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						Gt40 K Project 3
Dirt-Cheap GT40 Project

Kellison GT40K project car

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

Considering the transaxle requirement, a specially constructed tube chassis and the lack of donor parts, GT40 kits and rollers are among the priciest available. Most options for complete cars or high-end rollers hover around $100,000, with a few more affordable options around $80,000. But I suppose the term affordable is relative, because $80K is a pretty bitter pill to swallow for an average shade tree mechanic like myself. Enter this mysterious primer-clad GT40, which presents more questions than answers, but is worth a second look at just $15,000.

The seller claims to have only clues as to which manufacturer the car originated from, but our hunch is Kellison. It’s tough to be sure, seeing as the seller only included three photos in the ad, and some of the most telling parts have been cropped out, but the squared-off tail, thick A-pillars and long nose section are solid clues. It’s thought that the latter addition was included in Jim Kellison’s design in anticipation of a Le Mans nose on the GT40, which was indeed tested by Ford for a short time.

But alas, there is not much information available on Kellison’s GT40K. If memory serves, a good portion of the GT40Ks were build on VW air-cooled platforms, but it seems that a larger option was available for more powerful donors with a proprietary chassis. The clues aren’t shown in detail to determine whether this is one of Kellison’s original chassis, but it does look the part, maybe except for the long struts that extend from the front suspension to hold the tilting front clamshell. Maybe an expert can shed some light on this in the comments below.

We’ve seen everything from GM V8s with automatic transmissions, to V6s and air-cooled Corvair mills used in Kellison GTs, but this project looks to be a happy outside-the-box combination. While some readers may not have experience with the aluminum Rover V8 engine, most everyone has heard of the 215 ci Buick V8. Buick started developing aluminum engines in the early 1950s, and it became standard equipment on many Buick models by the early 1960s.

Maybe the prospect of 215 cubes and an introductory output of 150 hp doesn’t impress you much, but Buick continued to develop its four-barrel variant over the years. By 1963, the engine was producing 200 hp at 5,000 rpm with a nasty 11.0:1 compression ratio, and the engine weighed a mere 318 pounds dry! At the time, it was clearly the lightest mass-produced V8 in the world, and its 56.7 hp/ liter is still a respectable figure today. Consider the 6.162-liter LS3, a fine standard for judgment, which churns out 430 hp, or 69.783 hp/liter.

Climbing out of the 215 ci Buick rabbit hole, the owner of the car sites that the Rover engine looks to have been rebuilt and sounds healthy. I’ve got nothing for you on the transaxle however, and the seller only points out that it’s a four-speed unit, but surely a Rover V8 expert can provide some insight here. Other than that, we’re told the car has rack-and-pinion steering with disc brakes. Everything looks to be in fine order, but you’ll have to source your own door hinges, radiator and Plexiglas windows.

Sure, this car has a ways to go before she’s road worthy, beyond the items listed above. But given the relatively low cost of entry (and the sweet slot-mag wheels), we’re sold. So if you’re in SoCal, scoop this one up before someone else does.

See the GT40 project here on Inland Empire Craigslist.

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GT40 Kellison Project Car