|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
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!"