1953 Kurtis 500SSOLD

Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auctions

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To be sold at the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auctions on August 20 and 21, 2011. For further details please visit www.goodingco.com or contact a vehicle specialist at 001.310.899.1960. Engine Specifications: 365 CID Chrysler Hemi OHV V-8 Engine Dual Holley 4-Barrel Carburetors Estimated 450 BHP 4-Speed Manual Gearbox with Quick Change Rear End 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc Brakes Solid Axle Suspension with Torsion Bars, Leading and Trailing Arms About this Car: Presented here is one of the few surviving 500S sports cars that can be traced back to the original Kurtis-Kraft shop in Glendale, California. This exceptional specimen, chassis 500S-022, was built during 1953 and delivered to its first owner with a DeSoto engine. According to original Kurtis-Kraft invoices, the 500S was struck from behind shortly after being sold and, in May 1954, was returned to the factory, where the damaged tail and deck lid were removed in order to repair the fuel tank. Once this work was completed, an aluminum tail and louvered deck lid were fitted, together with a new rear bumper bar, taillights and a recessed Halibrand fuel cap. These records further indicate that the original engine was removed at that time and was replaced by a Chrysler Hemi, motor no. C53-8- I5990. To make room for the large-displacement V-8 engine, new motor mounts were fashioned, as were suitable headers and exhaust. Additionally, the radiator, transmission adapter and steering system were modified to provide a better fit and the 500S received a Hunt Vertex magneto, as well as a new flywheel and clutch. Finally, the sports car was repainted and Halibrand kidney- bean sports car wheels were installed, presumably in place of the more common steel wheels. Despite the presence of original paperwork, little is known of the car?s earliest history and 22 years passed before the original 500S reappeared in the public eye. On June 26, 1976, the current owner, a passionate Kurtis enthusiast, purchased the 500S from Eric Cameron, who was then liquidating his deceased friend?s Los Angeles estate. Rather than return the car to the road, the sports car was kept in static storage for another three decades while other projects were completed. In 2005, the decision was made to restore the 500S and the project was entrusted to Ron Jenkins of DG Motorsport in the UK. Utilizing all the original alloy bodywork, chassis and suspension components, the Kurtis was finally brought back to its former splendor. Of highest importance, the Chrysler engine installed at the factory in 1954 remains in the car and was reconditioned during the restoration process. Displacing 365 cubic inches and topped by a period Weiand intake and Holley carburetors, this period Hemi engine is a force to be reckoned with. In restoring the car, the owner sought to prepare a competitive vintage racer that would be equally at home on the show field. Finished in deep maroon paint, the menacing Kurtis sports car possesses the appearance of a road-going Indy Roadster, complete with gray Halibrand wheels, front cycle fenders, louvered alloy panels and an exposed cockpit. Since being restored, the 500S has been actively campaigned in UK vintage races, participating in everything from VSCC events to several appearances at the prestigious Goodwood Revival. As recently as 2010, the mighty Chrysler-powered Kurtis was invited to take part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed. In an impressive display, the 500S went on to win the Carrera Panamericana class, defeating a Jaguar C-Type, Ferrari 375 MM and a Lancia D24 in the process! Not surprisingly, the American-built sports car has attracted the attention of the English motoring press and was featured in the September 2006 issue of Classic & Sports Car magazine. After taking an exhilarating blast in the 500S, Mick Walsh remarked that the Kurtis ?really puts the power down and romps off.? As one of the few genuine 500S sports cars, this stunning Kurtis should be welcome at a wide variety of historic race venues in the US and abroad. Devastatingly quick and meticulously prepared, this 500S should hold great appeal to the enthusiast looking for a competitive 1950s race car with tremendous character and giant- killing performance. It remains a lasting tribute to the genius of Frank Kurtis.

Reference Number 125358

as of 12/24/2011

Car 1953 Kurtis 500S
VIN 500S-022 
Exterior / Interior Color Maroon / Red 
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