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Ok,  so who knows something about Cunningham?  I know they had a big ass V8 of their own and then went to Ford chassis in the 1930s.   This one was for sale at Hershey.

 

This is a 1928 V-7 which was ridiculously original.

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  • 9 months later...

Bonhams is selling this very nice 5 window sedan.

 

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25221/lot/81

 

Ex-Bill Harrah Collection
1928 Cunningham Series V-7 Sedan
Coachwork by James Cunningham, Son & Company
Chassis no. V5141
Engine no. V5217


442ci L-Head V8 Engine
Single Stromberg Carburetor
4-Speed Transmission
Front and Rear Ssemi-Elliptical Leaf Springs
4-Wheel Lockheed Hydraulic Brakes

*2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Exhibit
*Rare example of this quality car constructor
*Powerful and elegant
*CCCA Full Classic

CUNNINGHAM CARS

By 1925 James Cunningham, Son & Company didn't even post suggested prices for its exclusive automobiles. Its market, always a tiny one made up of wealthy, discriminating clients who appreciated the company's approach to building fine automobiles to individual customer orders, was largely insensitive to price.

Its listings in the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce "Handbook of Automobiles" read only "Prices Upon Application".

The later series cars were offered in two models, the 132" wheelbase 91-A and the 142" wheelbase 82-A, a curious situation where the larger and more expensive model had a lower model designation but one that is in some ways typical of Cunningham's disregard for convention. Both were powered by Volney Lacey's 442 cubic inch side valve V-8 with cast iron blocks and aluminum 3-bearing crankcase. Still rated 45hp by the increasingly outmoded NACC formula, Cunningham in 1923 would announce the engine's power on the engine brake, 90 horsepower. With a 5" stroke and 442 cubic inches its torque was prodigious, and by 1925 it had been improved with an inherently balanced crankshaft.

Also new for 1922 was the change to a four-speed transmission, still supplied by Brown-Lippe as was the multi-disc dry clutch. Cunningham still relied on Timken-Detroit spiral bevel drive full floating rear axles, rugged and proven not only in Cunningham automobiles but also in its successful line of hearses and professional vehicles. Both centerlock wire and demountable rim wood spoke wheels were offered. "Theft locks" became standard equipment but braking was still only on the rear wheels.

Cunningham continued to build its own bodies but, by 1925, they had replaced their prior round shouldered radiator shell with one that was sharp-edged, as seen on this stunning example, and as the decade rounded out their logo was updated also.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

This handsome and exclusive automobile would no doubt have been commissioned by one of Cunningham's roster of wealthy clientele and for the last half of its life at least it has continued to be retained by custodians who could match this same care regardless of costs.

The car was acquired by the current owner in the mid-1980s from one of the dispersal auctions of the famed Harrah Collection as a marque that had long been coveted by him. In the last few years, respecting its elegance and pedigree, an exhaustive restoration was commissioned at Chris Kidd's respected Tired Iron Works, south of here in Monrovia, California.

All told, invoices in excess of $250,000 were accrued as the aesthetics were thoroughly refurbished. On the culmination of this work, the Cunningham, now tastefully appointed in dark blue and black paintwork and with a tonal grey blue interior was invited to be shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2016 in the American Classics Closed Class.

As a fresh restoration and with this sole showing, it offers its next owner potential for other display outings and/or touring, at a fraction of the cost of its rebuild.

Cunningham.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

So here is the opportunity to get a late car.  Not the most attractive body, but if you look at the dropbox pictures it is in pretty good shape.

 

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/75919356_1930-cunningham-towncar

 

A 1930 Cunningham V7 towncar barnyard find! This is a wonderful example of this rare car. The large, luxurious and expensive 8 cylinder series V7. This model was the last production car made by Cunningham. James Cunningham, Sons and Company manufactured high quality carriages before making the transition to horseless vehicles. The V7 series, one of its most successful, was so expensive at the time, only the very wealthy could afford to buy this car. Originally built for Mr. Abraham Baer, this 1930 Cunningham has sat untouched indoors in a southern California warehouse since 1985. Engine type: V8Displacement: 442 cu. in.Power Rating: 106 HorsepowerTransmission: 3 speed manualChassis: Mechanical brakes This car is in excellent condition and drives perfectly. The owner has kept this car untouched in his warehouse since May of 1985, only driving it one time for a parade. The owner is guaranteeing this car will start and run upon pickup. The car is located in the Southern California Mohave dry desert and has been kept indoors the entire time the current owner has had it in his possession. This Cunningham V-7 has 21,965 original miles. Feel free to call us with any questions at all, thanks!More pics can be seen here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9buif5zzc2fp8sk/AACOLCu8qp2K_PILCaj07Cs4a?dl=0https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gh4pfa7hxnmlggg/AABBylnwPBDIsdXnk9SJcA3ma?dl=0

 

 

CunninghamTownCar.jpg

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45 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

Actually, a pretty nice car all the way around in looks "panel Brougham" and older restoration - excepting the wooden wheels do absolutely zero for it. 

 

 

Agreed on the wheels.  And the radiator shell should be chrome and I'm wondering if the headlights are a later addition.

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15 minutes ago, auburnseeker said:

I also noticed the auction estimate.  1,000. to 1,000,000. What a way to narrow it down. 

 

Since the very nicely restored and better looking Club sedan only brought 88k at Pebble, I'm gonna guess this car should be somewhere around 20-25k.

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I would say poorly publicized and poorly photographed so it may do that, though had they played their cars right it coulda/woulda/shoulda go more in the 40-45K range.   Pretty great engine and lots of potential via body style, plus looks to always have been a decent kept car. The older restoration is not particularly attractive color choice or ...  And the wooden wheels are just hideous on it (especially the sidemont mounts) - will haunt it forever until someone forks out some serious pocket change to convert it to wire.  Agree to the radiator shell needs chromed or it needs a stone guard like a DuPont. And, headlights could stand to be larger or ... - yes just looks "off" in the front. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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The fundamental problem is getting past the unattractiveness of an otherwise very interesting car that has lasted a long time in decent shape.     Are those Buffalo #5s?   I wonder if the hubs are special to the Cunningham or if they are shared with Stutz and some other more numerous cars that had those wheels.   Swapping in wires would make a HUGE difference.

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So check this out.   From a Cunningham sales brochure circa 28/29.   If this is true it be the only American transmission that I know of with a overdrive fourth gear instead of direct.  Perhaps this is earlier than 28?  I'm surprised they were building their own transmissions. 

 

image.thumb.png.5918e4739e8f5f262683e18103a56f66.png

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If you paint the wood wheels a medium to dark color and then pin stripe them when you repaint the car proper subtle colors ( that would be appropriate for a formal car) it would change the whole appearance of the car. It would make it look more period/historically correct. There was a time when everyone restoring a car with wood wheels would strip them to the natural grain of the wood and add white wall tires. This made the cars look like they were riding on roulette wheels found in a gambling casino. Most wood wheels were painted not left the natural wood color so you could see the grain and then varnished to a glossy sheen  - all of this makes them stand out and focus your eye on them, which you then do not see the fender or body line because your attention is to the sphere shape of the wheel - a bulls eye.

Edited by Walt G
typo error (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, alsancle said:

A slightly different towncar body but with wires.   

 

image.thumb.png.6d38f6207f97dfcd9abb0b98fedf0ea5.png

By the way, for anyone one that has experienced it, a chrome spoke wire wheel is dazzling when the sunlight hits them just right or at night, especially when you get under street lamps = they have a "camera flash bulb" effect. You also get the same effect all be it more dazzling with a 33 and 34-37 Cadillac V-16 "Flipper Bar" hubcaps,50's flipper bars in full caps, or even such as a 1955 Buick Roadmaster hubcap.   And sidenote:  this is a really great photo too !

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...
23 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

Given the results of the fully restored club sedan at Pebble,  this could be a hard car to sell.

Agreed, plus the car will just not be anything you or it wants to be in the current colors matched to the wood wheels being just the worst of worst (ghosts of Christmas pasts and ...) - all be it both very fixable issues given a large billfold. 

 

And, for those reading that may take this the wrong way - Certain things from the boxcar school of design are very elegant, though there is a certain reason(s) someone buys these kind of cars and one reason is not for them to loose on show fields (the competition is just too steep for any car not at its best).  And, sure it will make someone a nice car as is, the problem is they would just have to be happy with it as is matched to not expecting the same issues to go away upon any next sale.

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

The town car is being advertised using the auction pictures in Hemmings. 

 

 

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/cunningham/unspecified/2329184.html

 

 

Seller’s Description:

A 1930 Cunningham V7 towncar barnyard find! This is a wonderful example of this rare car. The large, luxurious and expensive 8 cylinder series V7. This model was the last production car made by Cunningham. James Cunningham, Sons and Company manufactured high quality carriages before making the transition to horseless vehicles. The V7 series, one of its most successful, was so expensive at the time, only the very wealthy could afford to buy this car. Originally built for Mr. Abraham Baer, this 1930 Cunningham has sat untouched indoors in a southern California warehouse since 1985. Engine type: V8Displacement: 442 cu. in.Power Rating: 106 HorsepowerTransmission: 3 speed manualChassis: Mechanical brakes

This car is in excellent condition and drives perfectly. The owner has kept this car untouched in his warehouse since May of 1985, only driving it one time for a parade. The owner is guaranteeing this car will start and run upon pickup. The car is located in the Southern California Mohave dry desert and has been kept indoors the entire time the current owner has had it in his possession. This Cunningham V-7 has 21,965 original miles.

 

 

Price: $777,777 obo

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To ask that amount, it would have been worth a weekend's effort to thoroughly clean it up inside and out, and then park it either on a nice patch of grass, or in front of a stately home that was built in that era, and take some professional photos of it, over photographing it 'as found' in a dingy old warehouse.  Presentation is everything.

 

Craig

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3 hours ago, 8E45E said:

To ask that amount, it would have been worth a weekend's effort to thoroughly clean it up inside and out, and then park it either on a nice patch of grass, or in front of a stately home that was built in that era, and take some professional photos of it, over photographing it 'as found' in a dingy old warehouse.  Presentation is everything.

 

Craig

You buy a formal razor edge town car to win at Concours events and this car just will not do that in current colors matched to wooden wheels that do zippo for it, plus a restoration that is probably not capable of such. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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33 minutes ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

99% sure price is an error as this was posted elsewhere for sale, I remember car and description, for significantly less, in fact less than $45k.  It will come to me... 🤔


The original auction bidding was very low which might be what you are remembering.

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Interesting car......that if you gave it to me for free, I would be in over my head in time and parts sorting it to it’s best possible running and driving condition. At 20k, I would pass. 

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For whatever reason I watched the live bidding on the car and it got up to $375k which didn't meet reserve so they passed on the lot.  I was shocked that the bidding made it that high.

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2 hours ago, kfle said:

For whatever reason I watched the live bidding on the car and it got up to $375k which didn't meet reserve so they passed on the lot.  I was shocked that the bidding made it that high.

I am thinking a generous soul perhaps "helped" the bidding along - Car has serious potential to win at Concours events (matched to be center of attention), but you would need to re-restore it and again the wood wheels do nothing for it and will not allow car to achieve what someone wants to via a razor edge formal towncar (which there are probably not 30 surviving cars of the body style across all marques).  In the famous word's of Don Peterson (West's dad") - "don't give award to ugly cars."

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Cunningham’s are interesting and fun cars.......the only problem is they take up room in the garage, and most of them cost money. Garage space and time usually far exceeds 99 percent of the surviving cars asking price. They were on my bucket list to one for many years. After working on them and driving a few, they have been removed from the list. There are too many interesting cars for less money that are more drivable and useful TO ME. I still like them, just don’t want to own one. 

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Cunningham’s are interesting and fun cars.......the only problem is they take up room in the garage, and most of them cost money. Garage space and time usually far exceeds 99 percent of the surviving cars asking price. They were on my bucket list to one for many years. After working on them and driving a few, they have been removed from the list. There are too many interesting cars for less money that are more drivable and useful TO ME. I still like them, just don’t want to own one. 

Yes, my belief is that this car is the perfect garage queen and show field queen, cool engineering for the time too,  but if you had a number of cars in the garage it  probably would be far from your favorite for touring. The RR PI was sort of that way in a car for me - every time I ran it dad just rolled his eyes and said he did not want to hear me gripe about it complexity when I had to work on it (he was very kind to hold the shop light and to help me gets parts to and from the machinest, but not a day when by that he did not say;  "Lovely car, let it be a lovely car for someone else"). 

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  • 3 months later...

I had to scan some pictures for a friend and when I blew up one of them this was in the corner.  I had thought it was a Rolls but it looks like a Cunningham Dual Cowl to me.  Do you agree?

 

Picture was taken at Billing Marine in Shrewsbury Mass in the early 1960s or late 50s.

CunninghamDualCowl.jpg

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Judging from cowl, bumper, fender and so on several clues to support that theory-yes it certainly would appear to be. What a beautiful car- somebody has to know where this one ended up? The rear wheel tucked into those over-hanging rear fenders looks so sexy. That's one of the most charming characteristics of that blue sedan from Pebble Beach that you posted pictures of previously. I hate to admit it but the white walls almost serve to accentuate this?

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