A Chevrolet Corvette raced by Briggs Cunningham in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans was sold for a final bid of $685,000 at an RM Sotheby's auction held on Saturday in Amelia Island, Florida.
Add on the sales commission, and the final price paid for the car comes in at $785,500. The result is well below the estimate of between $900,000 and $1.3 million for the no-reserve sale, though not unexpected given what little remains of the original car. Most of what you see, including the engine, was switched up after the car's short racing career.
The car, which bears chassis no. 00867S103535, is the racing number 1 Corvette driven by Cunningham and William Kimberly in the 1960 Le Mans race, and for a period was thought lost forever.
Briggs Cunningham Chevrolet Corvettes at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans
It suffered a crash on lap 32 so never ended up finishing the race. The team, run by Cunningham, entered three Corvettes and the no. 3 car, driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman, was the most successful, having won its class.
While the whereabouts of the no. 2 and no. 3 cars have always been known, no. 1 was missing for decades until it was finally found in 2011 sitting in storage in St. Petersburg, Florida. As is often the case with such finds, there was some dispute over who the actual owner was, with multiple parties claiming ownership. A judge finally decided that the car be sold, with the proceeds to be split and the new owner given a clear title.
The RM Sotheby's sale coincided with this year's Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Other impressive cars at the sale included a 1929 Duesenberg Model J, 1930 Cadillac V-16, 1948 Talbot-Lago T26, and 1981 March 811 Formula One race car.