Midgets have been around for many decades in many different forms. But unlike other types of race cars, Midgets were actually factory produced following World War II. One of the more well known versions of these factory produced race cars was the classic Kurtis Kraft model. The KK, as it was called, was produced in California and usually carried the potent Offenhouser engine. As you might guess, factory production race cars didn’t remain that way for very long.
In this, the second installment of Those Were the Days, we’re going to take a look inside a 1951 KK Midget. Like all KK’s this one weighed in at roughly 900 pounds with an 80-inch wheelbase. The little factory car’s initial modifications began at the hands of George Shilala during the ’50s. During its career, numerous accidents, as were typical of the day, led to replacement of the nose, front axle, steering, hood, and suspension. Beyond repairing damaged parts, subsequent owners of the car also performed their own modifications, including swapping the original Offy to a Ford V860 powerplant. Interestingly, thanks to the design of the car, a motor swap could be performed in a matter of minutes.
KKs were tough little haulers and many lasted for decades, far longer than the more-fragile racing machines of today. Whether on dirt or pavement, this car was state-of-the-art during its successful career. And it certainly didn’t hurt that for a part of its tenure, it had superstar Open Wheel drivers like Jimmy Bryan and Johnny Parsons behind the wheel. Over the years, this school bus yellow Midget collected an impressive number of wins with a variety of drivers. The car has been owned by Ohio collector Jim Welty for almost two decades now. He enjoys displaying the car in Midwest vintage events, so if you live in that area of the country there’s an odds on chance you can see this car firsthand. For the rest of us, enjoy this up close look.