by Ed Justice Jr. of Los Angeles, CA
A native of Crested Butte, Colorado, the eldest of eight children born to Croatian immigrants. Frank Kurtis and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1922. Kurtis began doing custom coachworks at 14. In 1925 Kurtis witness Ralph DePalma race at the Beverly Hills board track and was bitten by the racing bug. Kurtis continued to hone his skills with metal work by building custom bodies for passenger cars and repairing race cars.
In 1938 Kurtis opened his own shop in Los Angeles and over the next 25 years became the greatest designer and builder of racing cars the world had ever seen. Kurtis earned 8 Indy 500 poles, 5 Indy 500 wins and hundreds of wins with midgets, sports cars, quarter midgets, three-quarter midgets, dragsters, Bonneville cars, sprint cars & go-karts.