Friday, August 26, 2016

Beautiful Splinters:1958 Kellison J4

Jim Kellison, founder of Kellison Engineering, could be considered the Bob Dylan of kit cars. Taking a concept that was initially fringe and backyard and turning out countless bodies of work, Kellison made over 20 different models available in either shell or turn-key form. Find this 1958 Kellison J4 for sale in Centralia, WA for $5,500 via craigslist. Tip from BuickFan

Looking equal parts Shelby Daytona, Maserati 450S, and Lister Jaguar, the Kellison was actually pretty far removed from any of them. Commonly sold as body-only, the J4 could be adapted to a wide range of old 50's sedan frames. In the case that one would purchase a ready-to-go vehicle, Kellison would perform the assembly atop a custom frame with completed interior and custom luggage, which is a considerate disguise for an impossibly sized trunk.

Given the fact that this car is a branded as a 1958 yet comes with a coil sprung 9" Ford rear diff, we'd have to assume that this was an older body with a custom framed build up performed in the later 60's or beyond. The motor is claimed to be a Ford V8, but I'm not 100% convinced of that given the distributor is at the back and it definitely doesn't look like a Y-block. Any guesses?

This is a BYOI party. If you want an interior, you're going to have to furnish it yourself in the most complete sense possible. Any vision you have can be realized; you even have creative control over the transmission tunnel and pedal assembly. Interior in general goes dead last or never in most of these builds, however, I'd strongly recommend throwing some plywood over that spinning U-joint, lest you get your motoring scarf entangled.

See a kit car with more promise? email us here:

Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.


  1. I have to question how this was made? I worked in car prototyping for years and when ever you lay up a body you do a gel coat first. This looks like what we would call a chopper gun, shooting the resin and fibers. I wonder if someone got a hold of a mold and did their own body? Pretty easy fix, you could just brush on the gel coat and then sand it.
    I have always liked these especially the hardtop version.

  2. I kind of like the no gel coat look, it's sort of like an Eames chair. Make up a molded plywood interior to go with it.

  3. Some of these cars during the "Kit Kar Kraze" got the proportions right. To my eye this one is kool.

    For an experienced wrench with time and money this would be a nice project. Or very cool yard art.


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.