1958 Kellison-Bodied Corvette Found
A man after our own heart, Jim Kellison transformed his passion into a career building the sports cars of his dreams.
Jim Kellison was an accomplished body repair man and a US Air Force veteran when he started working in the then-new medium of fiberglass in the mid 1950s. In a small garage next to his home, he began working with steel tubing, wire mesh, and fiberglass to create what would become his first sports car design, the Kellison J1.
This gave birth to a long series of Kellison sports cars, some of which made use of Corvette chassis and drivetrains. This example, a Kellison J6, is effectively a rebodied 1958 Corvette. We found it for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles, California.
Kellison didn’t just focus on Corvettes, however. Body designs were made for several popular sports cars, and, for a time, the company even got involved in the early days of Formula Vee racing, producing some of the most attractive open-wheel designs of the era.
Kellison’s operations in Folsom, California grew and grew until 1970, when mounting demand and a run-in with the IRS caused him to step away from the car business. He ran a bookstore for several years before getting back into the car business and starting fresh with the Stallion, a Cobra replica, in the late 1970s.
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While the days of Kellison sports cars are far behind us, we can still appreciate his designs today, kept alive by a small but dedicated group of enthusiasts. While some may look at the Corvette shape and see perfection, we admire the drive of one man to give life to his own dream of the perfect sports car. Jim Kellison passed away after a battle with esophageal cancer in 2004. He was 72 years old.
The car seen here is in need of a total restoration, but is said to be mechanically sorted. The Kellison body looks to be in good shape overall and largely complete. When finished, this will be a beautiful example of a very rare but interesting footnote in Corvette and sports car history.