Lot 23

2018   |   Amelia Island Auctions 2018

1954 Kurtis 500S

SOLD $112,750


$125,000 - $175,000| Without Reserve



Car Highlights

One of Approximately 26 Examples Built
Built by Company Principal Frank Kurtis and His Son Arlen Kurtis for Family Use
Featured on Dennis Gage’s My Classic Car in 2008
Displayed at the 2005 Quail Motorsports Gathering, and Campaigned at the 2011 California Mille and the Colorado Grand
Documented with Handwritten Letter by Arlen Kurtis Describing Build Process

Technical Specs

350 CID Chevrolet V-8 Engine
Three 2-Barrel Carburetors
Estimated 400 BHP
5-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
Front and Rear Torsion-Bar Suspension
Register to Bid

Frank Kurtis’ independently designed and built cars enjoyed a legendary run during the 1950s, winning the Indianapolis 500 five times and dominating SCCA circuits. In the early 1980s, a collector in Oregon sold Frank Kurtis and his son Arlen a disassembled 1954 500S chassis so that they could rebuild and restore it. As Arlen explains in a handwritten letter in the car’s file, he continued to rebuild chassis 024 after his father passed in 1987, enlisting his own son and stepson to help with the family project. While the rolling chassis was rebuilt using the original 500S frame, a majority of the running gear was new, including the quick-change rear end, Halibrand magnesium wheels, GM steering components, and Wilwood disc brakes. The coachwork is mostly aluminum, with steel doors and fenders complementing a tail formed from fiberglass.

The Kurtis family enjoyed the 500S for several years and exhibited it, then sold it in 2003 to Bill Hair. By 2005, the car had been acquired by esteemed collector Roger Morrison; he presented it at the 2005 edition of The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering and ran it in The Quail Rally. Six years later, Doug Weitman acquired the Kurtis from Mr. Morrison, and he entered it in the California Mille and the Colorado Grand before selling the car to the current owner in 2014.

With its notable provenance, this remarkable 500S would make an important acquisition for any enthusiast of American sports cars.