September 24, 2023


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1955 Kurtis KK500 | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal


1955 Kurtis KK500

Later this week or upcoming, I will be starting up a mini-sequence of kinds on the historical past of American activity cars. That heritage is planted firmly in the fingers of Briggs Cunningham, but Frank Curtis was not significantly behind. Of class, we all know him for his achievement on circle tracks. His sprint vehicles were being unbeatable for about a 10 years and his Indy autos are now famous, but Frank desperately wanted to build a output/activity motor vehicle firm as effectively.

His 1st hard work was labeled the Kurtis Sport Automobile – a gorgeous aluminum bodied convertible dependent on a 1949 Ford chassis. Owing to the superior expense of creation, Frank couldn’t make the quantities function and bought the design and style to Earl Muntz who went on to re-label the car or truck as the Muntz Jet. Earl designed all-around 300 from 1951 to 1953.

A quick when later, Frank decided to consider his hand at production vehicles as soon as again. This time, he resolved to choose his 500B Indy automobile chassis and modify it to be a suited foundation for a highway auto. It did not consider much… In truth, other than the wider track (finished to permit +1 seating and a broader wide variety of motor alternatives) the to start with Kurtis 500S street automobile was quite related to the Kurtis race car or truck. So considerably so, that the automobile turned regarded as the “Two-seat Indy Motor vehicle.”

All over again, the cost of generation hampered Frank. He just couldn’t get his marketing cost very low plenty of to entice a market place of any type. In an work to battle this, Frank launched the KK500 – a kit version of the car or truck enabling the builder/purchaser to selected from a selection of diverse fiberglass bodies.

A person of these consumers was a man named Jack Ensley. Jack’s objective was to acquire the 1958 Highway The usa party. He had Jack Sutton create an all aluminum body for the vehicle and when finished, he stabbed in a Rochester injected SBC backed by a 4-speed. But time was short and Ensley wasn’t able to get the car finished in time for Road America. Dejected, he offered the car to Joseph Cocannon.

Like many of the Kurtis highway automobiles, the roadster modified fingers a lot, obtained raced some, and never really lived up to its opportunity. But to me? This may well be the most gorgeous Kurtis at any time constructed. There is just something about the slab facet physique alongside with the recognizable Kurtis grill that can make this factor equally uniquely American and incredibly simplistic.


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