1952 Kurtis 500S ContinuationSOLD
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Engine Type: 350 c.i. Chevrolet 8-Cylinder
Color:Blue / Red Leather

Reference Number 210993

as of 6/1/2013

Overview
Car 1952 Kurtis 500S Continuation
VIN MVIN235195IND 
Mileage 24,501 miles 
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Known History

 

1952 Kurtis 500S Continuation

s/n MVIN235195IND

Blue with Red Leather

 

In their December, 1953, issue Road and Track proclaimed that “Frank Kurtis of Glendale, California, deserves full credit for being the first man in America to attempt to produce an American production sports car.”

 

In the early 1950’s Kurtis Kraft Indy roadsters dominated the 500 mile race. Billy Vukovich won both the 1953 and 1954 races with Kurtis’ taking the first three positions each year.

 

Kurtis built the 500S to meet the FIA rules for sports cars. The 500S is the Vukovich KK500 Indy winning roadster, widened for two cozy passengers and fitted with fenders and headlights to produce a race car which can be driven on the street. Drawings by John Bond in October of 1953 show the basic Indianapolis frame with typical Kurtis combination Hat-section flanged side beams and tubular cross-members. Approximately 26 500S models were eventually produced.

 

According to Motor Life in 1956 “The Kurtis 500S practically owned West Coast sports racing for a couple of years.” Bill Stroppe set a new course record and won the main event at Pebble Beach in the 1954 with Jack Ensley was the SCCA National B modified champion and 12 hours of Sebring pole sitter that same year.

 

Due to the scarcity of the original models and their substantial value, a few faithful continuation models have been produced. John Ward of Alpine invested a lot of time and money in duplicating the 500S. With assistance from Frank Kurtis’ son Arlen, he built a chassis jig for an identical chassis as used in the famous Murphy/Buick 500S and also acquired the fiberglass molds and other proprietary component tooling. Ward’s objective was to win the La Carrera Pan America in a Kurtis. He ultimately built six cars. In 1991 he won the race with one of his cars.

 

Jim Mann, a professional race car restorer, in Elkhart, Indiana, bought the jigs, molds and all of the remaining component parts including the finished chassis for this car from John Ward. Mann’s cars are faithful reproductions of the original Kurtis 500S. Jim built six cars.

 

In addition to the Ward and Mann cars, Arlen Kurtis has also built a few continuation cars using patterns from the Murphy Buick. Recently he delivered a rolling chassis to a customer with body and fenders complete Halibrand style wheels and the torsion bar suspension. There was no interior, engine, drive train or paint. The price was approximately $75,000.

 

Most of the original 500S’ were powered by Chrysler Hemis or Cadillac V-8s. When the Chevrolet small block became available it became the power plate of choice because its light weight resulted in the much better balanced car. In fact when Arlen Kurtis restored his personal 500S he chose a Chevrolet small block and 4 wheel disc brakes.

 

This blue example follows the same pattern. The engine is a 350 Chevrolet. It was recently rebuilt and dynode at 309 hp with a flat torque curve of 325 and 260 foot pounds. In a 1,980 pound car it offers exhilarating performance with a power to weight ratio that exceeds a stock 289 Cobra.

 

The 4-speed transmission coupled to an 8 inch Ford rear end is the ideal complement to the engine. Naturally, the car has the full Kurtis torsion bar suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes. Of particular importance are the genuine pin drive Halibrand knock-off wheels. The interior is finished in the traditional 500S pattern using high quality vinyl for durability and worry free driving in case of rain.

 

In summary this car offers the visual and sensual appeal of an original Kurtis at a modest investment compared to an original example.