Lot 31

2014   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2014

1954 Kurtis 500S

SOLD $170,500


$175,000 - $225,000| Without Reserve



Car Highlights

One of the First American Production Sports Cars
Restoration by Original Designer Frank Kurtis and His Son Arlen Kurtis
Representative of the Marque that Dominated the Indy 500 in the Early 1950s
Featured on Dennis Gage’s My Classic Car; Episode 16, 2008
A Fine Example of a Rare Performance-Focused Roadster

Technical Specs

350 CID Chevrolet V-8 Engine
Single 4-Barrel Carburetor
Estimated 400 HP
Tremec 5-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Wilwood Disc Brakes
Torsion-Bar Front and Rear Suspension
Register to Bid

Formerly the Property of the Kurtis Family

This car is the result of a collaborative restoration by Frank Kurtis and his son Arlen. In the early 1980s, they purchased a Kurtis chassis and turned the rehabilitation effort into a family project. Although Frank passed away in 1987, Arlen and other dedicated family members went on to complete the decade-long project.

This 500S, the family’s personal vehicle, is comprised of new and old Kurtis parts and components – many acquired with Arlen’s desire to keep the car as authentic as possible – along with modern upgrades. The car was given a line-bored and balanced Chevrolet 350 small-block V-8 engine that puts out an estimated 400 bhp. Considering that the car weighs just over 2,300 lbs., this engine is exceptionally powerful. In a letter dated “December 3, 2003,” a copy of which accompanies the sale of the car, Arlen detailed how this 500S came together. He pointed out that his son, grandson, wife, and stepson assisted with the final assembly and painting, and noted, “I don’t think any other Kurtis has had that many Kurtis hands on it.”

This Kurtis 500S is also an aesthetically beautiful machine. Its lustrous red finish and aggressive 1950s styling strengthens its stance and pleases the eye. Since 2005, the Kurtis has attended the Quail Motorsports Gathering and participated in both the Quail Rally, the California Mille, and the Colorado Grand. The next owner will acquire a delightful sports car that blends history, mid-century design, and special provenance.