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1955 Kurtis 500KK

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,714

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

  2. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,980

    from Australia

    Thankyou Ryan.
  3. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 5,894

    Special Ed

    Gotta love a Kurtis design! Thanks for posting it Ryan...
  4. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,588

    from SUGAR CITY

    I have a new love and it tis this car. How fucking stealthy is this thing? This car is perfect top to bottom....well maybe lose the bumper car steering wheel hahaha!!!

    Love that it's running an injected Chevy V8. If you find an original article on this car add it to the early Chevy V8 thread!!!
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  5. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,980

    from Australia

    Nearly all the American sportscars in the '50s had very basic chassis designs with very primative leaf spring suspensions, except the Kurtis cars which came with torsion bars. Most of the earlier cars had a '39 Ford steering box and nearly all came with drum brakes. Some owners experimented with unreliable Halibrand discs also.
    This chassis was also used by other sportscar manufacturers such as Allied, Sorrell, Glaspar and i'm sure there were many others.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  6. koth
    Joined: Apr 30, 2007
    Posts: 161


    Holy Smokes!! Now that is a sports car! Thanks for sharing it Ryan. Love the angles taken for the pictures too.
  7. AnimalAin
    Joined: Jul 20, 2002
    Posts: 3,414


    Very cool. Thanks.
  8. boldventure
    Joined: Mar 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,766


    This is now the third Kurtis sports car I've seen in person or in photos. One has been at the Historics at Laguna Seca regularly, one I spotted at Hillsborough and this one.
    All three are painted black!
  9. gottarod
    Joined: May 7, 2008
    Posts: 12

    from bandera,tx

    if darth vadar was a car! man that Kurtis is cooler than a cobra! looks like its' goin fast in the pics... great job Ryan!
  10. oaktree
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 71


    Wow, the Kurtis is smooth. Light weight (dig those seats), tube frame and what was probably the best engine, pound for pound, available in its day. It would be a fast street car today. Not bad for a car designed 60 years ago.
  11. Very cool. The car has an odd shape but at the same time it does something to me.
  12. Graham08
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 108

    from Denver, NC

    Very cool! Thanks for the photos and story.

    I'm pretty sure Ak Miller's El Caballo II was built on a similar chassis, but had a different one-off aluminum body. And early Hemi power. It was on the cover of a mid-50's Hot Rod magazine. I would love to build something along these lines...
  13. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 21,478


    I've seen photos of that car off and on for the past 50 years and it spins my wheels every time I see it. I think that there are some race photos of it that were taken not long after it was built.
  14. lakester47
    Joined: Feb 24, 2008
    Posts: 114


    Here is a similar Kurtis, also painted black, but with a very different and cool engine choice.

    Attached Files:

  15. haroldd1963
    Joined: Oct 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,152

    from Peru, IL

    That car is gorgeous!!! Thanks for posting Ryan.
  16. It is a stunning car, I had the chance to buy it last year but didn't pull the trigger... it was just too nice to put on the track, hopefully it went to a person that will bring her out to play. The gentleman that restored it has a rather amazing Kurtis collection and is a really nice guy. There was a black 54 KK at "The Quail" last year and there are a couple other KK's that vintage race on the west coast.
  17. plhildy
    Joined: Aug 4, 2007
    Posts: 30

    from Clovis, Ca

    Have I ever wanted a Cobra, not so much, but if some enterprizing soul started repoping this thing, well I may just have to go "sporty"!!
  18. Good story Ryan. The thing I find amazing about Frank was the amount and type of cars that came out of his shop during the 40's and 50's. While he was designing and building his indy roadsters, sprint cars, and sports cars, he also found the time to design and build 500, or so, of the most successfull midgets in history. I restored this one in '87, and as I worked on it I marveled at the functional simplicity of the design. frank Kurtis was a true genius.

  19. Wow.

    Thanks for posting that, Ryan.

    I have seen some really cool cars, but that is one I have never had the privilege of seeing. A true work of art.
  20. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 7,481


    Holy Hotrod, that thing is so cool it made my teeth hurt. It is about as spot on as a hot rod sports car can get. The other picture of the blown inline vehicle is also a mind bender. Thanx for diggin this up! ~Sololobo~
  21. so killer - here at the Classy Chassis show we went to in Houston last summer



    Love this one with some Gary Howard customs, Lee Pratt's shoebox and Reggie's survivor in the background...
  22. robt500
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 432

    from Lex, KY

    cool. And the chassis blueprint is a nice addition to the thread
  23. BeatnikPirate
    Joined: May 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,414

    from Media, Pa.

    Very interesting!
    Neat car!
    Thanks for posting.

    Reading this prompted me to poke around and I found a cool website with info and pics of some other Kurtis fiberglass bodied cars,( as well as a directory of fiberglass cars from the 1950's and 60's, such as Glaspar, Devin, Almquist, etc):

    Attached Files:

  24. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 5,894

    Special Ed

    That's cool! That picture was taken on the top level of a parking garage in Santa Maria at the Santa Maria Inn, in (I think) 1998. That car was owned by Arlen Kurtis, Frank's son. The gathering was our "Muntz Mania" event....I think we ended up with about a dozen Jets and two Kurtis'. Shortly after this photo was taken, we jumped in our cars and cruised down to Buellton in them.
    Arlen and his lovely wife were invited as special guests to share a bit of Kurtis history with us. We also had Earl Muntz's son and daughter there, representing the Jet. :)
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  25. Terry Buffum
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 239

    Terry Buffum
    from Oregon

    I think the car with the blown six was built by Lou Borelli, who worked for Kurtis. Borelli and another Kurtis employee, Art Ingels, built 1/4 Midgets, Midgets, parts of the Indy cars, and the first "kart". They left Kurtis in the late 1950s to form "Ingels & Borelli Caretta"; they were the makers of what were probably the best crafted karts of their time.
  26. swimeasy
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 1,063


    I bet that thing would fair pretty well in a wind tunnel with that jelly bean shape. That design is so basic and simple. It shows me that less is best, something that I think gets forgoten so often.
  27. 29 bones
    Joined: Sep 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,029

    29 bones
    from so cal

    so nice, very classy and simple...thanks for the story
  28. cornfieldrodder
    Joined: Sep 20, 2002
    Posts: 966


    That is a nearly perfect minimalist design. I've never seen it before. It may be the most beautiful shape to ever grace four wheels. Thanks for sharing it with us Ryan.
  29. Rex Schimmer
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 747

    Rex Schimmer
    from Fulton, CA

    Interesting gas filler. It is exactly like one the Steve Moal offers right now. So the question is: Is the gas filler a Moal or did Moal copy the Frank Curtis design?
  30. Yowsa! My first time seeing this car, and I gotta say I think the Falcon design team took this design and turned it into a family sedan.

    Attached Files:

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