Kellison J5R

1959 Kellison J5R Coupe

For sale at Vintage Motors of Sarasota | Sarasota, Florida

Photo - Vintage Motors Sarasota

Photo – Vintage Motors Sarasota

This thing doesn’t like it was designed in the 1950s, but it was. Jim Kellison founded the Kellison Car Company in the 1950s in California to produce fiberglass kit cars. The company was around into the 1960s and offered at least eight models during their existence.

While the J5 was the most produced model in the company’s history, the J5R variant is much rarer. The “R” denotes a lightweight body compared to the original. Not sure how you take a lightweight fiberglass body and make it lighter. Make it thinner? It is powered by a 4.6-liter Chevrolet V-8.

This example has been professionally restored and shown at the Amelia Island Concours. Between 350 and 400 J5s were built, all coupes. Can’t say I’ve ever seen one come up for sale… especially not this nice. It doesn’t even register as real and, frankly, reminds us of this. But it is pretty cool. And can be yours for $45,000. Click here for more info.

Ford Thunderbird Concept

1999 Ford Thunderbird Concept Car

For Sale at Vintage Motors of Sarasota | Sarasota, Florida

1999 Ford Thunderbird Concept Car

The Ford Thunderbird is one of America’s legendary sports cars. It started as a Corvette challenger that quickly grew soft while the Corvette stayed sporty. Ford tried to keep it relevant but by 1997 the model was killed off.

But only two years later Ford introduced a luxury roadster concept called the Thunderbird and it looked way better than the model it was going to replace. The car sported retro looks and would go on sale for the 2002 model year.

This is one of three concept Thunderbirds built by Ford. One of those was later re-bodied as a “Sports Roadster” (a sporty, topless version). One of the concepts is still owned by Ford. And this is the third – the only one in the wild. It was built around the chassis of a Lincoln LS and uses that donor car’s 3.9-liter V-8 (which is actually a Jaguar motor) making 252 horsepower. This car isn’t street legal – it doesn’t have windows or gauges and has a governor on the engine to keep speeds very low.

The return of the Thunderbird was short-lived. Between 2002 and 2005, only 67,518 were built. It was expensive and not sporty. It was a flop all around. But this is actually a really cool opportunity to obtain a piece of history related to one of America’s great cars. The price is $195,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold, Worldwide Auctioneers Auburn 2018, $25,300.

America’s First Post-War Sports Car

1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet

For sale at Vintage Motors of Sarasota | Sarasota, Florida

1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet

Frank Kurtis is an important name in the history of American sports cars. In the late-1930s he built his first midget dirt-track car. Just prior to WWII, he designed a car that would eventually go into (short-lived) production as the Davis Divan.

Kurtis Kraft would be he racing car business. He built five Indianapolis 500 winning cars and nearly 2,000 Kurtis Kraft cars would be built, 120 of which would actually compete in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. He even built a short run of sports cars for the road (and those were also produced as the Muntz Jet).

The car you see here is often billed as “America’s first Post-War sports car.” It was designed by Frank Kurtis and Paul Omohundro, a man who had worked for Kurtis fabricating race car bodies. The Comet was built around a 1940 Ford chassis and the two men planned to put the car into limited production on donor Ford chassis (it never happened).

The engine was a 1946 Mercury flathead V-8 making about 100 horsepower (it was swapped out years later for a 1949 engine). Omohundro was able to build a lightweight aluminium body that made the car capable of over 100 mph. The car bounced around between owners, garnering little use until it was parked in 1986 and forgotten.

When it was finally rediscovered, a restoration was undertaken and completed in 2007. It has been shown and won awards at multiple prestigious concours’ and while its claim of America’s “first Post-War sports car” can be disputed, it is considered the first documented American “coachbuilt car after the war.”

This isn’t a car that you can find a duplicate of – as it was the only one built. It’s also in the best shape it has ever been in. You can buy it from one of America’s coolest car dealerships in Sarasota, Florida for $390,000. Click here for more info.