Firestone Test Car

Name: Firestone Test Car

Year Built: 1954

Livery Year: 1954

Livery Year Driver: Sam Hanks, Pat O’Connor, and Rodger Ward

Sponsor: Firestone Tire and Rubber Company

Chassis: Kurtis KK500C

Engine: Chrysler FirePower

This 1954 Kurtis-Kraft 500C “roadster” completed thousands upon thousands of miles at speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but never a single lap in competition. After contracting with various teams over the years for its tire-testing program, the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company decided for 1954 to order a chassis directly from Kurtis-Kraft of Glendale California. Instead of using a standard Offenhauser engine, an arrangement was made with the Chrysler Corporation to use Chrysler’s new 331-cubic-inch “FirePower” V8 “stock block” engines. It is believed that three were available and that Chrysler engineers would make the “swap” whenever it was time for a fresh engine. The fact that the engine size was too large for eligibility in the Indianapolis 500 and other championship events did not matter since the powerplants were used only for the tire tests. Drivers of this car included Sam Hanks, Pat O’Connor, and Rodger Ward.


Wm. and Amy LaDow

In honor of Raymond Nichels