1. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  2. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  3. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  4. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  5. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  6. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  7. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  8. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  9. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  10. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  11. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  12. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  13. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  14. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  15. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  16. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  17. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  18. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  19. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  20. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  21. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  22. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  23. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  24. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  25. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  26. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  27. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  28. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  29. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  30. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  31. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  32. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  33. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  34. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  35. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  36. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  37. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  38. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

  39. 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster

Lot Number
30
1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster
Scottsdale Auction

ESTIMATE: $300,000 - $375,000
CHASSIS NO: KK500G-2
• Fifth Place finisher at 1957 Indianapolis 500 with Andy Linden
• “Smokey” Yunick’s first Indianapolis 500 entry (1958)
• Driven at Indy in 1958 by Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Paul Goldsmith
• AACA Senior First Place Award and Race Car Certification
• Multiple awards; appearances include 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed
• Great presence; offered in top operating and show condition
• Crowd pleaser with “Offy” power and onboard starter

255 cid Offenhauser DOHC inline four-cylinder racing engine, Hilborn fuel injection, “in and out” transmission, solid front and live rear axles, four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes; wheelbase: 98”


Established in Glendale, California prior to WW II, Frank Kurtis and his Kurtis Kraft works dominated American motorsports through the late 1950s/early 1960s, with a succession of midgets in assembled and kit forms, quarter-midgets, sprint cars, sports cars, Bonneville speed-record cars, and Championship cars for AAA/USAC track events including the Indianapolis 500. In particular, Frank Kurtis was the originator of the classic Indianapolis roadster, which first appeared in the late 1940s and replaced the front-drive cars prevalent during the 1930s and 1940s. Powerful in performance and presence, Kurtis’ burly roadsters proved dominant at Indianapolis and most other AAA/USAC-sanctioned American track races through much of the 1950s. While considered quite conventional in relation to contemporary European racing cars, Kurtis-Kraft roadsters were deceptively sophisticated, purpose-built machines for sustained high-speed, long-distance events. Typically featuring big “Offy” DOHC four-cylinder engines up front, rear-wheel drive, and torpedo-like bodies reminiscent of the best prewar Grand Prix cars from the continent, Kurtis’ Indy roadsters were tremendously effective where it counted – on the track, garnering five Indianapolis 500 victories during their heyday. With further developments led by A.J. Watson, these mighty beasts continued to rule the Speedway with few challengers through 1964.

By the late 1950s, Kurtis’ roadsters were developed and built to ‘KK 500G’ specification. Purposeful and tightly packaged, the 500G’s projectile-like body design reflected the latest thinking in aerodynamics, suggestive of the forward leaps made by the aircraft designers and manufacturers located nearby during the 1950s “Jet Age.” A radical “laydown” engine mounting system provided low hood height and a small frontal area with minimal air resistance, while a small hood scoop provided air delivery to the powerful fuel-injected Offenhauser racing engine, itself derived from Harry A. Miller’s ingenious and trendsetting designs. A low-cut racing windscreen afforded little protection from track debris and cut-down cockpit side panels left brave drivers shockingly close to the Firestone Speedway rear tires, while the heavily upholstered, built-in seat provided some measure of comfort during long races at speeds over 140 miles per hour.

According to experts, 14 examples of the Kurtis-Kraft 500G were built in all. Numbered 500G-2, this particular car was built new for team owner Lee Elkins, the self-made millionaire who headed the very successful McNamara Motor Express company headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Elkins, whose first racing car was a Kurtis-built midget he purchased in 1951, followed by numerous Kurtis sprint and championship cars, experienced the highs and lows of top-echelon motorsports, including a solid seventh-place finish in USAC sprint car standings with driver Andy Linden in 1956. For 1957, Elkins’ McNamara Trucking-sponsored team hit its stride, with third and fourth place finishes on the USAC Midwest Division circuit, with Linden garnering three victories. At the Speedway in 1957, Linden qualified 500G-2 in 12th position at 143.244 mph. Both driver and car went the distance, finishing a creditable fifth. The car was subsequently purchased by Henry “Smokey” Yunick from Daytona Beach, Florida, the daring ex-USAAF WW II combat pilot and owner of “The Best Damn Garage in Town,” whose racing prowess and tireless team management was already the stuff of racing legend. “Smokey’s” first championship car, this Kurtis, was refinished in his trademark black-and-gold “City of Daytona Beach” livery and driven by USAC stock-car ace Paul Goldsmith at the Speedway in 1958, where it qualified 16th at 142.744 mph. Despite a promising start, Goldsmith and the Kurtis were caught up in the wild 15-car crash on the first racing lap, where Jerry Unser used Goldsmith as a ramp to famously tumble end-over-end, catapulting over the turn-3 wall. Although Goldsmith's car was little damaged, it was sidelined. Yunick and the Kurtis returned to Indianapolis in 1959, but failed to qualify. Sold to another team for 1960, the car did not arrive at Indy and its front-line racing career was over.

During the 1960s, the Kurtis was raced in lower-level events and later used as a supermodified car. Eventually, it was acquired by noted Indianapolis-car collector Bob McConnell of Urbana, Ohio, and completely restored by Classic Craft Motorsports and Moore Motorsports. The results are impressive, with the car earning AACA Race Car certification, plus First Junior and Senior Awards. In addition to appearing at the Millers at Milwaukee event, KK500G-2 was also invited to, and driven up the hill at Lord March’s UK estate during the 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was also driven at Michigan International Speedway in 2006 and in 2007, it formed part of the featured Indianapolis Roadsters class at the 2007 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion on the famed Laguna Seca circuit near Monterey, California. The Kurtis was also exhibited on the lawn in the special Race Car class at the 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s. As offered, KK500G-2 is a true standout and crowd pleaser in its 1958 “Smokey” Yunick black-and-gold livery, appropriately enhanced by the autograph of driver Paul Goldsmith found underneath the hood. Offered in running order and continuing with great visual presence, this 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G-2 Indianapolis Roadster is equipped with an onboard starter for ease of operation. Saved for future generations to appreciate and enjoy, it marks an outstanding find for committed collectors of the finest American racing legends with documented Indianapolis 500 history and exceptional provenance.

1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indianapolis 500 Roadster
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