Don Blenderman: 1955 Murphy Kurtis 500SX

Frank Kurtis, the highly successful Indianapolis car constructor, built four Kurtis 500SX sports racing cars at his Kurtis Kraft facilities in Glendale, California. Each car was unique.
This is chassis number 3 (8 55 SX3) commissioned by Culver City Buick dealer Bill Murphy. Murphy had owned and raced two earlier Kurtis 500S sports cars, but this car was to give him the most success. In two years of competition, the Murphy Kurtis 500SX achieved an astonishing 18 Class victories and 9 Overall wins, in 31 starts against America’s and Europe’s best professional drivers. It competed in the Del Monte Trophy feature race at the 1956 Pebble Beach Road Races. Indy winner Sam Hanks provided race support for the big Kurtis until Murphy retired in 1957. Subsequently, the car was raced by several guest drivers including Bill Pollack and Chuck Daigh.

The Murphy Kurtis 500SX retains its original Holborn-Injected Buick Nailhead engine, Jaguar 4-speed transmission and Halibrand differential. The truss-type frame uses solid axles, front and rear, that are sprung by a transverse torsion bar system developed by Kurtis for his Indy car chassis. The full fendered alloy body is substantially original. A true “time capsule” race car, demonstrating the rapid professional evolution of locally-built Specials, during the first five years of sports car racing in California.

The car sat at Murphy’s dealership for 20 years until it was purchased by Rich Siefried. Siefried restored it. In 1980 it won its Class and the Sears Craftsman Trophy at the Monterey Historics and the Pebble Beach Cup at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 

 

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