This 1953 Kurtis 500S Racing Sports Car was brought to the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it had an estimated value of $100,000-$125,000. Under the bonnet is a Chrysler Hemi eight-cylinder with four-single BBL carburetors, aluminum intake manifolds, Vertex magneto and rated at 240 horsepower. There is a Jaguar XK120 four-speed gearbox and four-wheel drum brakes.
Over a thirty year period, Frank Kurtis of Glendale, California built over 800 oval track cars. Many were successful and enjoyed long and prosperous racing careers. While watching his cars race around a long oval track, it occurred to him that his chassis and suspension concept could translate nicely into road going sports cars. He launched a series of sports cars called the Kurtis 500 S, with around 25 or 30 being produced created. The very early versions featured a hand-formed aluminum body, such as this example. It began its life as an unused Kurtis KK chassis and originally outfitted with the optional Halibrand V8 quick change.
During the close of the 1980s, this car was treated to a reconstruction, using many old, original parts as possible, including the upper and lower nose panels, hood side panels, fuel tank, and Halibrand wheels. When parts were not available, they were replicated using period correct construction techniques. The reconstruction was completed in 1991 and has been in storage since.
At auction this lot found an interested buyer, willing to satisfy the vehicles reserve, and purchased the car for $104,500 including buyer's premium.