Three years at the Brickyard

Leaving the pits in 1958 practice.

My Appreciation for what was!

Sometimes race cars are purely functional machines, not the KK500 H.  Aesthetics were obviously important to Kurtis as he incorporated advanced aerodynamics as well as years ahead thinking in the frame and suspension design.  The gracefully rounded body flows from the "Schick Razor Blade" grille and exits through a beautiful and proportionally rounded tail fin.  This car was obviously the result of much forethought.  There is nothing sticking or hanging outside of the body to interfere with the perceived aerodynamics.

This graceful beauty should have been a winner, but fate said no once again to Johnny Thompson who qualified in the 22nd position at a speed of 142.908 in a field led by Dick Rathman at 145.974 MPH.  The revolutionary suspension obviously worked.  The 1958 race was marred by a first lap accident which involved thirteen cars, killing Pat O'Connor.  Thompson's yellow D-A car was involved to some small degree (records were minimal at best in those days), causing some steering damage, perhaps a bent tie rod.  This alignment problem made driving such a handful that Thompson retired the car after 52 laps.

The front suspension was a revolutionary new concept in 1958 and the car was reported on by every major magazine of the time.  The suspension was a one of a kind which never really had a chance to be fully debugged yet was abandoned by the new owner in 1959 and critically discussed in print for many years.

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Motor Life

1959 saw ownership of the KK500-H transfer from D-A Lubricants to Smokey Yunick and was entered as "Smokey's Reverse Torque".  One of Yunick's wild ideas which did not work any better.  Yunick also removed the independent front suspension and put a straight axle in the car, which is the way it currently is.  Duane Carter qualified at almost the exact same speed as Thompson the year before, 142.795 MPH, qualifying in the 12th spot.  Carter did however run all 200 laps and finished 7th at an average speed of 133.342 MPH.
1960 once again brought the KK500-H to Indy under new ownership.  Now owned by Ross Babcock and driven by Don Freeland, the car qualified only two MPH behind pole sitter Eddie Sachs, at a best yet speed of 144.352 MPH.  It ran a respectable 129 laps, going out with magneto problems and finishing 22nd.

These numbers confirm to me that Kurtis did not build a foul handling car at all, but one that was ahead of its time and never given the laps needed to prove itself.

To achieve maximum value and recognition, the car needs to be restored to its original 1958 race day condition.  This is the only proper way to finish this car, by paying tribute to its famous builder.  It is after all, a one of a kind!



Look at the current condition!