John Fitch finished 3rd overall at Le Mans in 1953 driving Briggs Cunningham’s C-5R. It was the best Le Mans finish for the Cunningham.
Briggs Cunningham was one of the most important figures in U.S. road racing during the era of the 1950s. He raced automobiles and yachts, manufactured sports cars, established a significant auto museum and distributed Jaguars. His overriding goal was to win Le Mans with an all-American car driven by Americans. According to Sam Posey, “He embodied the spirit of the true gentleman racer. His legacy at Le Mans was huge.” Featured on the cover of the April 26, 1954 edition of Time magazine, the caption reads, “Road Racer Briggs Cunningham: Horsepower, Endurance, Sportsmanship.”
Briggs Swift Cunningham was born on January 19, 1907 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father had made his fortune by investing in railways, commercial real estate and a meatpacking plant. He was the chief financier for two young men—William Proctor and James Gamble—who developed a soap that floated. Brigg’s mother was wealthy in her own right, having inherited railroad and utilities holdings. They left a considerable fortune to Briggs and his sister.
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