Did You Know Cadillac Built A Monster For Le Mans?

hace 8 meses, 2 semanas - 29 agosto 2023, Carbuzz
Did You Know Cadillac Built A Monster For Le Mans?
Cadillac entered the 1950 24 Hours of Mans with a car called "Le Monstre."

Ford and Chevrolet are arguably the most popular American car brands to grace the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. But did you know Cadillac also had a go at it back in 1950? The American luxury automaker owes its entry at the endurance race to Briggs Cunningham, whose race team bought and modified two Cadillac cars dubbed the "Le Monstre."

Based on the 1950 Cadillac Coupe Series 61, the Le Monstre's streamlined body gave the race car its quirky "monstrous" look. The cars had a function-over-form approach, if you will, designed by an aerodynamicist named Howard Weinman from Grumman.

The "Le Monstre" was dearly welcomed in France as it was the first American-branded car to join Le Mans since the war. American armed forces also liberated Le Mans five years before entering the race series.

Cunningham, an American entrepreneur and sportsman, drove one of the cars. He finished in 11th despite beaching his car on the race's second lap. The "Le Monstre" entries went around the Circuit de la Sarthe with a growling V8 with five carburetors, enabling them to reach up to 130 mph.

After the race, Cunningham decided to start his company after acquiring Frick-Tappet Motors. The goal was to be the first American brand to win the Le Mans with his own cars.

His first road car, the C-1, had a Cadillac engine. Unable to secure an engine supply agreement with GM, Cunningham moved to Chrysler HEMI power units starting with the C2-R Le Mans race cars in 1951.

Unfortunately, Cunningham could not secure an overall Le Mans win to his name and the US. Regardless, he will be remembered as one of America's greatest sportsmen, winning six Le Mans Class victories, numerous SCCA National Driving Championships, and the 1958 America's Cup in sailing.

Redemption day came at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans when Ford famously defeated Ferrari with the GT40, the predecessor of the Ford GT. No other American brand has ever won the European endurance race.

Today, Cadillac competes in endurance racing with the V-LMDh. The hypercar does not look as wicked as the Le Monstre anymore. Plus, the V8 and electric motor startup sounds so much out of this world.

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