Kelmark GT

Hello, greetings, and welcome to my Kelmark GT page!! Thats mine! Its a bit greasy, and I cant get a good picture of the front end because of all the junk in my garage!

First, a little about the Kelmark from what I know....
The Kelmark GT is (was) a "kit" car, which means you get one car, take the body off it, and put another body on to make it a different looking car. Some kits are as "easy" as that, others require a bit more modifications. Usually the kit is made to look like another popular car, like for example, there is a kit for the Fiero to make it look like a Lamborghini. The Kelmark GT is made to look like a Ferrari Dino. Basically, you take a VW Bug, remove the body, and put on the Kelmark body, keeping the engine right where it is, and changing some interrior things.

My Kelmark GT is a little different, it was made from a '74 VW convertable. The engine was removed, and the transaxel was turned around so the engine could be mounted in FRONT of the rear tires, making it a mid-engined car. The engine used was a 12a rotary from a '79 Mazda RX-7.

When I got the car around September, 1997 it hadn't run in about 7 years. The engine was siezed, the hydrolic clutch didnt move, and the shifter was locked up. Not knowing quite where to begin, I set out to fix the clutch. I simply got another slave cylinder, mounted it, and wee! I got the clutch to work! Next, I messed with the many shifting linkages (whoa what a MESS!) and found that one of the ball joint type of things was rusted solid. I took that apart, soaked it with WD-40 and other stuff, and beat it up with a hammer. After a few days of this, I got it to move! This was getting good! However, whatever I did, i could NOT get the engine to turn. So I yanked that out. Broke a few wrenches, but then got it to move.. not all the way around though. It would only go so far, then stop.. so I worked it each way, but still couldent get it to go a complete rotation.

March 15, 1998
I took apart the back half of the engine and found something, possibly a nut that was quite squashed and had some burn marks on it. It put some bad scratches in the rotor housing, and did a pretty good job on the rotor itself as well.
The inside of the engine looks pretty cool! Its amazing how efficient this motor must be. I'll be sure to post some pictures so you can take a look.

May 3, 1998
Well, heres a picture of the dented rotor. Not a good pic of what a rotor looks like, but its not healthy!
I just ordered some gaskets to continue working on putting the "new" engine together.

June 15, 1998 (~7:30pm)
It runs!!! It took quite a few hours/days to figure out what was wrong, then thought we corrected the problem a few times, so eventually I finally did figure out how the front engine pulley mounts on. From there, it was just a matter of lining up TDC (Top, dead center), then putting the distributer in correctly. Once that was done, it fired right up! The exhaust is not on all the way, so it was a bit loud, but it ran!!

heres a kind of low quality Audio clip recorded the following day. Its about 154k, so it might take a minute or two to download depending on your connection speed! Since I dont know what this is SUPPOSED to sound like, I dont know if its running right. But I'm excited anyway!!

June 22, 1998
I'm STILL trying to get the shifting linkage to work right! I may end up redoing the whole shifter setup. Take a look here and see what you think of these various pics of the shifting linkage..

September 20, 1998
Still nothing noteworthy. Because of my job, things have been put on hold for a bit. I'm awaiting the title, so I can finally do the last things to make this car drivable!
I Just visited Durkee's site.. what happened to the discussion page? maybe I'll revisit my idea of starting up a mailing list...

April 22, 1999
Not a day goes by where I DON'T think about my Kelmark GT. I just moved to Las Vegas, NV, and see all sorts of nice cars. Someone was supposed to work on my car here, but they have since been busy building a house. Because I only have an apartment here for the moment, I have no place to store, and work on it!! All I need to fix is the shifter mainly! At that point it can be "Running and Registered", and thus elgable for location at a REAL storage facility for more work done. Might have a temp. home for it next week with someone who works at a machine shop! This could be VERY helpful!

June 13, 1999
Lets see.. Engine wiring from a '79 rx7, but now has an '85 engine (alot of differences), VW Bug wiring in most everywhere else, some dash wiring is custom. So I spent all day at the junkyard removing the entire wiring harness from an '84 RX7!! what FUN! The only problem is, the emission control unit was not there! The ECU from the '79 will in no way work, and I don't know enough about this engine to figure out all the hoses and such! I suppose I'll just keep messing around with it. At least I'm making a LITTLE progress!!

June 27, 1999
Going to visit the car again soon to work on various fuel lines, and hope to start it up. Really wish I could find an ECU.
August 26, 1999
The shifter ordeal was really upsetting me, so I bit the bullet, decided I really dont need to eat for a few weeks, and spent around $350 for a COMPLETE custom shifter package - cableshift. I just received a call, apparently, the shifter made it here, but while putting it on the truck, it was DROPPED, *THEN* ran over. So they (UPS) are sending it back to the manufacturer, who will reconstruct the order, verify everything, and send it back out to me - overnight.
I really hated UPS before, and now I still hate them.
Nov 6, 1999
Hmm.. Havnt updated this page in a while. Welp, I'm installing the gastank now, which was a modified VW tank, so I've got to come up with some way to mount this new one..
Finally got the new shifter somewhat installed, still have to align the gears so I can get into all 5 (4 + Reverse).
Not much time to work on the engine stuff lately, but it scares me because I KNOW I need a fully custom exhaust, plus I'm planning on re-wiring the whole thing to keep it consistant. This will involve figuring out how everything is hooked up, plus figure out where all the hoses go. I'll see how much I can get done on this t'morrow...
Jan 17, 2000
Finally found a fuel inlet thing at a junkyard (from a chevette), also found a computer from an '84 rx7! This autta help GREATLY! I'll be driving this thing around soon!
Dec 5, 2000
Have been doing minor things up till now.
I just moved back to my house in New York, and the Kelmark is in the garage here, so its close by to work on. The downside is that Winter is very much here, so I will not be able to work on this for another few months :(
May 6, 2001
Still nothing going on. Seems that Spring/Summer has FINALLY come. Around 2 weeks ago, there was still a bit of snow on the ground in some places. The only thing I've done to the Kelmark is buy an electric fuel pump. On another note, my Beretta is acting a bit flakey, so I bought a 1990 Jeep Cherokee. So, as MTV's "Livin' Large" say, I've got the three cars: Sports car, Luxary car, and SUV. Now if I can just get more then one of them all running...
To be continued....


David Durkee - This guy is a somewhat "well known" person in the field of the Kelmark GT and information. Quite a few resources here, including a discussion area!

PriceOfHisToys - Another Kit Car enthusiast, and of course owner of a Kelmark (Heavily modified)

Another Nice Kelmark! - Quite a bit of work went into this one as well, I LOVE that rear spoiler! He found it at a junk yard - From an '85 Fiero.

Las Vegas Rotary Owners Group - Teaming up with these guys to see about answering some of the questions regarding the engine. I think my next car will be an Rx7!! :)

Heres a few pictures..

Engine - This is the engine I bought, after I put it in the car as a "short block". Yes, its a little dirty in there, I'll clean the engine compartment before its done! :)

Interior - A picture of the inside of the car, driver's seat it removed, and parts are everywhere.

Top View - You can see most of the car here, engine compartment "hood" is open. Oh yeah, notice the side scoop. This seems to be unique to this version of the car. I hear the Mazda rotary engine runs a bit hot. Hope this helps in cooling!!!

Visitor Number: Since Dec 18, 1998

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