One of my favorite figures of the greater vintage watch world is American sportsman and entrepreneur Briggs Cunningham. I wrote about his watches (and cars) last year in one of my favorite stories of 2016 and while this website is and always will be dedicated to watches, every now and then, we take a minute to call attention to some amazing cars for sale that have particular meaning to us here in the collectible timepiece world. Today is one of those days.
Indeed, coming up for sale next week in Monterey during car week are three very special vehicles that speak to three different sides of Cunninham’s influence in automobiles: special commissions, racing, and actual car building.
Unique 1964 Maserati 5000 GT By Michelotti, Commisisoned By Briggs Cunningham
The Maserati 5000 is considered among the most glamorous, powerful, and exclusive road-going automobiles of the 1960s. The original concept, created at the request of Sha of Iran in 1958, was to take the enormous engines used by Maserati’s successful 450S race cars and drop it into the body of a 3500 GT, Maserati’s first road-going car. Only 34 of these mega-GTs would be made and were offered only to the most important clients in the world: Fiat-magnate Gianni Agnelli, the Aga Khan, and yes, Briggs Cunningham.
Cunningham’s 5000 GT wasn’t like the others, though. Instead, he requested a special car that resembled the 450S race car as much as possible with improved aerodynamics to give him as close to a road-going 450S as possible – most Maserati 5000 GTs seemed to take almost no aerodynamics into account with square, boxy edges. Cunningham’s car was styled by Michelotti and he took the time to travel to Italy to test-drive the car before delivery – at Monza.
This special car commissioned by Cunningham is likely the fastest and most interesting road going Maserati of the era and Bonhams will sell it with an estimate of $1.1 million to $1.4 million this Friday, August 18th. More here.
1963 Le Mans-Running Jaguar E-Type Lightweight, Ex-Team Cunningham