Kurtis Muntz Roadster. (image credits: Wouter Melissen / Rob Clements).
One of the most famous American racing car constructors of the period before and after the Second World War is Frank Kurtis. Although he is best remembered for his all-conquering midget and Indy racers, Kurtis produced a series of very successful road racers bearing his name as well.
The first of these was the Kurtis Sports Car or KSC, which was introduced in 1949. It was available in various stages of completion, with prices ranging from $1,495 for a kit to $4,700 for a fully running example. It was not a full blood racer and on the road it was eclipsed by the cheaper Jaguar XK120. After only around 20 examples were constructed, Kurtis introduced the 500S that proved to be a very potent racer.
This was not the end of the line for the KSC; Earl 'Madman' Muntz had made quite a fortune selling radios, televisions and related electronics, and considered the automobile business next. He purchased the production rights from Kurtis and turned the KSC into a proper road car. The biggest change was to lengthen the chassis by 12 inches to allow for rear seats. To cut production costs the aluminum used for the Kurtis bodies was replaced by the much cheaper, but heavier steel. Power initially was supplied by a Cadillac V8, but soon after production started it was replaced by a flathead Lincoln V8. To shave additional weight, fiberglass fenders were fitted on some of the last cars.
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