Lot 110

Monterey 2023

1952 Kurtis Kraft 4000 “Bowes Seal Fast" Special

Offered From The Terence E. Adderley Collection


$112,000 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
Engine No.
Bill of Sale Only
  • Offered from the Terence E. Adderley Collection
  • Finished 5th overall at the 1952 Indianapolis 500; driven by Art Cross, recipient of the Speedway’s first-ever Rookie of the Year award
  • Completely restored during the 1990s; AACA-certified competition race vehicle
  • Class-winner at the 1996 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and winner of the Tony Hulman Memorial Cup
  • One of approximately 15 built; a rare and correct example of Frank Kurtis’s dirt-track and Indy car

Legendary racecar builder Frank Kurtis needs little introduction; suffice it to say that, if you were searching for a competitive sprint, midget, or Indy car chassis in the years following World War II, Kurtis was near the top of your list of constructors—and the Kurtis Kraft 4000 ably demonstrates why. Introduced in 1951, the 4000 was equally comfortable on the bricks at Indianapolis and the dirt tracks of the AAA championship circuit. Up to 15 are believed to have been built, and the attractive styling and workhorse abilities gave the model impressive longevity in the fast-evolving world of racing.

Chassis 346 became part of Indianapolis 500 history when it debuted at the storied race in May 1952 as the Bowes Seal Fast Special, driven by the soon-to-be-well-known Art Cross. After qualifying 20th at a speed of 135.288 mph, Cross climbed through the field to finish a remarkable 5th place, earning him the Speedway’s very first Rookie of the Year honors. This achievement was detailed in the October 1952 issue of Auto Sport Review, a copy of which is on file.

The car continued to be driven in competition for close to 10 years, being sponsored for a long time by owner Ray Brady. In the early 1990s, owner Bill Chapin treated it to substantial work by Offenhauser expert Ken Hickey, who rebuilt the gearbox and the powerful methanol-fueled engine. Its next owner, who acquired the car in 1992, entrusted its complete restoration to Bob Willey, son of an original Kurtis Kraft distributor. Willey’s refurbished chassis and rebuilt original body complemented Hickey’s exacting drivetrain work and resulted in a powerfully running, correctly presented 4000, complete with 1952 Bowes Seal Fast Special livery.

The chassis’ rarity and the quality of restoration soon drew praise from the finest institutions in the collector car niche. It took First in Class at the 1996 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it also won the Tony Hulman Memorial Cup (awarded by Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the Best Open-wheel Racecar). The car has also participated in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, as well as the vintage pre-race heat at the modern Indianapolis 500. It is further recognized as an AACA-certified competition race vehicle.

Acquired by the respected Adderley collection in 2015, the Bowes Seal Fast Special is accompanied by an external aircraft starter and a battery cart; Art Cross’ original racing helmet (sourced directly from the Indy Hall of Famer, as per a letter from the Cross family on file); and a thick file of documentation that includes restoration photos and a complete race record. A fine piece of racing history, this Kurtis Kraft 4000 offers great potential for both continued display and thrilling exhibition events.