Kurtis Kraft was an American designer and builder of race cars. The company built midget cars, quartermidgets, sports cars, sprint cars, Bonneville cars, and USAC Championship cars. It was founded by Frank Kurtis (Franjo Kuretić) when he built his own midget car chassis in the late 1930s.
Kurtis built some very low fiberglass 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 their Indianapolis racers were offered.
Kurtis Kraft created over 550 ready-to-run midget cars, and 600 kits. 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."  Kurtis Kraft also created 120 Indianapolis 500 cars, including five winners.
Frank Kurtis was the first non-driver inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame (U.S.). Zeke Justice and Ed Justice of the Justice Brothers both worked at Kurtis-Kraft after World War II. Zeke Justice was the first employee at Kurtis-Kraft.
The FIA World Drivers' Championship included the Indianapolis 500 between 1950 and 1960, so many Kurtis Kraft cars are credited with competing in that championship. One Kurtis midget car was also entered in the 1959 Formula One United States Grand Prix driven by Rodger Ward. It was not designed for European-style road racing and with an undersized engine it circulated at the back of the field for 20 laps before retiring with clutch problems.
World Championship results
(Note: Race winners in bold)
- Biography at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame
- Hodges, David (1998). A-Z of Formula Racing Cars 1945–1990. Bay View books. p. 128. ISBN 1-901432-17-3.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kurtis racing cars.|