The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by guffey, Sep 24, 2012.
The 1952 Indy winner that Bruce Meyer has is a Kuzma chassis.
Pretty sure the one you saw at Pebble is the "Kurtis/Omohundro" roadster, of which there were two: one red, one blue, differing in detail. Geoff Hacker in Florida currently owns both of them.
I'm trying to figure out what Geoff Hacker is doing with "steel bodied" classics?
Here's some shots of my 55 500M project I got off of Craigslist last year.
And thanks to the fellow H.A.M.B. members who have helped put me in touch with other 500M owners, this is going to be a fun project.
While Geoff's main focus is Forgotten Fiberglass, he has a secondary enthusiasm for "sports customs". This isn't a precisely defined category, but in general it means unique or very low production 2-seater sporty cars, usually (but not always) built from production steel parts. He lobbied for a special Sports Customs class at Pebble Beach this year, which did happen, and Geoff's red Omohundro was among the cars exhibited.
So many people are more famous than him, just for making 1 type of car. He made so many yet is relatively unknown.
And they're all great designs.
Frank was not much of a self promoter. He was a quiet man who didn't believe in tooting his own horn. His tube framed midgets revolutionized midget racing overnight, and made a lot of pre war cars and designs obsolete, which ruffled more than a few feathers. The same with his Indy roadsters. A lot of good upright indy cars were mid pack runners once the roadsters showed up. The Watson roadsters were nothing more than slightly modified versions of Frank's designs, yet they achieved much more noteriety because AJ Watson was an excellent self promoter, and sold his cars to the well healed owners who attracted the top drivers. Frank loved Indy, but was very disillusioned when Watson was selected for the hall of fame years before he was.
I came across these articles the other night.
Good stuff. I had not seen those before. Thanks for posting them.
You might be interested in my technical comparison of the Kurtis 500G and the Watson roadsters. Check it out!
mac miller in INDY
No worries! Here are some more articles I found.
You never cease to amaze, Jimmy B!
Popular Science & Popular Mechanics . . . you'll do whatever it takes to uncover buried treasure! You're a HAMB treasure.
In reading all the above old magazine articles, three statements jump out at me.
In regard to the Kurtis Sports car..."The frame tubing has been perforated throughout to reduce weight without sacrificing strength". The photo seems to show round tube frame.
In regard to the Ab Jenkins article..."Compression Ratio is 24:1." and ..."V8 engine has sterling silver connecting rod bearings"."
Can somebody explain this to me or are we dealing with typical inaccuracies of magazine articles?
I suspect the "perforated tubing" is actually refering to the boxing plates between the tubes. Here's a shot of the Vuky roadster chassis. I'm sure the 24-1 cr is a typo and probably should be 14-1. Don't know about silver rod bearings, but I sure wouldn't want to buy too many of them.
Edit: Actually it seems there's no round tube involved, the frame rails were formed/fabricated from sheet into, what could be considered a rectangular tube.
I spoke with your mother once about the things Frank did build for your family. What about the pony cart, can't think of the proper name,. I still have the flat bed Frank made for the 68 F350 your dad towed the horse trailer with. What was that little camper shell called, the bear house? The man could fabricate just about anything he put his mind to.
I havent forgotten about posting the Atlas Chrome cars and frames and engines etc. Coming soon.
Here is my Kurtis style Indy roadster body that I built for a guy who wanted an Indy roadster but not a Watson. This body combines my favorite Kurtis shapes including the 1957 Kurtis 500G and the 1956 Kurtis 500F NOVI. I even made a NOVI style fin.
mac miller in INDY
To all you fans of the Kurtis-Omohundro Comet, my son had just sent me a picture of it on display at the new LeMay Auto Museum in Tacoma, WA.
Thanks Geoff for sharing your beautiful car with us all.
I had forgotten about this thread but here is a 1950 Kurtis front drive built for Gil Pierson and never quite completed or raced.
For all you guys who are into the Kurtis cars you are invited to join us in Texas on Sept 21 as we celebrate the history of Frank Kurtis and Kurtis-Kraft. Arlen will be there with his Sports Car plus we will have another 8-10 Kurtis cars.
More info here, or www.radiusnation.net.
Here are some of the cars that will be there.
Dean do you remember much about the Kurtis-Yamaha 1/2 midgets
Never really saw one up close. On evening David Nelson had one out at the Pomona 1/4 midget track making some laps. I think it was some kind of a PR deal. I never heard any more about David, or Ricky and 1/2 midgets. I don't think Frank made very many of them.
I had a Kurtis kart with water cooled Koenig 250cc. Both the suspension and water cooling got outlawed fairly early in the game - before 1960, I think.
Where was that National at?? Remember the Vegas races at the Hacienda It was all good and loads of fun.
Gene Shipley 46
The first 1/4 midget nationals was held in Phoenix, Az in 1957. I won the AA/open fuel class that year. The nationals were held there through the early 60's. I also won the inaugural race at Vegas in '57. The Hacienda track was super fast.
I have a question . Did Frank Kurtis also get into boat building at some point or is this a coincidence ? I have had a few Kurtis Hydro's ??
Frank's son, Arlen, was in the boat business. His hulls were fast. He and his wife both held records with their boats. Frank lamented many times he wished his son would build something with wheels on it.
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