EXCLUSIVE: Kelmark GT Kit Car

Update – We’ve lowered the price on this Kelmart to $3,500 or best offer. Be sure to send me a message via the form below if you are interested in it!

As some of you likely know, I am helping to clear out a large collection of salvage and project vehicles from a private owner. You can read more about the collection here. As we move ahead with the process, I’ll be listing some of the more interesting cars individually, which will also help readers see more info about specific vehicles they may be interested in. Be sure to read the original post about the collection. This listing is for a very straight Kelmark GT kit car, which is incredibly intact with many NLA components still attached.

What Makes it Special? If you were to ask a Kelmark or Bradley enthusiast what their biggest challenge is, it would likely have to do with how hard it is to find spare parts. Many of the original components have simply disappeared, not helped by the fact that many of these kits were poorly assembled by DIYers. This example is largely complete, with impossible to find pieces like door glass, bumper trim, and interior pieces all still in place.

Body Condition: The body is quite straight, with faded graphics that still evoke plenty of period cool. The graphics are obviously faded, so a re-stickering will be necessary if you’re seeking perfection. The interior is where this car really shines, with gorgeous bucket seats, wood-veneer dash, and other trim components. The doors still close tightly and the interior is dry.

Mechanical Condition: There’s currently no engine in the Kelmark, but the seller has well over a dozen VW parts cars on site if you wish to purchase a roller with a good motor. The transmission is present, as seen below. The turbine wheels are the perfect look for a car like this, and the Kelmark will easily roll onto a trailer for transport. The VIN plate seems to indicate this was sold at least as a partially-assembled model from the Kelmark factory.

While these will never be hugely valuable cars, there is an enthusiastic following for them and this Kelmark is an excellent opportunity to simply do a light mechanical refresh and drive, or to set it aside for parts pillaging when your own project needs some other long-extinct trim bit. The seller will move the car for easy pick-up and it will be sold with a bill of sale.

  • Price: $3,500 OBO
  • Location: Northwest Georgia
  • Mileage: TMU
  • Title Status: Bill of sale only

Contact The Seller

Do you have a low mileage survivor parked in your garage, shed or barn? Does it need a new home? Please consider listing it here on Barn Finds!

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Comments

  1. ROARRR

    What do you charge for a listing?

  2. ChuckF 55chevy

    I always wanted one of these, but changed my mind when I finally sat in one, I’m 5-11, it had no seat, and my head was still firmly against the roof. My current fun 4 cyl go cart even has a convertible top.

    1
    • PRA4SNW Member

      Is that the MR2 Spyder? If so, what is the insignia on the bumper? It doesn’t look like the standard Toyota.
      I’m 6′ tall and really like the idea of a drop top mid-engine that is not expensive to buy and maintain like a Porsche.
      Do you like it? Decent power?

      1
      • Rich

        PRA4SNW That’s the badging for Japan, where it is called a Midship Runabout.

        1
      • ChuckF 55chevy

        Yes, 2000 MR2 Spyder, emblem says Midship Runabout, was a custom I found through Spyderchat.com. It has decent power, it’s been de-catted, many of the early ones had engine problems from what some think was catalytic converter material blow back. The seat isn’t comfortable, a lot of guys swap in Miata seats, and I’m going to try those also. I just drove it to Indiana and back and it did great passing the slow left lane drivers on the right, handles almost like a Porsche. They did a facelift in 2003, and they also came with a Sequential Manual tranny after 2002. The main drawback of the true manual is no cruise control. As usual, Wikipedia for the best info.

        2
      • PRA4SNW Member

        Perfect name.
        I’ve been researching all sorts of 2 seat convertibles since selling my Vette – want something fun that doesn’t break the bank – and this is on my radar.
        Not common at all and hardly ever see one. The only one I saw was a beat up daily driver.
        I read that the sequential manual has no automatic mode like many do, which would be nice if you didn’t feel like shifting while in traffic. I would stick with the true manual.
        I’ve visited spyderchat before, it’s bookmarked.
        Happy motoring!

        1
  3. motoring mo

    Will never be valuable. Why waste time sinking so much time and effort restoring this from the dead, when you KNOW before you begin you’ll end upside down financially. A parts car at best…

    3
  4. John B

    Every time that I see one of these Kelmark cars I am reminded of that magazine article many years ago featuring Bill Porterfield’s LS7 powered GT reaching 202mph and street legal. Quarter mile in the 9-second range at 135. Yikes!

    3
    • Frank Sumatra

      And how is the Widow Porterfield these days?

      4
      • leiniedude Member

        LOL!!!!!! Thanks Frank!

        2
      • John B

        Sorry fellas, I missed the joke here. Please explain.

      • Chuck Foster 55chevy

        Fast cars are dangerous, hence Widowmakers. Bill Porterfield would be talented to survive such a fast, light car.

        Hey PRA4SNW, I bought a Vette and sold the Spyder, I think my uncomfortable seat problem is the assthritis in my hip joints, it’s nice to have cruise control and a big trunk!

        1
      • John B

        I have to correct myself here…Bill’s car ran an all aluminum 467 ZL-1 with a Toronado automatic transmission. Don Sherman drove it during the test. The year was 1977. What were you driving in those days? I was a junior in high school, but the family’s ’64 Dart convertible with a 273 made me a star. So long ago…

        1
      • PRA4SNW Member

        @Chuck Foster: Good choice! Even though I’ve been thinking of many different cars, I’ll probably end up with another Vette. Affordable, fun, fully supported, easy to work on, etc.

        1
    • Martin

      It was extremely frightening to drive at those speeds and I think it only ever happened once. The road test is floating around on the net somewhere.

  5. Ike Onick

    May it rest in peace.

    1
  6. Wayne

    I was able to drive one of these with the SBC at Kelmark. It was a noisey, really neat ride!
    Jeff, you infer that it is on a VW floor pan. And the interior photos confirm that. What you don’t mention is if it is a swing axle VW or later model floor pan.

  7. Alex

    A guy at work found one of these Kelmarks and bought it for 200 bucks. It looks in better shape than the one in this article.

    3
  8. sluggo

    I am a fan of kit cars, but this is poorly marketed, at least cut it out of the bushes and wash the damn thing! But seems aggressively priced ahead of the marketplace IMHO, $1500 tops if it were marketed better maybe 2000.
    Unlike many commenters I have owned 3 kit cars, and currently have only 1. I know what it takes to build one.

    4
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      The problem is, sluggo, if I list it at $1,500, everyone will then try to bargain me down to $500. Very few of the “buyers” for any of the cars listed have started at anything approaching a reasonable price. So please, direct your gratitude towards the cheapskates who force sellers to start high enough that they won’t bother filling up my inbox with worthless offers.

      Try listing something for a fair price and see how many people just say “OK, deal.” Very, very few. Those are the folks I’m working with on sales at the moment, so hopefully, they can see through the asking price and make a reasonable offer.

      7
      • Kevin Harper

        Unfortunately I guess it works both ways. I look at the asking price and figure that the owner is too far from reality to even bother.
        And I like Kelmarks

        4
    • leiniedude Member

      I have to agree with Sluggo. Perhaps the biggest complaint on BF is about the presentation of a car. You should know better Jeff. Drag it out and clean her up. For $4500 it should have photos on the hoist and in a clean environment. Man. Put a fair price in the ad and go from there.

      1
      • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

        Unfortunately, I am not in a position to just run over there and drag every car out because someone on the internet feels it should be dragged out. The seller is elderly; I work full-time and post on Barn Finds as a side gig.

        Everyone tends to assume this is what I do for a living; hardly. It’s purely for fun and I’m enjoying helping the seller, who’s become a friend over the last several years.

        I still believe serious buyers will make serious inquiries and we’ll go from there. Can’t worry about every commenter’s gripes on the internet.

        9
  9. sluggo

    Fair enough Jeff, I feel your pain, tire kickers, time wasters and CL flakes abound. However, it WOULD present better as I said pulled from the bushes and washed, with better pictures.
    The big fear is what sort of condition the metal parts and pan are in having sat for so long, The pictures do not help that.
    If the body-donor has much issues then you are effectively selling the fiberglass body and not a car.
    In the real world, a decent kit car body is around $4500-$5000 new, and manuf.’s come and go,, So it IS marketable, I sold a Kit car project and for the longest time just tried selling the body kit, All the prospects said “If only you had a donor car to go with it!” So, I scoured CL, and found a great deal on a titled 280Z Datsun donor car. THEN the problem was no one wanted the kit car shell/body and only wanted the Z car.
    (Cant make anyone happy!)
    It FINALLY did sell, but was a year long process to secure a serious buyer. I dealt with all kinds of nuts in the interim,

    Jeff I have no idea what issues are on site and dealing with the estate, Been there and done that as well, And that DOES complicate things I can say from experience. All I can say is, dealing with selling off collections and stuff with an estate can be challenging and interesting. You have to wear many hats, Psychologist, Therapist, mediator, Sales man, and Judge-attorney to represent the fiduciary responsibilities of those you are trying to serve.
    Best of luck.

    4
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      sluggo, everything you said rings very true – I appreciate the thoughts and sympathetic ear. You definitely cannot please all the people, all the time.

      Kevin Harper, I have found that people who *really* want something will ring me up and make a fair offer. I don’t lose too much sleep over folks who think something is too expensive. If you want it badly enough, you’ll throw a number out there and see how the buyer responds. That’s how I own the projects that I do.

      If anyone out there wants to make an offer, I’d encourage you to just get in touch and talk it through with me. We’ll make headway very quickly if you’re serious.

      3
      • sluggo

        Jeff, thanks for the validation, But I will add, that IMHO there is a sweet spot for prices leaving in the cushion for haggling.
        But I have a firm rule that I WONT haggle over the internet.
        I tell people that if you are in my driveway and have cash, there is flexibility, but I wont do so emailing back and forth.
        But Kevin also has a point that prices TOO high will turn people off. What REALLY makes me angry is people who wont post or divulge a price and I wont bother with any seller who engages in that.
        Jeff I think your suggestion to call and work it out is a valid and reasonable approach. I feel you can also assess if the other party is reasonable to deal with.
        (On many online venues I dont post my address or phone number because there is some real nut cases out there, recently had some Nazi Biker email me on some HD parts and ranted about non whites and then wanted to trade medical marijuana, No quibbling on my price and just wanted my address to come visit. Needless to say I did NOT respond, I was tempted to direct him to a DEA agent of color).
        On a estate collection for collectible vintage Motorcycles I had a guy from Seattle who turned into a huge time waster. I think he was deranged. The lady I was working with for her fathers collection was difficult to work with, so I had to prequalify buyers and screen them before a showing. After many pictures, inventory lists and several calls I made clear he understood we had turned down multiple offers and I disclosed what those numbers were. IOW, Dont bother low balling, needs to be ABOVE these numbers to be considered.
        Roughly 2 weeks of part time work and he came back with a number LOWER than all previous offers. (I was quite angry!) He had a bizarre idea that because of the recession and some weird allusion to the consumer price index, commodities and inflation that 1950s Ariel Square 4s values had plummeted in his warped view.
        Since I was repping for someone else my first inclination was to tell him to go F himself, But could not. But it was infuriating. I know he went behind my back to try and cut a deal direct but that was amusing as the seller was beyond difficult so he didnt get far.
        We did eventually sell for a fair price, but it could have been better if I could have marketed them better but the limitation was the seller, not the marketplace.
        It takes VERY thick skin to sell vintage vehicles.

        4
  10. JimmyJ

    Throw em all on eBay with no reserve, sure u have to pay but you are selling for what someone will give you for it. And the best part is it’s gone no muss no fuss

    4
  11. ccrvtt

    I grew up in Okemos, Michigan, home of the Kelmark. I know, I know – a lot of people claim to be from Okemos, but I actually graduated from Okemos High School before they moved it to East Lansing (but that’s another story).

    The “factory” was about a mile from my mom’s house and I would pass by it on visits home. It was actually a remarkably small metal building that always had a few colorful Kelmark GTs littered about the parking lot. By small I mean like 4-bay garage small. It looked for all the world like they were on the brink of extinction every time I drove by – a true seat-of-the-pants grassroots operation.

    You gotta admire guys who dive in and do this kind of thing. I don’t know if they ever made any money out of the venture, but a lot of us of a certain age remember who they were.

    This car should be preserved as a tribute to Good Old American Gumption and Can Do Attitude.

    Anything less would be downright unpatriotic…

    3
  12. Clipper

    Cleaned up these Kelmarks can look pretty nice…this one apparently had a V8 installed.

    1
    • sluggo

      Upvote for the CCRTV Kelmark story! Love hearing first person accounts like that.
      —————————————–
      Clipper, that red car is stunning, I agree, That really is a nice ride and shows the potential. Thats what I like about kit cars and customs, If done RIGHT,, there are no rules and its up to you to make it nice. No limits on “Thats not a factory color,, or, That year never had a V8”
      —————————————-
      As to eBay and reserves, If you look at TOS and the Fee structure, Its not a great idea to sell a car starting at $1.00 and no reserve. The fees are typically $100 for a car. Set a REASONABLE reserve and if it goes over that then thats just a bonus. Vehicles are different than parts and different sales strategy as well as fees. I know many who list all their parts at $19.99 no reserve and some stay right there and some go up so the market place sets the bar, but their costs are covered at the starting price or reserve. But the fee structure is what you have to look at carefully.
      The other problem with ebay-Craigslist and other classifieds is you can list something one week and virtually zero interest, the moon and planets align and the following week there is a bidding war, and you have 4 serious buyers in line if the primary falls thru. I have yet to find a formula of optimum days, weeks or times. Used to be listing on Friday/Sat nights was good because drinking is often involved, Also Sunday afternoons evenings as people are winding down & on their computer or devices. Same with start/stop times.
      Those metrics seem to have gone away as more and more people are using mobile phones.
      When I first started on eBay in 1999, eBay would crash, and frequently saw language that if eBay crashed then item would be relisted. Also MOST people were on Dial up. My problem was it took FOREVER to load listings in the evenings. Limited bandwidth on my end and eBays servers. So I listed at 2 in the AM. They loaded faster! However less people sniped at the end.
      Now you have tools like Turbo lister, but that didnt exist back then. But point is, strategies have changed. If you list vehicles at a 1.00 and no reserve you will be in the red quickly. Why should a seller go backwards? The key is find a happy medium

      1
  13. Shaggin’ Wagon

    Good luck with the sale. I enjoy hearing all the selling strategies. I have only sold a few cars in the last couple of years. But lately, I like to price them right at what (I think) is fair market value. Then I don’t budge on price. It tends to get a lot of interest in the vehicle right off the bat. People will offer lower of course. I just say I think the price is fair, and call me in two weeks. If I’m wrong and the car is still here, we can talk then. Has been working for me, and feels pretty good to subtly tell the people who low ball anything, no matter what the price, to take a hike. Probably leaving some money on the table, But, I never really enjoy the weeks of back and forth trying to get an extra $300 out of a car.

    2
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Fair point, but in my experience, I’ve either wanted something badly enough that I pay the asking price or at least have a conversation to see where a bargaining session might go. I like to see someone interested enough to get on the phone and call me before I worry about them following up in two weeks.

      Another way to skin a cat, I suppose, but I enjoy seeing all the wannabes quake in their boots about actually having to put their money where their mouth is and get on the phone with another human being. So scary!

  14. ACZ

    The real fact is that other than the wheels and the body, there’s not much there. Plan on replacing everything VW because it’s all eaten up by now. I live in North Georgia and might be interested in it but not for the price being asked. There’s no meat left on the bone.

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      How many ways to I have to spell “or best offer” for people to not complain about the asking price?

      Would different languages help?

      And I really disagree that “there’s not much there.” Beautiful interior, all glass, all exterior trim – you know, all the stuff that is NLA. Factor in the early production and the likelihood this was sold as an “assembled” example by the factory and it’s a lot better than most of the crap on craigslist that was assembled (poorly) in someone’s garage.

      2

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