A few weeks back, I did a small feature on a 1955 Kurtis KK500. You can read that here. Anyhow, that feature lead to email correspondence with a man named Jake Delhomme. Jake lives in Prescott Arizona, has no time for technology, and has owned a 1953 Kurtis 500S since the 1980’s.
“What you have to understand about these Kurtis cars is that they were designed with a singular purpose – to be fast around a race track. There was very little compromise for any other objectives. It’s not comfortable. It’s not quiet. And it’s not particularly good at anything else, but it’s so good at being quick that your brain has problems comprehending that you are driving an antique car.”
“I also own a 1965 Corvette track car that has been a race car since it left the dealer in 1964. The Kurtis handles better, brakes better, and is faster around just about any track because when it was designed and built (a decade earlier mind you) it wasn’t handicapped by the same concessions the Corvette had to give towards production.”
“You can write about the Kurtis all you want, but you will never truly comprehend it unless you drive it.”
Short of flying out to Arizona and car jacking Jake, I have no plausible prospects of driving a Kurtis… Even so, I sure do yearn to experience what Jake is preaching. So much so, that I decided to get on Youtube this morning and see if I could find any vintage footage of a Kurtis in action. I found plenty, but what really interested me was a casual ride-a-long in a 1952 500S that was posted a few years ago. Check it out
Second-generation Ford F-Series pickup trucks aren’t the most desirable vehicles from the 1950s, but they sure are pretty. At least in my book, because I love the bulged hood and wide fender design from the era. Well, if you’re in the market for one of these mid-1950s haulers, here’s your chance to own a 1955 F-100 previously owned by Patrick Swayze.
The truck was recently listed by Patrick’s wife, Lisa Niemi, on eBay, where it’s being auctioned off at no reserve. The F-100 is located at the Swayze Ranch in Sylmar, California, where Patrick and Lisa found it when they bought the property back in 1986.
“Patrick and I inherited this super-cool pickup when we bought our horse ranch in LA 35 yrs ago. We always intended to restore it but never got around to it. However, it did serve as an awesome backdrop in many photo sessions,” the ad reads, suggesting that the truck has been sitting ever since the couple purchased the ranch.
Needless to say, the F-100 is a proper yard find, showing a lot of surface rust and needing a great deal of TLC before it can hit the road again. But it appears to be complete inside and out and still has the original 239-cubic-inch (3.9-liter) V8 engine under the hood.
A 1955 Jam Handy film that shows the engineering properties of the new Chevrolet chassis. Features many stunts to exemplify the driving qualities of the cars. Original film is housed at the AACA Library & Research Center in Hershey, PA.
The 1955 Chevrolet is the right sized car for America. Don’t believe me? Then why does America keep buying cars that take up its footprint?
The size is perfect: It’s large enough to seat who you need to, six in a pinch, but small enough that you don’t lose the corners in the supermarket parking lot and start pranging curbs and carts. It’s so right that GM itself has continued to make vehicles of its size throughout the post-war era, and made bank off their backs: the Tri-Five era that beat Ford in the sales race two years out of three, the midsize Chevelle that helped democratize high-performance to a generation, the compact (and increasingly plush) Nova, then again in the late ’70s when the midsize line got downsized. To this day, Chevy still sells a hundred thousand of this size vehicle a year, though not in a format you’d expect.
Since then we have become friends with the new owner, Jiri Jirovec, and he has brought his Wildfire home to Pizen in the Czech Republic. I bet it’s the only Wildfire in that country!
I’ve Always Loved The Look of this Wildfire
Jiri has kept the car in its original Euroean barn-find condition. He bought it back in 2014 from someone who had brought it to Europe in the late 1980s, and it looks like a perfect barn-find from that era. To me, this Wildfire has some styling points that really made the car “pop” back when it was built and even now. These include:
1939 Lincoln Zephyr front and rear bumpers
1935 Ford Wire wheels (16 inch)
1953-1955 Corvette windscreen
Dashboard layout is perfect – large (not small) period gauges
Stylish Lincoln Zephyr outside door buttons (I’ve only seen this on one other Wildfire and all Allied sports cars of course)
Woodill appropriate rear seat (full back) with seat cushions as intended
The stance on the car is perfect – body is low and close to the wheels (maybe a bit too close) but it looks hot
Steering Wheel – large and flashy but I don’t recognize it. Any thoughts here gang
Chrysler and Philco announced that they had developed and produced the world’s first all-transistor car radio in the April 28, 1955, edition of the Wall Street Journal. Chrysler made the all-transistor car radio, Mopar model 914HR, available as an option in Fall 1955 for its new line of 1956 Chrysler and Imperial cars, which hit the showroom floor on October 21, 1955. The all-transistor radio was a $150 option.
Take in the lines of this 1955 Nash, and you’ll likely agree that it seems out-of-time, perhaps more modern than its year of construction would suggest. Indeed, it embodies the “long, low, lean” look that would become so popular by the middle of the 1960s. It’s subtle, tastefully trimmed, and, when compared to contemporary American sedans, a bit European-looking. That’s because it originated not in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but in Turin, Italy; its unique coachwork having been handcrafted by the artisans at Carrozzeria Pinin Farina
Many of the fiberglass sports cars of the 1950s were designed by individuals who later became established names in their field. Hugh Jorgensen, who designed the Victress S1A (along with Doc-Boyce Smith), is one such designer who went on to Detroit and made his career in styling. Noel Bangert, who designed three of his own cars, went on to Hollywood where he initially became a talent scout. Later as Noel’s career evolved, he brought forth movies as an executive producer such as The Exorcist.
Another designer of the day, Phillip Egan, actually made a name for himself as part of the Tucker design team before moving to small-scale projects. After the Tucker Corporation dissolved, Egan worked on several other automotive projects in the ’50s, including those with Kaiser and Sears, where he proposed styling changes to the Allstate car. It was around that time that Egan began working with the Replac Corporation to build a sports car and a kit with one common design.
Preston Tucker viewed failure as a necessary milestone on the road to success. A year after a jury found him not guilty of charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tucker was hard at work on a new automobile, courting potential investors in Brazil. Pneumonia, a complication of lung cancer, claimed his life before the car progressed beyond the design stage, but Rob Ida Concepts may soon be bringing the one-of-none Tucker Carioca to life.