SOLD 07/22

1946 Kurtis-Kraft
Offenhauser-powered Midget

Bring a Trailer NO RESERVE auction in progress: Beautifully restored and incredibly cute DOHC Offenhauser-powered Kurtis-Kraft midget.

  • VIN05946
  • Exterior ColorBlack
  • Interior ColorBlack
  • MileageTMU
  • Engine98cui Offenhauser DOHC inline 4-Cyliner
  • Engine no.382
  • TransmissionDirect drive
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2629


Click the following link to see the Bring a Trailer NO RESERVE auction in progress:

1946 Kurtis-Kraft Offenhauser Midget Race Car

Chassis Number – 05946
Engine Number – 382
Exterior Color – Black with Gold numeric livery
Interior Color – Black
Engine Type – 110 cu. in. 4-cylinder DOHC Offenhauser
Gearbox – Single Forward Speed
Current Mileage – Race car (TMU)
Current Owner – Purchased in 1997

Marque and Model History

It’s hard to believe that Midget racing was only second in popularity to Indy-type Champ cars back in the late 1940s and 1950s. Races at this time were considered major motorsports events with high speed, chilling feats of daring, and the heart pounding sounds of high revving engines. Those hell-bent on competing at the higher levels of motorsports often cut their chops in Midget racing, proving their skills, and testing their courage. The product of legendary Indy 500 constructor Frank Kurtis, the Kurtis-Kraft Midget was produced for several years, supplying numerous racers with their cars. Designed and assembled at the Burbank, CA facility, Kurtis produced the same basic design with incremental improvements for many years. Considered among the best money could buy, these cars were built with the same level of sophistication and engineering as the more expensive Kurtis Indy 500 cars. With bodies hand-crafted from aluminum, state of the art suspension, and top of the line Offenhauser engines, the Kurtis-Kraft racers delivered all the punch and power behind the gritty ruckus of the period. Historian Jack C. Fox defied the diminutive moniker in his important book documenting the race history, calling them the “Mighty Midgets”.

History of this Car

This Kurtis-Kraft Offenhauser offers the next fortunate owner an opportunity to research the early racing and ownership history. Current history dates back 32 years with restoration documents from 1990. Purchased in 1997 by the current owner, a well-known Northern California multiple sports and race car collector and enthusiast, this Kurtis-Kraft Midget was the subject of a comprehensive restoration as documented by copies of receipts from Palm Motors, Daytona, FL. The restoration was performed for George Nuse, Norcross, GA, a former business partner in the revived Road Atlanta racetrack revival in the early 1990s and a well-known motorsports collector. Nuse, no stranger to top level collector cars including multiple vintage V12 Ferraris, Lola race cars, and other unique race cars, spared no expense on the restoration. Restoration receipts dated from 1990 total over $34,000.

Mechanical and cosmetic work of note include brakes and brake lines, new headers, new oil tank, new torsion bars, steering wheel, a new plexiglass windshield, paint and custom lettering with gold foil numbering, various engine work, assembly, including upholstery, chrome, tubes, and tires. The completed car was used primarily for display until sold to the current owner in 1997. The car has been on display at the current owner’s shop where it has been maintained by an in-house mechanic. Although the car is complete, it has served primarily as a display item and thus has not been started or operated while under current ownership.

General Overview

Beautifully finished and still retaining the impressive luster of a very high-quality restoration, the overall visual condition of this car is impressive throughout. Although some years have passed since the restoration was completed, the paint retains a beautiful gloss showing excellent detailing throughout the car, particularly impressive in gloss black. The chrome pieces are highly reflective with excellent finish and detail. The body integrity is excellent, with consistent shut lines and flush closure on the alloy hood, firmly clasped by the twin leather strapped against the bodywork. The open cockpit contours are surrounded by snap-fit black upholstery which fits snugly against the body lines. Surrounding the body are a series of suspension radius arms, bumper guards, an externally mounted brake lever and a manual fuel pump to pressurize fuel. Twin Riley race carburetor breathers exit the engine side panel on one side, while the opposite side displays a beautifully sculpted chrome plated header exhaust gathered into a single side pipe. A pair of Halibrand magnesium wheels are mounted with chrome plated knock offs and shod with period correct M&H Racemaster Midget tires, giving it a slightly raked stance. Finished with the racing livery number “3” in vintage gold foil with red edge lines, this Kurtis-Kraft Offy has a very authentic appearance supported by excellent finishes and attention to detail. Period details include finned alloy hydraulic drum brakes, chrome plated solid front axle, exposed steering rod, vintage seat belt, and vintage aircraft bomber instruments flanking a SW water temp gauge.

The interior is in excellent condition having been both thoughtfully and expertly refinished with correct materials and an accurately restored dashboard. Instruments are in very nice condition and the Kurtis-Kraft chassis tag is prominently displayed bearing the build number 05946. Fit, finish, and attention to detail continues to be evident even when inspecting the various details including the exposed Evans Denver steering box and a central gear selector linkage. A set of wide woven fabric seatbelts with alloy clasps are in place.

The engine compartment is beautifully composed in appearance and detail with all components, hardware, hoses, and lines correctly prepared as originally intended. Not only is the engine itself impressively restored, the engine compartment and surrounding accessories are exemplary in fit and finish with attention to authentic features, wiring, detailing, and excellent polish to the cast alloy components. A pair of rare Riley racing carburetors are mounted. These carbs are particularly desirable on the Offy engine as they are made from 356 heat treated aluminum with anodized housings and are very well-suited to the engine configuration. The crispness and clarity of the engine compartment finishes are quite impressive. The engine ID tag bears the number 382 riveted directly to the cam cover, which is numerically similar with engines sequenced for Kurtis-Kraft cars built during this period.

This is a rare opportunity to purchase a very correct, beautifully restored Kurtis-Kraft Offenhauser Midget, prepared with the finest in equipment and detailing. Rarely does one find such a nicely restored example of this exciting and dynamic period of motorsports racing.

This race car is sold on Bill of Sale only.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

Inquire About This Car

Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608