Strother MacMinn’s LeMans Coupe Makes First Public Debut in 60 Years
By Geoffrey Hacker, Undiscovered Classics
One of the first memories of working with Gary Smith of Dean’s Garage was 12 years ago. I contacted him and shared that we had just found our first extant Strother MacMinn designed LeMans Coupe. You can read this story on Dean’s Garage. [LINK]
In the years since, I have continued to research this car, and other handcrafted cars built across the USA. The story of designing and building your own car has always had a far greater impact than generally recognized, and we’ve done our best at Undiscovered Classics to help recognize the efforts of these small, independent builders and teams of builders. You can read about what we’ve done to help celebrate these individuals and their cars these past 16+ years in our recently created Undiscovered Classics Portfoilio. [LINK]
Our research continued into the LeMans Coupe continued beyond 2010. Currently, we know of four existing cars/projects and we’re still in search of; two or three that may be out there (perhaps located near someone reading this). And we have exciting news to share here today with Dean’s Garage readers concerning the LeMans Coupe.
Shown here are photos taken earlier this week showing Dennis Kazmerowski and progress on the LeMans Coupe he is building. And the most exciting news is that Dennis and his car will appear this weekend at the Eyes On Design event near Detroit, Michigan. This will be the first time that MacMinn’s LeMans Coupe will be seen in public display in over 60 years.
And even though Kazmerowski’s LeMans Coupe isn’t fully finished, the decision was made by Eyes on Design that the car and its history is too important to not share with others as early as possible—just as the original LeMans Coupe made its public display in unfinished form as well. Let history repeat itself. Again.
The Eyes On Design will feature this MacMinn’s LeMans Coupe on two occasions:
On Saturday June 18th, 2022 the LeMans Coupe will be the central focus of an Eyes on Design Symposium designed to honor Strother MacMinn and his car called, “The Influence of Strother MacMinn and the Influence of the LeMans Coupe.” [LINK] The panel consists of Peter Brock, Stu Reed, Steve Pasteiner, and Dennis Kazmerowski, and the car will be on display. All of this will happen at the GM Design Dome. What a perfect visual background for such an elegant design.
On Sunday June 19th, 2022 the LeMans Coupe will be on display with all cars at the event on the field of Eyes On Design. [LINK]
This “one-two” punch from the folks on Eyes on Design will really give the debut of Kaz’s LeMans Coupe a proper and impressive send-off.
Even now in its unfinished form, the car is impressive to see. The lines of MacMinn’s creation are stunning, and the workmanship on the “build” impressive. Dennis and his team have done yeoman’s work in creating the car and we look forward to seeing it in its finished form in the near future.
For those of you wanting to learn more about Strother MacMinn, John Bond, the cars that were built, and the story behind the men that built them, you can explore the full history on a newly created section of our Undiscovered Classics website. The information shared in this new section represents 16+ years of research into all aspects of LeMans Coupe history, and gives you unfettered access to learning about the LeMans Coupe. [LINK]
Next year should be even more exciting for Dennis and his team when the debut of the finished car takes place and rolls onto the field. More to share about this event when the time comes. In the meantime, let Dennis know what you think in the comments area. I know he’ll appreciate your words of encouragement.
Liked it when as a young man I saw it on the cover of the #1 motoring magazine in America, Road and Track. It still looks really, really good. Thing is, I expected at the time it would be kind of like a LaDawri on steroids or a Bocar, rolling down the road with Corvette running gear. I am heartbroken that never happened. Maybe we could shift over to the chaotic story of the Scaglietti Corvettes?
WELL NORM, It will be rolling down the road shortly with corvette running gear –period correct . The body style is way advanced for it’s time . Just think of a 57 CHEVY or FORD –IT was really far out for America Many designers penned styles like this but very few ever made it to an actual produced body ——–GLAD YOU LIKE —-KAZ
Always an interesting design – I think the sketch works better. The rear of the car never quite fit with the front as built.
I spent a coupe of hours in a van with Strother MacMinn, Gordon Beurig and three Center For Creative Studies car design students the day before the first Eyes On The Classics which soon turned into Eyes On Design. We were taking Gordon’s sketches and a scale model to the show for display the next day. I did not say anything to him but the model’s basic shape looked like the Chevrolet Lumina APV that we had just released for production.
We honored both of them in the first show. As we drove to and from Gordon’s house in Grosse Pointe Shores to the Grosse Pointe Academy on the lake, site of the first and second show I realized suddenly that all of us from different design generations were speaking the same language about cars.
They were both great fun to be with. Gordon Beurig lived about a block from Zora Arkus Duntov and they were good friends.
Good to see progress on this! Hope it will be finished in red. I’ll assume the revised fuel filler location is due to a new tank in back.
I don’t think Mac would have liked the fender to be creased. To me, the sketch reflects a curvature at the top of the fenders. Rounded and coning very carefully into the body. It’s nice and low, however.
Well according to our research MAC approved this body before any mold was totally finished In fact he was pleased that the builders stayed so close to his original design KAZ
Great job, DK. Looking forward to seeing it up close Saturday and Sunday.
Mac was really dedicated to aero and it shows. He was a great instructor. Glad this car is being seen. The rear is longer than I expected, but beautiful proportions otherwise. I also had lunch with Mac and Gordon Buehrig in California, on a visit there. I was initially tongue -tied at the thought of being with iconic figures like those two!!!!
THANKS DAVE , The tail is really not as dramatic as it looks in the pic—–it really has a nice balance—yes this has been just a trip building it. I started with just a raw body with no structure to hold it in shape but we are making some progress and i am very pleased with he work i have done so far—and believe me I am my worse critic—–I just can’t imagine having lunch with MAC AND GORDON. Im afraid my knees would be shaking THANKS KAZ
I think it was around 1966 while I was a trans student at ArtCenter, Mac invited some of us to attend a SAE meeting in downtown LA where Ken Miles was to give a talk. After the meeting we were talking on the sidewalk with Mac when one of us shouted “hey look!’ and pointed down the street. Just then Macs LaMans coupe came gliding through the intersection. The red car looked a little worse for wear but was still running.
WOW That’s a memory and a half—wish I could have seen something like that. Sad that the original car was destroyed and never rebuilt ALTON JOHNSTON was a very talented young man . And sadly not given the credit he deserved—–thanks for the story —–KAZ
My grandfather Marvin Horton was involved with taking the sketch and making these cars come to life. I have only ever seen pictures, magazines, and old film reels of this car.
That is an impressive build and done so incredible well.
It’s amazing to see one like what you have put together here.
While the original version from Road and Track was all red, it looks from the sketch that the intent was (1) to have a Mako Shark two-tone paint scheme with a lighter “belly” and (2) to have the side coves mimic the Corvette’s with a stainless/polished aluminum insert. Am I correct on this?