Tag Archives: 500G

Bardahl Special – Kurtis Offenhauser 500G

Ole Bardahl was the embodiment of the American dream aged 20 he arrived in Seattle from Norway in 1922 with $32 in his pocket and unable to speak a word of English, by 39 he had become a millionaire building contractor and went on to found the Bardahl Oil Company in Ballard Seattle.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

From 1950 to 1959 Bardahl sponsored Offenhauser powered Kurtis cars started in every Indy 500, two third places from Sam Hanks in 1952 and 1953 were the teams best results in this period. In 1956 a Bardahl showed up with the unique Ferrari powered Kurtis for Giuseppe Farina but the car proved too slow.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

For reasons that have not been determined during the research for this blog for 1957 Bardahl had Kurtis build two left hand drive Offenhauser powered 500G’s,all the other ’57 Kurtis Indy cars were right hand drive so far as I have been able to determine the #16 was driven by Al Keller and the #19 seen here by Jack Turner. Al Keller started the ’57 Indy 500 from 8th on the grid but crashed on lap 75 and was classified 27th, while Jack Turner started 19th and classified 11th last car on the lead lap.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

The ’57 Bardahl Kurtis Offy was by no means the only left hooker Indy car the manufacturer built, regular readers will remember that the Ross Page Special I looked at a couple of weeks ago was also a left hand drive machine, but the question remains as to why so few left hookers were built at all when almost all the other vehicles that participated in the Indy 500 at the time featured either a central driving position or a right side driving position ? If you have any references for an answer please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

For the 1958 Indy 500 Al Keller, perhaps best known as the first driver of a foreign car, Jaguar, to win a NASCAR sanctioned race, Linden, in 1954, took over the car seen in today’s photographs taken by Geoffrey Horton at the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel By The Sea a couple of years ago. Renumbered #52 Al qualified 21st completed all 200 laps and was classified 11th as had the cars previous driver Jack Turner in 1957.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

For 1959 Bardahl returned to the 500 with a conventional right hand drive Kurtis for Paul Russo who finished 9th. Through the 1960’s Bardahl entered Kurtis, Watson and Eagle cars with a best result of 3rd for Bobby Unser who drove a Bardahl entered Lola in the 1969 Indy 500 which appears to have concluded the teams participation in “The greatest spectacle in racing”.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs which I have used in all of this months Indy 500 blogs, and to E.B. at The Nostalgia Forum for confirming today’s featured car was driven by Al Keller in the 1958 Indy 500.

Finally congratulations to Tony Kanaan for winning the 2013 edition of the Indy 500.

Thanks for joining me on this “Bardahl” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


16 Blocks of Classics ! – Carmel by the sea Concours d’Elegnce 2011

Here in the UK the Autumn is already closing in with days of rain. To cheer myself up with a hint of California sunshine I thought to share with you these fabulous photo’s from last month’s Carmel by the sea Concours d’Elegance kindly sent to me by Geoffrey Horton.

Allard J2R, Carmel BTS

I understand for the day of the event sixteen blocks in central Carmel are closed down and given over to that part of the motoring fraternity that is fanatical about presenting their cars built between 1945 and 1989 in better than new condition. First up a Cadillac powered 1955 Allard J2R.


When I first started reading ‘Motor Sport‘ in 1973 the car to have in touring car racing was the 3.0 litre / 183 cui BMW CSL which in full works Group 2 specification with ‘batmobile’ rear wing fairly wiped the hitherto dominant Ford Capri off the top place on the winners rostrum of the European Touring Car Championship. A #55 Jaegermeister sponsored 3.0 CSL looking very much like the car in Geoffrey’s photo, but without the 1974 IMSA GTO spec vented flared wheel arches, driven by Derek Bell and Harald Ertl, won the RAC Tourist Trophy on the 23rd Sept 1973.

Ferrari 250 GT Boano, Carmel BTS

I have already posted a blog about the unique 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano Convertible, that was declared the winner of this years Carmel Concours, so with best wishes for the Birthday boy most of you know from his posts on this blog as Jr Cracker here is a Ferrari 250 GT Boano chassis 0553 GT which has gone through several colour changes and engine changes but after a twenty plus year gap now has it’s original motor safely re-installed. Last sold in January 2008 for US$ 975.000.

Bardahl Special, Carmel BTS

The 1957 Indy 500 was won by Sam Hanks in the Epperly Belond Exhaust Special, Jack Turner driving the #19 Bardahl Special a Kurtis 500G started 19th and came in 11th last man to complete the full 200 laps.

Lola T70 Ford, Carmel BTS

I believe this wonderful Lola T70 Mk 2 is the only car to have ever to have won a Can Am race powered by a Ford V8, a 302 cui motor fitted with Westlake heads, which Dan Gurney used to take honours in the second ever Can Am race at Bridgehampton in 1966. John Surtees won the 1966 Can Am series in a similar, but Chevrolet powered, Lola T70 Mk 2.

Morgan 4-4, Carmel BTS

The vintage and history of this Morgan 4-4 is still a mystery to me but nice to see someone flying the motherlands flag in a swinging sixties style.

My thanks to Geoffrey for his wonderful photos, I hope you will join me in wishing the man behind GALPOT’s Ferrari Friday’s, Jr Cracker, a very Happy Birthday !

Thanks for joining me on this Jr Cracker birthday edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be taking a close look at a rare Aston Martin by Touring. Don’t forget to come back now !