Budget-Friendly 1958 MacMinn Le Mans Coupe: Revived Racer

Budget-friendly car exceeds expectations with impressive features.

During the 1960s, Ford’s triumph over Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was highly anticipated by many, with a strong desire to secure a victory for the United States. Among those eager to see this happen was John Bond, former publisher of Road & Track magazine. Bond collaborated with automotive designer Strother MacMinn to create the MacMinn LeMans Coupe. Today, we have the opportunity to admire this rare and unique vehicle thanks to the efforts of a pair of restorers.

Despite its initial purpose of promoting American privateers to participate in the French enduro race, the MacMinn LeMans Coupe was designed with a focus on road usage. The project’s objective was also to create an affordable vehicle, with MacMinn crafting the body to fit onto the chassis constructed by Bond.

1958 Macminn LeMans Coupe

There are reportedly only seven known existing instances of this particular vehicle, which was manufactured in 1958. Restored by current owners Dennis Kazmerowski and Alan Fudge, it is likely that this model is the final remaining one. The car had previously been severely damaged when it careened down Malibu Canyon Hill due to the driver’s loss of control.

The likeness to the Chevrolet Corvette, especially the C3 model, is unquestionable but in a more muscular form. Yet, traces of European design remain, as the back end brings to mind the Aston Martin DB2. However, the standout feature of the exterior is most likely the Black Cherry Metallic paint, providing the vehicle with a Batmobile-esque look.

The LeMans Coupe was propelled by a V8 engine borrowed from a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette, specifically the well-known Chevy 283 small block. Although specific performance figures were not revealed, the official statistics for this model boasted approximately 290 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque.

Additional technical specifications consist of front disc brakes, rear drum brakes, an MGA steering mechanism, and a Triumph TR3 front suspension. After dedicating 3,000 hours over a span of 20 months, the joint proprietors achieved their goal of a weight under 2,000 lbs.

Despite never making its way to the Circuit de la Sarthe, the 1958 MacMinn LeMans Coupe serves as a testament to the fact that even low-cost creations can achieve timeless status. The renovated model was unveiled for the first time at the prestigious 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where the coveted Best of Show trophy was awarded to a stunning 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special.

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