Kellison logo from a 1963 catalog. (source: kellisoncars).
The Kellison car company was founded in the 1950s by Jim Kellison. (11-25-32 to 9-30-04) He spent over two years of designing and testing before the first kellison was offered to the public in 1957.
These orginal early Kellison bodies were very flimsy so in the following year of 1958 more refinements were made to the cars. Kellison added inner fender panels firewalls dashboards assembled doors and other small improvements in order to make the final product easier to build and enjoy.
These early bodies where constructed using a chopper gun technique. This technique let the user work quickly while a strict quality control was inforced.
One of the first cars offered by Kellison was the J-4. It is a low slung two seat sports car. Avaliable as either a sport coupe or roadster. With a roof hight of only 39" it was a awesome sight in the late 1950s. These early cars came with a Chuck Manning designed box tube frame. It employed beam axles at both ends. A later updated X frame used corvette suspention at both ends was developed by the kellison company. You could purchase a original J-4 for only $640.00.
Kellison continued his refinements and later introduced the J-5 still a two seater but with a stretched wheelbase now up to 102" offering a little more room inside. The J-5 also had dual headlights and recessed taillight openings. The doors were lengthened 5" to make entering and exiting easier and the roof was raised one inch for more headroom. The J-5 was offered to the public at a price of only $700.00
Other kellison bodies were offered depending on what type of application they where to be used on. the J-3 was designed to fit on a MG or Austin Healy even a Volkswagen or Porsche frame and engine would work. The J-3 came only as a roadster and you could purchase an assembled one for only $520.00.
The J-2 was designed to fit on a Triumph or Renault chassis. It was offered as a coupe or a roadster. The coupe was designed with two roof humps for added headroon.
Even smaller was the J-1 and is was designed to fit on an Austin-Healy Sprite or Crosley frame. It too was offered as a coupe or a roadster.
For the race minded Kellison offered a competion body that was light weight and did not come with a floor, firewall or inner fender panels. It was made to use a chevrolet engine on a small wheelbase frame like the MG or the Austin-Healy.
Kellison last redesign of the J series was the J-6 Panther. This car was designed to bolt directly onto a 1953 to 1962 corvette chassis. The roof was again raised 2 1/2 inches for more headroom. The rear window was enlarged for better visibility and for the first time a trunk lid was added.
Kellison now began to add diferent manufactures to his line up. He offered the Byers SR-100 and he purchased the rights to the Clodhopper, Sand Piper and the dagger dune buggies. The sand piper was offered as either a roadster or a pickup on either a shortened or standard wheelbase. Also offered at this time was a complete line of race car bodies. He offered a rail type body for drag racing plus a bantam and Fiat bodies for the altered class. Another foray was into can-am racing with a body he purchased form Hans Adam. During the late 1960s kellison also brought out a line of formula vee race cars. Also sold were parts for Jaguar, corvettes and hardtops for Mgs, Austin-Healys plus a complete line of fiberglass replacement parts.
Some of Kellison last designs was a shark kit made to fit a VW floorpan and a GT-40 lookalike that was very well received by the public. The GT-40 was made to fit on the ever popular VW chassis but Kellison offered a corvair kit to boost up the power. Later on he developeded a box style tube frame that was able to carry a mid engine chevy or ford V-8 power.
The Kellison company as we know it lasted into the mid 1970s. Kellison later formed a new company called the Red Stallion. This company did business during the 1980s. His next car came as a Cobra knockoff called the Stallion which is believed to be his last car company.
(source: Kuda Bux, kellisoncars)
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