For all intents and uses, Briggs Cunningham is the grandfather of American Grand Prix racing. You most likely know his identify from his Corvette endeavours at Le Mans, but it was basically quite a extensive highway to France. In point, just one of his initially attempts was realized in 1939 when he crafted America’s initial sports activities auto. No shit.
Briggs commenced with what was thought of the most popular stock motor vehicle in North The united states at the time – a 1939 Buick Century. He ripped the physique off the chassis, moved the motor down 2.5-inches and rearward a different 6.5, and then known as on Phil Shafer to very hot rod the Buick 8 motor. The head was cleaned up, a cam was ground, and the compression was bumped from the primary 6.4:1 to 9.5:1.
For the system, Briggs desired one thing that was both light-weight and allowed effortless obtain to the mechanicals. Immediately after considering a quantity of various choices, he settled on an SSK Mercedes body that he discovered in a wrecking yard. Byron Jersey handled making the required modifications to get the Merc body on the Buick Frame. Afterwards, the Bu-Merc was all set for motion.
Its to start with examination came in 1940 at the New York World’s Fair. With Miles Collier at the wheel, the automobile showed wonderful opportunity. But, at some point the Buick brakes began to fade and soon Miles observed himself firmly planted into a phone pole. Not extensive soon after, WWII broke and all racing was cancelled.
By 1948, the war was about and racing was heating up across the globe when more. Briggs experienced the Bu-Merc again with each other and entered the car into the Watkins Glen Grand Prix. Managing his very own driving responsibilities, Briggs concluded 2nd to a 2.9-liter Alfa coupe. The up coming 12 months, the Bu-Merc made one more look and finished 3rd – beating out Ferraris, Alfas, and Maseratis.
Eventually, time and engineering caught up with the automobile and the only detail Briggs could do was retire the Bu-Merc and transfer on to other endeavors and platforms. I have usually thought it was attention-grabbing that Briggs referred to as the Bu-Merc his very first “hot rod.” There would be a couple of far more in his future… Probably I’ll do a brief record of all those upcoming.
Until finally then, take pleasure in these good photographs of the Bu-Merc from Peter Harholt: