Californian Frank Kurtis made significant marks in the auto racing world during the 1940's and 1950's. Twenty-four of the thirty-three starters for the 1952 Indy 500 were Kurtis chassis! In 1953, Kurtis began producing the 500S, the 500KK, and the 500M sports cars, all based on the 1953 Indy Roadster frame and suspension parts. The 500KK models were special order custom cars that were delivered in various stages of completion. A customer could order a bare chassis to a completed car with any available power plant and transmission. The body was made of fiberglass with plywood re-enforcing by Jim Byers, a Los Angeles boat builder. This is one of only three bodies he produced for a 91-inch wheelbase. It is the only known Kurtis to have been originally built with this body.
MKK55 was commissioned by Steve Salem of Los Angeles, to compete in the Carrera Pan American Road Race but was not completed in time for the 1954 race. The 1955 race was canceled. The car competed in sports car and drag racing events from 1955 to 1962, finding its way to Texas in the 1970's. The engine is a 1954 DeSoto, 291 CID, Hemi Fire Dome V-8, developing an estimated 275 HP at 5800 RPM.
This Kurtis has competed in many vintage racing events since 1990, including twelve Monterey Historics. It showed at Pebble Beach in 1993.Also photographed at :