Briggs Cunningham: The Connecticut Yankee who battled the best of Europe


Richard Harman remembers the first time he heard the name Briggs Cunningham. It was in working-class West Bromwich, England, in the early 1950s. Harman was a small boy cozied up to the wireless, listening to the hourly updates from the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Radio France because, back then, he says, the BBC didn’t do updates every hour. The French commentator was yammering live from a trackside booth, “and every time that Cunningham would come around, he would shout, ‘Écoute!’ and stick his microphone out the window so you could hear it.”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/01/31/briggs-cunningham-battled-europe


I graduated high school in 1956, got my driver license in my junior year after waiting what seemed like 50 years to be old enough to drive. Read about Briggs’ cars and attempts to compete in overseas road races early on. Can you imagine what he could have done with the Mopar 426 Hemi engine?


In 1971 I moved from Los Angeles to Orange County, CA. I found out about the Cunningham Automotive Museum on the corner of Baker and Red Hill. I had to become a member. All the glorious cars Mr Cunningham had there. In 1983 I decided to race my 1957 Corvette in the vintage race supporting the Sebring 12 hour. I had no idea what rear end ratio to put in the Corvette. I asked the lady at the desk in the museum if she could find out what ratio the Cunningham Corvettes ran in 1960. Mr. Cunningham came out of the office and told me he did not remember. He gave me a phone number. He said, that person would know and I should tell him that Mr. Cunningham said I should call. I called the number. To my surprise, it was Zora Duntov’s personal number. Great memories of the museum and its wonderful owner.