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.


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, 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!