Saturday, May 17, 2014

Indy 500 - The Kurtis 500M


In 1955 Indy 500 body maker Frank Kurtis designed and built his own version of a sporty roadster. The Kurtis 500M was a soft-top convertible that, according to Popular Mechanics, would top out at 125 mph and purr like a kitten in traffic. Kurtis planned on producing the 500M in Glendale, California and offering it to the public at a price of $6000,but his dream never really flowered.

Kurtis produced 22 street legal cars between 1948 and 1949 and the design gradually transformed into the Madman Muntz-Jet, which sold from 1950-1954. Kurtis made another foray into the street-legal market in 1954, with 500KK, 500S, and 500M series, all based on a version of the successful Indy 500 Roadster chassis, still only 18 roadsters were ever produced.

Proof, I guess, that success on the track doesn't always translate into success on the street. Still, the 500M is something to look at.

2 comments:

Geoffrey Hacker said...

Gary...great article on the Kurtis 500M. Can you tell me what issue of Popular Mechanics this was in? I can't find it. I run a website called Forgotten Fiberglass and would like to share the source too. Thanks! Geoff Hacker, geoffrey@grhacker.com Forgotten Fiberglass

Gary Madden said...

I'll be on the lookout for the issue again, Geoffrey. I know it was 1954 or later, but that's not much help!