The Kurtis Sport Car, One of 16 Produced

It’s Kurtis Sport Car serial number KB003, the actual car that appeared on the cover of the very first edition of the Motor Trend magazine way back in 1949, in a photo taken by Motor Trend founder Robert E. Petersen. More than 62 years ago, this car helped launch the storied automotive media brand.

The Kurtis Sport Car was a product of the astonishing explosion of automotive creativity that occurred in California after World War II. After enduring a grinding depression and a grueling war, Americans were ready to celebrate as the booming economy provided jobs and prosperity. They’d had enough of cars for hard times — the somber and sensible Depression-era sedans and coupes they’d nursed through the war years on old tires and rationed gas. California was where the party started. And Frank Kurtis, the son of a Croatian blacksmith, was at its epicenter.

The Kurtis’s combination of easy, American V-8 muscle and European-style chassis tuning must have seemed sensational back in 1949. Frank Kurtis had demonstrated a compelling formula for an all-American sports car: The Kurtis Sport Car was well-engineered, well-detailed, and well-built.

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