Kurtis-Kraft Sports Cars: Sports Cars Trend Book #130 (1956)

Hi Gang…

This is an interesting book because of it’s date – 1956.  It gives us a window into what was still happening in terms of fiberglass sports cars and other interesting facets of automotive history at the time.  Here in ’56, Kurtis Kraft was still up and running, and the Kurtis 500M was being touted as the latest offering.

Let’s have a look about what Motor Trend had to say about Kurtis Kraft sports cars in ’56:

Sports Cars: Trend Book #130 (1956)
Kurtis Kraft Sports Cars

The Kurtis 500 sports car is derived from experience gained in building some 900 track-racing machines.  Although some enthusiasts question the stability of an extremely light-weight tubular frame for a sports car to be used on a road course complete with dips, reverse-camber turns, and various types of uneven road surface, Frank Kurtis made his sports car chassis as simple and as light as possible.

The key to the Kurtis Sports Car stability was not in the rigidity of the frame, but in a unique method of suspension by torsion bars, wider than the frame itself.  This proved effective for lateral stability but flexing of the frame is apparent in watching one of these machines on a road course.

Be that as it may, a Kurtis sports car driven by Bill Stroppe was rarely beaten on West Coast road courses in 1953.  This particular machine was powered by a souped-up Mercury V8 engine.  Today, you’ll find other Kurtis cars in nearly every U.S. sports car race, powered by big-bore Buicks, Chryslers and Cadillacs, as well as Mercurys.

The cars, with a dry weight in the neighborhood of 2200 pounds, became formidable contenders against anything that Europe produced, including the Ferraris.  Besides the 500 competition machine, Kurtis introduced the 500M in late 1954, a sports car with the usual comfort appointments and more pleasing styling than the competition model.

This car is available with any Detroit-produced engine of your choice.  All Kurtis cars are built on order from the customer at the small-production factory in Glendale, California.


Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…


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