Paul Cunningham

drove some hairy V8 powered iron in the early 1960s.  His stepson, Michael Heinecke, provided more information (below) on this colorful driver.

Cunningham qualified this 6200cc. Kurtis-Pontiac for  the 1961 Riverside GP.  He finished 17th in the ex-Mickey Thompson car. 

From Joe Scalzo's "Plugs & Points" MotoRacing Oct. 27, 1961:"A goof up put us 8 laps behind.  We had a faulty oil pressure gauge and at Turns 6 and 9 it kept bottoming.  So I stopped at the pits four times -- 14 minutes -- to have oil added.  And we didn't need any."

The Kurtis-Pontiac reappeared at the 2003 Goodwood historic race meeting.

See it as it looks today!

In 1962 and 1963, Cunningham campaigned the "Terrible Tempest", an MG-TC Special powered by a 2215 cid B.O.P. aluminum V8.

He qualified the car for the 1962 Riverside GP but DNF'd. 

At the Dodger Stadium event in 1963, Cunningham amazed the crowd by battling Bill Krause in the Harry Finer Birdcage Maserati on equal terms in this car.

"As I remember it the #37 mystery car was powered by a Chevy V8.  It was co-owned by Jim Chaffee and the Buick sales manager from the Montclair area.  I have thought about that and I believe that Jim Chaffee did not own it only the Sales Manager.  Jim was a friend of the family and my dad did hang out with Jim and on occasion did drive Jim's car but not in any big races."
From Michael Heinecke:

"I am the stepson of Paul B. Cunningham who did campaign many #37's.  Paul started out in H production driving a little known Austin Healey  Bugeye Sprite.  The Sprite started sporting a cartoonish Sprite with a hand reaching out over the front wheel well, it was made out of self-adhering vinyl that had his racing #37 on it  (we had to remove  the #s and the masking tape from the car after the race because dad  would drive the car to and from work daily), it became known as the "Grabbing Hand" Sprite.  I know this because it was my handiwork. 

He  drove many different cars over his shortened career, Sprite, AH 100,  the 'Terrible Tempest', several Devins including the mystery car #37,  the Kurtis-Pontiac #37, a private owned Ford Cobra (Campaigned against  the team Cobra's) and I'm sure there were others I can't remember due to my higher interest in girls during that era.  I usually towed the race cars to the events and dad would drive to the event later with mom. 

As you are probably aware dad was killed on the track at Willow  Springs about 1964, and my mom died in 2001.  I have never been able to find anything of his racing career, I guess all the photos are lost. 

I do know that he is the driver in your #37 mystery photo, and I do remember that Jim Chaffee owned the car along with another gentleman who was a Sales Manager at a Buick Agency in the Montclair,  CA area.  Were you aware that Paul was one of the early drivers that helped found the SCCA drivers school at Riverside Raceway?  I think he and Bob Bondurant and others had the idea and desire to create such a  school. 

I would like to correspond with the current owner of the #37 Kurtis-Pontiac that you refer to as being at Goodwood 2003.  I also would like very much if others that come to your site could share with me any photos they may have of the #37 cars for the period 1960-1964.  Thank you for sponsoring such a moving site, I am wiping tears away as I type, I am so touched that someone is paying tribute to many of the great drivers of the past, many of whom are not with us anymore.  If you or others want to correspond with me I will try not to have too many 'senior moments' and share what I remember."

 Michael L. Heineke (Stepson of Paul B. Cunningham, ol #37)

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