DOWN THE WORK­SHOP

1957 KUR­TIS 500 INDY ROAD­STER

Motor Sport News - - Historics -

Cur­rent owner: Stu­art Harper

It raced at Indy “It is a 1957 car and it was orig­i­nally named af­ter the spon­sor, Mir­ror Glaze, and then it had sev­eral other names. It raced at Monza in the Race of Two Worlds in 1957 and 1958 and it did the Indianapolis 500 five or six times. It had its best re­sult at Indy when it was five years old and it fin­ished sixth. But a lot of cars didn’t fin­ish.”

It wasn’t used much af­ter that “Af­ter that it did a bit of tyre test­ing and then I think it went into a mu­seum for a while. It went to Canada for a short time, but I don’t know if it was ever used there.”

It came to Europe 30 years ago “I think it came over from the US in 1983 when Brian Clas­sic im­ported it. I bought it from John Guy­att, who was prob­a­bly the first per­son to race it since it com­peted at Indy. I’ve had it for more than 10 years and it’s been rac­ing with the VSCC for the last 20 years. I went to Philip Is­land in Aus­tralia with it and took it to the Nur­bur­gring.”

Power is around 250bhp “It has an Of­fen­hauser en­gine and is sup­posed to be 252 cu­bic inches. But I think the en­gine we have is about 240, be­cause the pis­ton size is smaller than it should be. The orig­i­nal block was dam­aged and so we got a new block, but it had been sleeved down to a smaller size than orig­i­nally. It has about 250bhp. I’ve got another block at home, and I could bore it out to the proper size. All of those en­gines ran on methanol.”

It han­dles sur­pris­ingly well too “It’s a nice car and it han­dles well for a big car. It doesn’t only go around left-hand cor­ners. Be­cause it has a fairly long wheel­base, it doesn’t do any­thing sud­denly and you get a bit of warn­ing be­fore it breaks away. But it would be nicer to get some wider tyres on the back. On the ovals, they had a half tread on one side and a smooth tread on the other.”

His son Fred races the car now “We’ve had a lot of fun with it. I raced it orig­i­nally and then when I had my horse-rid­ing ac­ci­dent and broke my back, my son Fred took it over. He’s done well in it.”

Kur­tis com­petes in VSCC

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