Note: This is the second in a series of articles here at Forgotten Fiberglass that showcase a story called “The Glassmakers 1960” published in Sportscar Graphic in May-June 1960. In this 1960 article, Almquist, Devin, Kellison, LaDawri, and Victress were showcased. We have separated the full article into “five” more readable stories – one for each of the car marques discussed.
Click here to review all articles published in this series.
If only we had an article in 1960 that told us what fiberglass companies were in business and going strong…..
Wait! We do! This 12 page tome appeared in Sportscar Graphic in June 1960 and included two pages or more on each of the following cars: Devin, Kellison, LaDawri, Victress, and Almquist. And those were the “Big Fiber Guns” of fiberglass then, and it’s a very respectful review of each of these companies and what they had to offer.
I’m going to break this up into 5 separate articles with each one focusing on a specific fiberglass sports car company from this article. Today’s story, the second in the series, will focus on Kellison Sports Cars.
So sit back, grab a coffee, turn on some music, and let the fibers fly free…
Off we go gang!
The Glassmakers…1960: Kellison
Sportscar Graphic, May-June 1960
By Bob Rolofson
Photos by Rolofson, Bob D’Olivo and the Inman Co.
Want A Sportscar? Have Budget Problems? These Fiberglass Companies Have Economy-Minded Answers That Range From Bodies Fresh From The Mold To Completed Cars Ready For The Street Or Race Course
Kellison Engineering & Mfg. Co., 905 Sutter St., Folsom, Calif. is headed by Jim Kellison, ex-Korean fighter pilot and holder of the DFC. His 3 1/2 years in the Air Force, and studies as an aircraft engineer at UCLA are reflected in his J and K series fiberglass shells. They are low, squat, strong, and designed for competition and high-speed touring.
Using the same basic design, Kellison offers three roadster and two coupe versions, covering wheelbases from 85 to 106 inches. He has divided his pricing into a base body listing which includes the shell as it comes from the mold, and a complete body price which includes floor pan, inner wheel wells, reinforced-beaded fender and body openings and firewall, headlight receptacles, hood scoop, dash board, door jambs, hinge boxes, and driveshaft tunnel.
Colors are impregnated into the shells, with a choice of red, blue, white, and black. The J-2 roadster takes a 102-inch wheelbase. The base body price is $380, the complete body $500. The J-3, for 98-inch wheelbases, with one headrest lists at $400 and $520.
The K-2 uses a wheelbase from 86 to 88 inches, has no headrest, and lists at $365 and $485. The J-4 Grand Turismo Coupe fits a 98-inch wheelbase and lists at $365, and $605. The K-3 Turismo Coupe is for an 86- to 88-inch wheelbase, and lists at $390 and $570.
In addition to his shells, Kellison manufactures an exceptionally strong frame of .60-walled hot-rolled, seam-welded four-inch-diameter steel tubing, with main and upper struts of .40 two-inch tubing. Priced at $650, the frame comes complete with front axle, rear axle housing, rear axles, front and rear springs, steering and shock mounts, radiator, transmission and motor mounts, and front and rear roll bars.
For the economy-minded who can weld, Kellison sells complete plans for his frame for five dollars a set. Other accessories include grilles, brake scoops, body vents, plain and tinted windshields and fittings, side and rear glass, window roll-up mechanisms, latches, hinges, head and tail light assemblies, steering wheels, radiators, bumpers, and dash instruments.
Kellison had hit the streets with his first commercial model in ’57, and continued producing fantastic sports cars and other fiberglass bodied vehicles into the ’70s.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
Click on the Images Below to View Larger Pictures
Thanks for running this piece, as the Kellison Gran Tourisimo is my all time favorite fiberglass car. The Coupe bearing #905 was raced on the west coast by Andy Porterfield to my knowledge. The number was taken from Jim’s house address I’ve heard.
Any idea where this car is at today? It would be a fairly significant car in west coast road race history, as well as a pivitol piece of fiberglass car history. Hopefully it’s still with us and in good shape.
The kellison, the Cheeta and my Glasspar , I love the look of speed and beauty of these three cars .