- Written by webmin
Many times, vintage racing cars go up for sale with little or no documentable history. Not this time. At its sophomore sale in Monterey, Mecum will present the restored Springfield Welding Smith’s Special, in its livery as raced by then-New Jersey resident Art Cross in the 1953 Indianapolis 500. For finishing second to Bill Vukovich, and driving the full distance without relief in fiery temperatures that caused driver Carl Scarborough to die from heat exhaustion, Cross received the speedway’s first-ever Rookie of the Year Award.
This car, a 1952 Kurtis-Kraft 4000 with a 270 Offy, is famous for a lot more than that. It was first built by Kurtis for owners Bessie Lee and Ben Paoli – they later married – who put Chuck Stevenson in the seat and got the legendary Clay Smith to serve as chief mechanic. Stevenson won the 1952 AAA national championship in it, making Lee the first woman to co-own a title-winning car, even though she was barred, as a female, from entering the pits at Indy. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s longtime chairwoman, Mari Hulman George, later owned the car. Just golden.