1958 Kellison J-4RSOLD

Early American V8 Special. Eligible for Historic Racing. Has California Title.

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Engine Type: Chevy 327c.i. V8
Color:Brick Red / Black

Reference Number 14597

as of 10/25/2007

Overview
Car 1958 Kellison J-4R
VIN K58J40012 
Exterior / Interior Color      Red /      Black 
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Known History

 

1958 Kellison J4-R Coupe

s/n K58J40012

Brick Red with Black Interior

 

Jim Kellison, the creator of the Kellison marque, was a fighter pilot during the Korean War who went on to earn a degree in aircraft engineering at University of California at Los Angeles. Kellison spent over two years designing and testing before the first Kellison was offered to the public in 1957. Coupe and roadster bodies were available for wheelbase sizes 85-106 inches. All coupe bodies included firewall, inner fenderwells, door hinges, headlight receptacles, dashboards, and floor pans. Kits to build a car at home were offered, but the best examples were constructed by Kellison, with a Kellison specific square and round tube chassis, as this example is equipped. Mr. Kellison was competition focused and won 27 first place trophies before selling his personal J4-R to a Louisiana radio station owner.

 

``The perfect combination of performance and beauty``, the original Kellison sale brochure reads. The fiberglass bodies have a low, wide, slippery look with a roofline which measures just 39 inches high. This meant the car had considerably better aerodynamics than the rounder, more bulbous American production cars of the era. At a reported weight of just 1950 lbs, the Kellison was also very light, and this meant it had a fighting chance against the fully factory developed Testarossa Ferrari and Birdcage Maseratis of the era. Interestingly, these cars command values well into the multi-millions today, while the Kellison remains affordable.

 

This car is fitted with a Chevy Corvette derived 327c.i. V8 engine and a Saginaw 3-speed transmission with a solid rear axle. Accordingly, this car is very quick. Once ensconced, the seating position is quite comfortable. There is no known race history in this cars background, either in-period or in vintage format. Having just completed a 1,000 mile road rally around Northern California confirms it is a roadworthy car mechanically. We would recommend an intensive pre-season preparation be carried out should the new owner wish to go vintage racing.

 

Cosmetically, this car is very much a driver. The paint work is fitting to the value of the car at the time of its construction. There are a handful of minor flaws about the car, including one crack in the windshield. The engine bay and underside are clean and representative of the way American specials were built in-period.

 

While bodies produced by Devin and other manufactures were Ferrari knock-offs, the Kellison shape was an original design reflecting the American conviction that lower is better. Kellison`s aircraft engineering background helped him complete a lightweight car the was far more sophisticated than the standard homebuilt. Many of the kits provided to the general public were never completed by their owners. Because of this, the Kellison remains a rare and unusual piece which dates back to a period when young enthusiasts longed for an affordable high-performance GT with European specifications. The real value of this car is the entry it provides to exclusive venues for historic racing and rally events where it would compete with some of the worlds most exotic, expensive, and historically significant automobiles at less than one percent of the cost.