1959 Kellison J5 Manning Special Convertible
The Kellison-Manning Special was factory-built in 1959 on a Chuck Manning tube frame using Chrysler running gear. It was one of two cars built for the express purpose of driving Bonneville.
According to Jim Kellison, one of these two cars achieved a speed of 141 mph at Bonneville in 1960. To date, the second Salt Flat car has not been found. The Kellison-Manning Special was visually inspected and confirmed as one of the two Manning-based cars by Mr. Kellison prior to his death in 2004. The car comes with an authentication letter from Mr. Kellison and California street registrations dating back to 1961.
This car is one of only 8-9 J-5 convertible bodies produced, and one of these two factory-built cars. These J-5 convertibles were never "officially" for sale and were not listed in any Kellison literature.
The purchased this car in 1996 as a project. The car had an extremely lightweight (and fragile) body. In many places you could actually see through the fiberglass, and the body was full of stress cracks. It had what appeared to be its original Chrysler running gear with it, but while the car had clearly been run, it was in very poor condition. Additionally, you could tell by the structure of the frame that the car was simply built to go in a straight line.
The car was restored over the course of the next 12 years, working on it as time and money permitted. It was a very complex restoration, trying to balance the preservation of the race heritage of the car with modern conveniences and comfort, while keeping in mind of the intention of continuing to race the car.
The Kellison-Manning Special is likely the only Kellison with original, factory Kellison seats, an original frame tag, and an original, Chuck Manning factory frame (although it has been modified so that the car can turn right and left instead of just go in a straight line).
The car can only speak for itself. The quality of the restoration and workmanship can be best described as superb, and the car is likely one of the best built, most detailed Kellison or fiberglass bodied 50's car in the world. It is one of only a handful of actively vintage raced Kellisons, and the only one with known history. This workmanship and history were rewarded when the car was invited to participate in the 2105 Amelia Island Concours.
The Kellison-Manning Special has been raced in multiple prestigious USA vintage events since completion of the restoration. The car has garnered victories in SVRA Enduro races in 2013 and 2014. In 2013 the car raced in both the Monterey HIstorics and the SVRA National Championships. This car would be welcomed at nearly any vintage event, show, or race worldwide. It is a well-known car that is appreciated for its beauty, its originality, and the absolutely beautiful sound as it goes around the racetrack. It is always a crowd favorite and draws more attention than most of the Maseratis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, and other Group 4 cars that it competes against.
The car is 100% legally built for Vintage racing, and is 100% period-correct, with the exception of modern day safety and reliability parts which are legal in racing. It is one of the best-handling cars in class, as well as the most reliable, with no DNFS ever. It retains a period-correct 283, which is the legal engine for a 1959 car. It has drum brakes on all four wheels, and a 4-speed manual transmission.
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