1948 Kurtis MidgetOffenhauser Midget
Year of manufacture1948
Frank P. Kurtis established himself as the most capable constructor of racing cars in the US following World War II, taking up where Harry A. Miller had left off. Kurtis’s cars were both beautiful and fast, and his Kurtis-Kraft company proved adaptable, producing midgets, sports cars, Indianapolis race cars, and more. Kurtis is perhaps best known for his Indy cars – he produced five winners of the Indianapolis 500 – however he also produced hundreds of midget racers that served as the steppingstone for many drivers on their way to the Brickyard.
Offered here is a gorgeous Kurtis-Offy midget that has been the subject of an extensive restoration by Joe Fiore. Kurtis-Kraft no. 0-248-48 has had a storied career, having been raced both in the United States and Australia. Its first owner was Howard Linne, a midget car team owner whose cars captured 69 USAC feature wins over the years. In 1962, the Kurtis passed to Paul Baines, who put USAC champion driver Bob Tattersall behind the wheel for the 1963 racing season. During this period, the Kurtis was sponsored by Mattoon Imperial Motors in Illinois, and the car wears this livery today. Perhaps the most successful period in this midget’s career, it captured several USAC wins and Tattersall emerged 8th overall at the end of the season.
It is understood that the Kurtis was then sent to Australia where it continued to be raced successfully by Tattersall, before being sold again in 1964. Its competition career largely in its past, the Kurtis spent time as a museum display before being entrusted to Joe Fiore for a stunning restoration back to its 1963 appearance. As part of this rejuvenation, the Offenhauser engine was restored by Mike Stryker.
In more recent years it has served as a showpiece, with a restoration that has garnered AACA Junior, Senior, and President’s Cup Awards. A fine example of the midgets that were once hugely popular on America’s short tracks, this Kurtis-Kraft exemplifies the era and presents stunningly after the restoration work that has been lavished upon it.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/0120.