More and more restored vintage fiberglass sports cars from the 50s – what we call “Forgotten Fiberglass” – are showing up at Concours, on TV, in articles, and now…at auction. Let’s check out an upcoming auction which features a 100” wheelbase Allied “Cisitalia” coupe that will be available at “no-reserve.”
And away we go 🙂
Kurtis-Kraft Allied “Cisitalia” Falcon at RM Auction
Sunday, May 2nd, 2015
RM Auctions will be managing the sale of the Andrews Collection in Ft. Worth, Texas on May, 2nd 2015, and one of the feature cars will be a large wheelbase (100″) Allied “Cisitalia” Blackhawk. Here are some useful links followed by photographs of the car.
Here are some photos from the auction – I love this artistic presentation of the cars at this auction – very stylish and reminiscent of the old “cigar box” trading cards showing exotic cars.
Background on The 100” Wheelbase Allied “Cisitalia”
Allied burst forth on the automotive scene in late 1952 with their 94” coupe body (Swallow) ad advertisements still using their “Atlas” name. By early 1953 they were also offering 94” wheelbase roadster bodies (Falcon).
By early 1954, the larger 100” wheelbase versions were being offered in coupe and roadster models. To the best of our research, both models of the 100″ wheelbase sports car bodies were called “Blackhawks.”
Ron Lee’s ’55 Kurtis KK500
Hot Rod Magazine: June, 2008
At the time of this writing, the auction house had not posted much information on this car. When has that stopped us before gang? Back in June, 2008, Hot Rod Magazine ran an article featuring this very Kurtis-Allied sports car. Let’s see what they had to say back then about this very special car.
The car that everyone most wanted to drive was Ron Lee’s Kurtis (Allied). You want to talk about a storied history? This car has it in spades. Frank Kurtis was well-known for his Indy-cars of the mid ‘50s and before that a gaggle of winning midgets, but he also built the K500 street car in the early ‘50s and the KK500 chassis that was designed for kit car builds.
Ron’s car is one of two KK500’s that was fitted with a Swallow (sic) body from Allied Fiberglass, a SoCal company co-owned by Mickey Thompson and former Petersen Publishing employee Bill Burke. Legend has it that Mickey and Bill visited Barris Kustoms in North Hollywood, California, where Robert E. Petersen had a Cisitalia sports car in for work.
Mickey splashed a mold off the car, unbeknownst to Mr. Petersen, and that was the basis for the Swallow body. This is one of two cars prepared, reportedly by Mickey, for the ’55 La Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico. The race was canceled that year, but the car was road-raced stateside for years, finally making it back to Mexico for the ’90 La Carrera Panamericana.
The car was owned by Jeffrey Patterson and finished the ’90 race, and in mid-2006 Ron added it to his stable of cars. He has done some work to it to make it more driveable, including installing Wilwood disc brakes (interesting, the Kurtis originally came with discs, but they were swapped for Lincoln drums somewhere along the line), rebuilding the Lincoln V-8, replacing the three-speed with a modern T5, lowering the seats into the chassis, adding air dams to cool the cockpit, and bolting on PS Engineering knock-off wheels.
Ron said, “We are in final preparation to race it in the Chihuahua (Mexico) Express, which is a three-day event very similar to the Panamericana race. If I don’t finish my new roadster pick up with the blown Ardun in time for the Panamericana in October, we will race the Kurtis in that event also. I have also entered in into the Pikes Peak vintage event for this year.”
Ron implored all of us to wind this puppy out on the mountain roads, which we had no problem doing. What a fun, and historic, ride.
Hot Rod Magazine Editors’ Comments:
The magazine also included comments from three Hot Rod Magazine Editors about this car as follows:
This was the best sounding car of the bunch. The low-compression, slightly cammed, 317ci Y-block Ford motor had a great rolling lope at idle and then really wailed when the pedal touched the floor. Cramped as it was in the cockpit, the driving position was not too bad for a medium build driver like myself.
In terms of handling, it is impossible to feel any more closely related to the mechanical actions of a vehicle than the driver is with this car. This is a race car that has been made street legal. It made old race car noises over bumps on the highway with the occasional bang and clank, but the exhaust note more than made up for that. I personally could not imaging running this car 2,000 miles, flat out across Mexico. The men who did it 50 years ago deserve all the respect they get.
To me, this was the most intriguing of all the cars driven today – a real race car with just a few mods to make it barely streetable. And it drives like a real race car (albeit a really old one) with everything close to the bone…and yet this thing is pleasant and manageable on the road.
It’s loud too, but in that nice way. Too bad these fiberglass bodies are no longer made. This was one car that tickled my brain’s car-building center. You could do a lot with this basic package.
Visceral, primal, rough, and a damn good time. That’s the perfect way to sum up a little seat time in the Kurtis. The fact that this vintage La Carrera Panamericana racer feels like it’s tap-dancing on the edge of street legality only made it more impossible to wipe the smile off my face.
I was lucky enough to be behind the wheel through winding roads in the Angeles National Forest, and it was an absolute blast to drive. The low-slung Kurtis stuck the turns well, but it was really the upshifts and downshifts that made the drive.
So how will this Allied Blackhawk (100” wheelbase) coupe do at auction? Time will tell and maybe…just maybe…vintage fiberglass specials time will come.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember gang…
The adventure continues here at Forgotten Fiberglass.