Wheel Tramp of the Brickyard

If at the Brickyard for the 1954 running of the Indy 500, you might have noticed two-thirds of the race cars lacked leaf or coil suspensions. Instead, most racers ran on a front beam torsion suspension frame designed and built by Frank Kurtis.

A California high school dropout, Frank Kurtis worked in a local body shop and took night classes in mechanical drawing. Whether we label him a flunkie or an automobile designer, Kurtis propelled racing forward for anyone assembling his chassis kit.

Geoffrey R. Hacker, who writes the website “Forgotten Fiberglass,” posted his commentary on a July 1954 article in Hot Rod magazine. There are enough pictures to build the Kurtis 500 KK chassis.

Just don’t expect to keep all four tires on the ground at the same time with this 96-inch stiff-beam, Indy-tested, wheel hopping frame.