John Breslow is the epitome of what a car collector should be.
Get ready to meet a great car enthusiast when you watch the video in the Petrolicious Made to Drive original series at petrolicious.com.
“I sold my business, and everybody said you need a passion,” Breslow explains. “It’s like they say, one door closes, and for me it was a garage door that opened!”
Indeed, in what he admits is an eclectic car collection, is one of the most beautiful Corvettes ever made, that is really not a Corvette in the strict sense of the word. But then again, maybe it is, in the true spirit of Corvette enthusiasts like Zora and Tadge.
You see, the person responsible for this unique “Corvette” is a man named Gordon Kelly.
An industrial designer, Kelly lived in Wisconsin and his lifelong dream was to build a car.
“He drew this car up, made a model, packed it up, flew to Europe, and showed it to a bunch of coachbuilders and picked Vignale,” Breslow recounts.
Vignale built the car in Italy, and it became a sensation at the Paris Auto Show in 1961.
“It really became kind of a little famous car all by itself,” Breslow says, “and that’s why this is so unusual, that someone without great wealth could go and show the great coachbuilders in Italy and Europe his model and pull it off. And that’s kind of the American dream, to be able to do something like that.”
Breslow doesn’t have a car in his collection that he doesn’t drive, and this 1961 Kelly Corvette is no different.
“I did the Copper State 1000 in the car,” he says, “my wife and I, and it was perfect, no problems at all. The windshield is like wide open, it’s really big and it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced in a car before. You’re really out in nature, and it’s just a wonderful driving experience.”
We love his next comment: “It’s like driving a 1961 Corvette that doesn’t look like on the outside like a ’61 Corvette. That’s what’s really the genius behind it.”
While he does drive the car on a regular basis, that doesn’t mean he isn’t very careful with it. He knows what a one-of-a-kind work of art the Kelly Corvette is.
In fact, when he bought the car, he got all kinds of historic documents with it, including the model of the car, as well as magazine covers featuring the car with Elizabeth Taylor in 1961 and Car and Driver in May 1962.
In addition, “they gave us the correspondence between General Motors and Gordon Kelly. They gave us Western Unions to Vignale. They gave us drawings of other cars that he wanted to do. It’s so historic that his memory and what he did will live on forever because I’ll pass it on.”
Kelly himself repainted the car in 2004, and if Breslow has anything to do with it, it’ll be the last paint job ever done on it.
“I think that paint job should stay on it forever because once you take that paint job off, Gordon Kelly’s handprints are no longer on that paint,” Breslow says. “It should be Gordon Kelly’s car; that’s what it should all be about. I’m just a temporary custodian of it.”
We’ll leave you with another great quote from Breslow about the Kelly Corvette – “It’s like a van Gogh you can drive.”
Who would argue?