Joe Freeman -- 1952 Kurtis K500A-Chrysler

Joe Freeman of Boston, MA, finished 3rd in his 5424cc. Chrysler-powered 1952 Kurtis K500A.

2-25-06   Joe added this info about his car:

 "I'm the fat guy in our photo of the blue #25 1952 Kurtis 500A-Chrysler 331 Hemi that finished third at Monterey in group 2A last summer.  Obviously, the fact that the car has a  V-8 Hemi explains the large displacement.  This was the first of three Kurtis' built with Hemis -- developed by Chrysler in something called the A-311 Program, set up to get some serious horsepower out of the new engine.

 This car was tested at Indianapolis in the fall of 1952 with a 331 on fuel with Hilborn fuel injection, making about 400+ hp. It set a series of very fast lap times, fast enough to cause the A.A.A. to change their new rule allowing stock blocks up to 335. Chrysler was forced to downsize the Indy engines to 270 (same as the Offies).  The problem was that the smaller engines had to be revved high to get the power (up to 7,000 -- for a 1952 pushrod engine!) and didn't have the torque of the big four-bangers. Thus this car, driven by George Connor, ended up being first alternate in 1953 and Chrysler pulled out of Indy racing PDQ.

 The car was sold, had an Offy installed and finished eighth in 1953 after a good run with Paul Russo at the wheel. Another of the big engines was installed in a 500C and after setting some records at the new Chrysler proving grounds was sold to Firestone as a test car.  For the next several years that car turned hundreds of laps testing tires at the Speedway and it is now in their collection.

 There were only four 500As built, and three are in existence:  Bill Vukovich's winner, the Auto Shippers car and mine. They handle like a dream and can frighten just about anybody with their torque, but the Chrysler is a bit heavy and I have to watch it very carefully, particularly on old tires!"

Next:   Martin Swig -- 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C-2

Back to:  Jamie Cleary -- 1932 Studebaker Indy ? Charlie Shalvoy -- 1926 Bugatti T-39A

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