1954 Auto Age. During this time, 5210 was fitted with a variety of different hubcaps, the gear-selector quadrant was removed, and the original horn button was replaced with one featuring the later waving-flag motif. During 1953, 5210 was sold to Edmond DuPont of Delaware, who retained it until late 1960, when it was sold via an agent to Wilmington Automotive Activities Inc., a hot-rodding club.
During this period, the original bumpers were removed and its colors were changed to blue and white before 5210 was sold to Pennsylvania’s George Sterner in 1962, who eventually sold it to Nyack, New York’s Ed Jurist and his Vintage Car Store. In July 1967, 5210 was acquired by David A. Deuble of Illinois, who repainted the C-3 in American racing livery and removed its original seats.
In 1975, Mr. Deuble sold 5210 to A. Vail Frost, who stored the car for its planned show-quality restoration, which began in 2002 at Virginia’s White Post Restorations and was completed during 2004 using a majority of original parts in the process. They also performed a repaint in the original colors. Following completion, Mr. Frost showed the C-3 to great effect at a succession of top concours events throughout the US from 2005 through 2007. Among the many awards the Cunningham received were Best of Show and First in the Sports Car class at the 2004 Lexington, Kentucky Concours d’Elegance; the Star Award at the 2006 Burn Foundation Concours; Most Outstanding Hemi at Amelia Island in 2006; and Outstanding Postwar Car at the 2006 AACA Southeastern Division Junior Spring Meet.
The consignor, a long-serving Pebble Beach judge, acquired the C-3 in 2007, and the car’s mechanical systems were sorted with the transmission reviewed by a specialist and the driveline and brakes were overhauled. In 2009, the consignor and the C-3 successfully completed the 1,000-mile Colorado Grand without fail. As offered, the C-3 is complete with two additional sets of period-style bias-ply tires, one blackwall and one with whitewalls, plus a pair of bumper blanks with brackets, giving the new owner the opportunity to refit bumpers as desired. Striking in presentation, retaining its originally numbered Hemi engine and accompanied by well-documented history from new, this extremely rare C-3 Vignale Coupe is a most fitting and beautiful coachbuilt touchstone to one of America’s greatest racers and sportsmen of the postwar era – a rare personality of singular vision and determination. This is surely one of the finest remaining Cunningham C-3s.