In the summer of 1950, a foursome of wealthy Americans turned up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a pair of Cadillacs: Le Monstre and the Petit Pataud.
One of the Caddys brought to Le Mans: a “special” so bizarrely bodied, it was promptly dubbed “Le Monstre.” (Collier Collection)
A “Fordillac,” which not surprisingly was a Ford powered by a Cadillac V-8, was stripped of its bodywork, which was replaced with a lightweight aluminum open body designed with the aid of a couple of Grumman Aircraft aerodynamicists and laid up over a tubular framework. (Collier Collection)
The other car, a stock Coupe de Ville whose ungainly appearance inspired a French auto-writer’s nickname “Petit Pataud,” perhaps inspired by thoughts of land yachts and clumsy puppies. (Collier Collection)
The standard coupe was also fitted with stiffer springs and its engine topped off by a pair of two-barrel carbs. Additional race-prep included prying off the hubcaps and removing the back seat. (Collier Collection)
This past weekend, the team’s cars, still proudly known by their tongue-in-cheek noms de circuit, returned to France as part of an homage to U.S. efforts at Le Circuit de la Sarthe. Click the link below to read the full story. (Collier Collection)