top of page




Rochester, NY-based Cunningham Cars was a premier brand at the turn of the 20th century. Having won numerous awards for their coaches and carriages, they tried their hand at the automobile. After setting world records and building a reputation as one of the most luxurious automotive manufacturers in the United States, Cunningham struggled through the Great Depression. They built military vehicles and even electrical switches, but succumbed to the market in the 1960's. After digging up the company's history, I wanted to re-imagine this car company as a modern day enterprise.

This is my Capstone Project, and is in the process of being updated.


James Cunningham came from lowly beginnings as an Irish Immigrant, first settling in Canada, and then Rochester, NY. He worked as an apprentice at a carriage manufacturer, to then buy out his employer. After surviving two economic downturns and other setbacks, the company he formed showed its first signs of major success. They earned prestigious awards for their carriages at the world's fair in Chicago in the late 19th century.


Cunningham's grandson inherited the company, and moved on to automobiles in the early 20th century.


The Cunningham Automobile, as it was known, become the icon of luxury and wealth. Every part was built in the Cunningham factory, and the cars were assembled and serviced by fine craftsmen. They didn't advertise their products but if you wanted luxury, you knew it had to be Cunningham.



Quite possibly the least well-known fastest production car, the V3 Speedster completed 10 miles around a short wooden race track called Sheepshead Bay in New York City in just 6 minutes 35 seconds. It used it's then largest V8, 442 cubic inches, to average just shy of 100 mph - in 1919. This feat was astounding knowing that the average car on the road could only hit about 40mph, if you dared. The Cunningham then set a speed record back to Rochester, where it was deemed a completely stock machine. 

This record went unnoticed, and Cunningham went about it's business building high-quality luxury automobiles. It would slowly lose traction in the market, and could not survive the impending Depression.

bottom of page