One-of-a-Kind 1982 Cumberford Martinique Prototype Up for Sale
A prototype called the 1982 Cumberford Martinique is up for sale. You’ve probably never heard of it before, but it’s priced at a cool $ 3.9 million and is a one-off convertible sports car with an aluminum chassis and mahogany fenders. Why does AUTOMOBILE care? Because this car was designed from scratch by our own design editor Robert Cumberford.
In concert with his brother James, Cumberford created this Martinique in an attempt to form a car company originally called “Cumberford Research” and later changed to “The Cumberford Corporation.” This example is the only complete prototype in the world, and has approximately 45,000 miles on the odometer. Constructed on a cast aluminum chassis with an aluminum body, the Martinique is powered by a BMW inline-six engine with 174 hp and uses a hydropneumatic suspension, steering, and brakes from Citroen. It’s designed in a classic 1930s sports car style, weighs 2,990 lb, and is said to reach a top speed of 133 mph.
The Martinique was kept in a museum briefly, but has been in Cumberford’s care for the last 19 years. He says that he would be happy for it to fall into the hands of a collector or end up in a museum, but is staying mostly separate from the sales process. “Despite people saying and writing that it’s my ‘dream car,’ it’s just one of many, many projects I have done, and it’s far from the most interesting or most challenging car,” Cumberford said of the Martinique. “So, if a collector wants it, good. If it’s a museum, that’s good too.”
Cumberford reflected on his recollections of the car, describing two instances that stick out in his memory: “Probably my two best moments with the car were when old friend Anatole Lapine drove it soon after he retired as Porsche chief designer and joyfully expressed his pleasure with the car, and for me at having done it, and when it was blocked in the infield at Laguna Seca in 1985 by other cars that arrived later. I just jacked the hydraulic suspension up to maximum height and drove up over a steep dirt hill to get clear. The look on bystanders’ faces was priceless.”