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Ayer shop brings Kurtis, Bocar to Amelia

Posted by Peter Bourassa  March 14, 2010 12:08 PM

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stiletto-bocar-1959.jpg

(Peter Bourassa for Boston.com)

This 1959 Bocar Stiletto will be shown at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.

A Concours d'Elegance is generally a show at which cars are judged and awarded based on how well they conform to pre-determined standards. A race track is generally a noisy, often dusty venue at which cars are tested to their limits and are constantly changing for myriad reasons. They are not similar car experiences. However, race cars are often invited to Concours events to add noise and color.

KTR European Motorsports, a premier vintage auto racing support facility located in Ayer, brought two cars to the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance today: a 1953 Kurtis 500 roadster and a flame red 1959 Bocar Stiletto racer. Both are frequently used by their owner, Dudley Cunningham, and since they're part of an exhibit and won't be judged, they require little preparation for the trip.

Bob Carnes was a fighter pilot who built fiberglass reinforced chassis for his kit cars. His Stiletto resembles a jet plane and the fiberglass body is bonded to the purpose-built tube frame. Equipped with a supercharged Chevy 283 V-8 and four-speed transmission, this car was competitive in the hands of brave drivers. Dudley Cunningham, its current owner and driver, and Chris Cassidy, who prepared the car at KTR, have assiduously maintained the originality of this important vehicle.

1953-kurtis-500.jpg

(Peter Bourassa for Boston.com)

KTR is also showing this 1953 Kurtis 500.

Following the 1953 Corvette's lead, the Devon, Bocar, and Kellison companies all introduced "kit" cars that allowed enthusiasts with an engineering bent to build their own cars with running gear often found in salvage yards. As better quality running gear became available, the cars were upgraded by their owners and as a result, no two were the same.

The 1953 Kurtis 500 originated from two manufacturers. The chassis was designed and built by Frank Kurtis that year, but the body was designed by Dick Jones in Colorado and wasn't completed until 1959. By then it was equipped with a 283-cubic-inch Chevy Corvette V-8 and a four speed transmission. The Kurtis is reminiscent of the early Ferrari Barchetta, also of the early fifties.

It's part of the "Forgotten Fiberglass" exhibit of early kit and small manufacturer cars, one of many rare cars on Amelia Island.

Peter Bourassa runs MMRsite.com, a classic car enthusiast forum and marketplace.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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