America is a car culture. It was raised on the road, whether on family road trips to see relatives or through commerce that shuttled from city to city on trucks. The Car of the Week takes a look at one of those vehicles as a way to not only look back at automotive changes but the history that created them.
Published in the Tacoma Weekly
Back when the nation was emerging from World War II, out of the clouds came a sports car like no other.
The 1947 Kurtis Omohundro Comet holds the distinction of being America’s first post-war sports car, although some would later call it the first “sports custom” car because it was larger and more powerful that its pure “racing” counterparts across the pond. The American sports cars were both fast and styled. Its windshield frame and grill were cast from bronze and then chrome plated, for example.
Frank Kurtis, famous Indy 500 race car fabricator, and Paul Omohundro, owner of the drop hammer tooling Comet Co. of Los Angeles, designed and built this gem that would provide the birth of several common design features 10 years later, namely a streamlined body, no outside door handles and custom coachwork throughout. This car is a true one of one ever produced and completed in 1947. The car is powered by a 239-cubic-inch, flathead V8 to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission.
The car was designed to be mass-produced but the Ford Motor Co. would not supply the chassis on which the car was based. So the design died after the prototypes were perfected.
The Comet on display at LeMay’s lobby is on loan from Geoff Hacker, a Tampa collector.