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Frank Kurtis

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Frank Kurtis (?-February 1987) was an American racing car designer. He designed and built midget cars, quartermidgets, sports cars, sprint cars, Indy cars (champ cars), and Formula 1 cars. He was the founder of Kurtis-Kraft.

Kurtis began working with fabrication when he was hired by Willet Brown and Tommy Lee to rework Don Lee Racing Team's midget car bodies.

Kurtis started Kurtis-Kraft when he built his own midget car chassis in the late 1930s.

He built some very low glass-fibre bodied two-seaters sports cars under his own name in Glendale, California between 1949 and 1955. Ford (US) running gear was used. About 36 cars had been made when the licence was sold to Madman Muntz who built the Muntz Jet. In 1954 and 1955, road versions of his Indianapolis racers were offered.

Kurtis-Kraft created over 550 ready-to-run midget cars, and 600 kits. <ref name=NMARHoF>Biography at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame</ref> The Kurtis-Kraft chassis midget car featured a smaller version of the Offenhauser motor. The National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame describes the combination as "virtually unbeatable for over twenty years." <ref name=NMARHoF /> Kurtis-Kraft created 120 Indianapolis 500 cars, including five winners. <ref name=NMARHoF />

Kurtis sold his midget car business to Johnny Pawl in the late 1950s, and his quarter midget business to Ralph Potter in 1962. Kurtis died in February 1987.

Awards

References

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