Fresh Motor: 1976 Bradley GT

A Kelmark or a Bradley? That’s the question on my mind, especially after getting involved with the sale of a very solid Kelmark GT from the large Georgia collection I’m helping to market. This Bradley GT is a claimed survivor-grade example, fresh out of long-term ownership by Air Force colonel. My preference will always be for the Dino-like Kelmark, but this Bradley here on eBay looks like one of the better examples out there. There’s nine bids to $1K with the reserve unmet. 

The seller calls it an “…original survivor car, not a rebuild,” which I take to mean it is unrestored. What’s always more intriguing about these kit cars is who built it. I figured out recently after viewing the VIN plate of the Kelmark GT that it likely came mostly assembled from the factory, meaning it was likely screwed together a bit better than the home-based DIYer builds. That being said, if the Air Force colonel was the one that put it together, there’s a good chance it was built to a high standard – based on my experiences with ex-Military enthusiasts.

The interior is typically a weak spot, as they can look ratty without much effort. This one is holding up fairly well, even if the leather buckets look a bit baggy. One thing I’ll never understand is how those seats are anything approaching comfortable; while bearing some resemblance to valuable Scheel buckets of the same era, they mainly look like they were built for contortionists. An original center console will also be included, although it isn’t shown here.

The engine is a bright spot, as it’s a freshly rebuilt “….1600 dual port that was just installed by a professional VW mechanic and properly broken in,” according to the seller. After having just seen a wicked Meyers Manx-style buggy on my local roads yesterday (by the way, we have a Howell Craft for sale out of Part II of the Georgia collection as well), I’m more intrigued by these VW-based kit cars than ever before – good noise, great looks and tons of fun for not much money. What more do you need?

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Comments

  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    Like you, Jeff, I’m more a fan of the Kelmark (and an even bigger fan of the original Fiberfab Aztec), but this Bradley looks pretty nice.

    FYI, the sagging upholstery on the ‘glass bucket seats came standard. I used to use them in a variety of builds I did back in the 1970s (including my previously mentioned 1958 Bianchina with the Abarth 695SS out back) and they were really cool looking, yet extremely uncomfortable when sat in for any length of time (more than, say, 5 minutes).

    Kit cars from the ’70s and ’80s seem to be undergoing a significant revival in interest, and this could be a good option for someone wanting to own a driver.

    It’ll be interesting to see what it goes for…

    Like 3
  2. KawiVulc

    “they can look ratty without much effort.” For some reason this amuses me. These fascinated me as a kid. Admittedly, until I was 18 on the Left Coast in the Navy I’d never even seen a 911 in the flesh and when I finally did it was, of all colors, brown. So what did I know. Plenty of muscle around Hanover, PA in the late 70’s but about as exotic as it got was the occasional Opel GT so these looked pretty cool, at least in the ads (seriously… can’t remember if I ever actually saw one on the road). This one looks like a fun car to own although it’d be a ways down the list if space & funds were unlimited.

    Like 1
  3. Coventrycat

    Could be worse things to drive, I was hot for these things in high school because old Beetles were everywhere and J.C.Whitney was yesterday’s car accessories porn magazine.

    Like 8
  4. Rex Kahrs Member

    OK, I’ll just say it: these kit cars are dorky. Basically it’s a pointy hot-tub sitting on a Beetle chassis. I’m much rather have the Beetle this goofy thing was built on. Or a hot tub. Anything but this piece of plastic crap. Was that too harsh?

    Like 4
  5. F.A.G.

    I took my drivers test in one just like this but blue in color. My moms car.

    Like 2
  6. Gerry Member

    Hmm professional VW mechanic. That engine will cook itself soon enough without all of the colon tins in place not to mention the aftermarket fan shroud and cylinder tins both known for not being good choices. the old saying chrome don’t get you home rings true. the clear dist. caps are known to be crap and a 009 with stock carb is definitely not a good mix. love how the professional mechanic couldn’t spring for a couple .25 vacuum caps and used hose and bolts on the three ports. other than that not a bad looking car if you live where it never rains and set it up to cool properly.

    Like 6
    • Gerry Member

      should say “cooling tins” not colon tins sorry auto correct is quicker than my thumbs

      Like 6
  7. Francisco

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Don’t air force colonels get paid enough to afford a real sports car like a Porsche, for example?

    Like 3
  8. Rock On

    @Francsico- I was thing more along the lines of a Corvette.

    Like 2
  9. Chuck Pierce

    “…if the Air Force colonel was the one that put it together, there’s a good chance it was built to a high standard – based on my experiences with ex-Military enthusiasts.” Thanks for the acknowledgement Jeff.
    As Francisco points out above regarding Colonels – may I make the point that Colonels were Lieutenants and Captains at one point. It may have been early in his career when this was purchased/built. Chuck in NE Kansas

    Like 1
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I nearly bought one of these kits back in the mid 70’s, but I just couldn’t stomach VW’s and the Ford option didn’t seem feasible to me. Definately would have to find different seats though.
    God bless America

  11. Scott Gorecki

    if its still for sale how much and what is its location

  12. Toni Taylor

    Yes I want a Bradley. My Mom dreamed of having one. And she never got it. Cancer to her at 50yrs. So I’m doing her bucket list for her, she barely got a chance to live little lone do a bucket list. And owning a Bradley was on her list. So seriously looking

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