Once in awhile we run across cars listed on eBay that seem to leap off the site and into our imagination. Such was the case when we came across today’s remarkable find, this 1974 Kelmark GT 1 Mark lll:
Of course this is not the first car we have seen that is unusual and interesting. Check out our stories on the 1956 Heinkel 150 Kabine bubble car or the 1953 Arnolt-MG Bertone Coupe. Each car was unique in some way, be it body style, rarity, or a combination of both. The Kelmark falls into the last category: it’s a beautifully styled car and extremely rare.
The Kelmark GT 1 car is reportedly one of ten cars ever made by Kelmark, which is an unusual company. Formed in 1969, the company earned notoriety for its kit cars. A brochure from Kelmark summed it up like this:
“A beautiful Kelmark fiberglass body mounted on a dependable Volkswagen frame produces an amazing automobile that looks like an expensive Italian sports car… gets VW type mileage … handles like a dream … corners like is is on rails … and can be owned by someone with only a modest budget.”
It seems like these kinds of cars could be referred to as a sheep in wolf’s clothing…
But the Kelmark GT 1, Mark III was even more distinctive. It was not built with a VW engine. Instead it came equipped with a 1965 Chevrolet V8, and the car could seemingly fly. According to the listing the Kelmark GT 1 has the honor of having the “(f)astest documented speed ever attained by a street machine” (according to the May 1978 issue of Car & Driver magazine, so take that with a grain of salt).
- The styling was inspired by the Ferrari 206 Dino GT, combining the lines of the Dino with the Astro II XP-880 Mid Engine 1968 Corvette concept car.
- According to the Kelmark registry this is the only remaining 1974 Kelmark GT 1 Mark lll. This was the tenth built by Kelmark Engineering, Inc .”
The car was stored for over 20 years, and has now undergone a complete professional restoration.
Interestingly, Kelmark was also famous for another type of modification, this one called the “Sleeper.” In this case, they took a stock VW Beetle, and installed a V-8 engine. Imagine pulling up to one of these sleeping beauties at a stoplight, thinking you were going to just smoke the usually underpowered Beetles as the light turned green. Suddenly the thing takes off, and you are left scratching your head, wondering what happened. In this case, it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
We can’t wait until someone puts one of those up for sale on eBay.