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Lot 211

1955 Kurtis 500 Swallow Coupe by Allied

  • Chassis no. KK 43

Sold for $220,000

257 bhp, 317 cu. in. Lincoln Y-block eight-cylinder, five-speed manual transmission, front and rear solid axels with torsion bar suspension, and front disc and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 99.5 in.

  • Reportedly built for the 1955 Carrera Panamericana
  • Equipped from new with this Cisitalia-inspired body
  • A thrilling modern rally racer

The 1948 Cisitalia 202 by Pinin Farina is widely recognized as having set the styling mold for just about every other Italian sports car of its era, and it is so influential that one is kept in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Even in its day it was recognized as something special, to the point where it was copied not only by Italian coachbuilders and manufacturers but also Southern California customizers.

Bill Burke, the builder of a famous “belly tanker” and an employee of “Pete” Petersen, made a mold off of a 202 that had been purchased by his boss. With Mickey Thompson and Roy Kinch, he formed the Atlas Company, which later became known as Allied, and they began building fiberglass copies of the Cisitalia’s styling for various American chassis and drivetrains.

The car offered here is one of two Kurtis Kraft 500 racing chassis known to have been fitted with Allied bodies; in this case, the car is fitted with the short-wheelbase Swallow model. It was equipped from new with a potent Lincoln V-8 engine and three-speed manual transmission, and it was reportedly originally intended for the 1955 Carrera Panamericanas, but the event was unfortunately cancelled.

In 1990, the car was prepared for the modern-day incarnation of the Carrera Panamericana by Phil Denny, of PRD Engineering in Sonoma, California, and it was driven in that year’s race by Jeffrey Pattinson. It has continued to be vintage-raced by its owners since, including in the 2007 and 2008 Carrera Panamericana, as well as in the 2009 Chihuahua Express. Today, it is built as a full vintage racing car, with a complete roll cage, racing seats, a removable steering wheel, a fuel cell, an oil pressure warning light, and a late model Tilton pedal and master cylinders for its front disc brakes. The Lincoln Y-block engine was rebuilt by JMS Racing Engines, of El Monte, California, and it was reportedly dyno-tested at 257 brake horsepower and 308 foot-pounds of torque.

The car looks as if it has been driven, but charmingly so, with just enough road wear to its paint to indicate that it is, indeed, fully and robustly functional. It was featured in the June 2008 issue of Hot Rod magazine, which is a testament to the continued appeal of this thrilling vintage racer, as it combines Italian styling with California ingenuity and American rip-roaring power.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more