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.