Lot 14

2022   |   Pebble Beach Auctions

1962 Kurtis-Kraft Aguilla

Estimate

$450,000 - $500,000

Chassis

62-S1

Car Highlights

The Final Racing Car Built by Frank Kurtis

The Only Dual-Purpose Kurtis-Kraft Race Car with Transformable Bodywork

Two-Time Concours d’Elegance Class Winner

Equipped with 1962-Dated Chevrolet 327 Engine Block

Mechanical and Interior Restoration Performed in 2016

Bare-Metal Exterior Restoration to Its Original 1962 Racing Livery

Technical Specs

327 CID Chevrolet V-8 Engine

Three Stromberg 2-Barrel Carburetors

Estimated 400 HP

4-Speed Borg-Warner Manual Gearbox with Quick-Change Rear

4-Wheel Halibrand/Airheart Disc Brakes

Front and Rear Torsion Bar Suspension with Leading and Trailing Arms

Register to Bid

Garth Hammers

Herb Stelter, Houston, Texas (acquired new from Kurtis-Kraft in 1962)

George Shelley, Florida (acquired from the above in 1985)

William Chapin, Pennsylvania (acquired by 2000)

Richard Munz, Madison, Wisconsin, (acquired from the above in 2009)

Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2016)

SCCA Divisional Galveston, Texas, September 1962, Stelter (DNF)

SCCA Preliminary Galveston, Texas, September 1962, Stelter (DNF)

SCCA Divisional Mansfield, Louisiana, 1963, Stelter

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, California, 2010

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Florida, 2011

Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Cars, Ohio, 2012 (Best in Class)

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2016

Ironstone Concours d’Elegance, California (Best in Class)

Best-known for his definitive midget and sprint cars and the five Indianapolis 500 wins scored by his revolutionary roadsters in the 1950s, Frank Kurtis approached retirement in 1962. He and his renowned staff designed and built a small batch of beautifully styled two-seater sports racing cars, and this car in particular, chassis 62-S1, took the concept one step further. It was commissioned in 1962 by Herb Stelter, a Houston auto parts distributor and motorcycle racer turned race car driver. Stelter thought an Indy-type car would be an excellent basis for SCCA competition, and Frank Kurtis suggested that one could be built for both open-wheel Formula 366 and sports car races by designing a car with quickly removable fenders via Dzus fasteners. Dubbed “Aguila,” (Spanish for Eagle) by Stelter, it is the only Kurtis-Kraft racing car built with a dual-purpose body.

After the rolling chassis was completed, Stelter and mechanic Dale Burt installed a three-carburetor 327 Chevy engine and four-speed gearbox. Details of the car and Stelter’s SCCA outings were featured in the January 1963 issue of Road & Track. Despite the Aguila’s competitive potential, Stelter entered about a dozen races in 1962 and 1963, but did not post a finish. A flywheel explosion the following year, dictated the car’s retirement to Dale Burt’s Houston garage. Two decades later, it was acquired and restored by George Shelley, a vintage racing enthusiast in Florida, who campaigned the car in Southeastern SVRA events. It was highlighted in marque expert Gordon Eliot White’s 1990 Kurtis-Kraft book as “one of the last three racing cars Kurtis would build.”

By 2000, the Aguila was acquired by noted Kurtis-Kraft collector William Chapin of Pennsylvania, who sold it in 2009 to Richard Munz of Madison, Wisconsin. Mr. Munz refreshed the car for exhibition at concours events, and added an NHRA-approved fuel tank for continued vintage racing. The consignor purchased the Aguila from Mr. Munz in 2016, and performed an interior and mechanical restoration. That August, he participated in the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance®, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®. On the lawn, Frank Kurtis’ son, Arlen, told the consignor that he recalls the Aguila as the last race car his father built.

Rounding out the restoration in 2022, the Aguila was mechanically serviced and the body stripped to bare aluminum for refinishing in the original racing livery. It was painstakingly completed using underlying paint samples and period photographs. An additional set of wide Halibrand magnesium alloy racing wheels and slicks are included for open-wheel racing. In addition to its beauty, fascinating, one-off dual-purpose design, and last-of-its-kind status, the Kurtis-Kraft Aguila stands ready to deliver a truly unforgettable experience on all levels.

*Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.