This car & story has been in my family since the 1960’s and I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to forward & share.
Built by racing mechanic and local legend Jack Deren (Northeast PA), this car held the same principles of any 50’s/60’s track car back in the day. Lightweight (Kellison Racing fiberglass body), lots of power (Buick Nailhead motor with 4 duece set up) and handling to control it (Early 50’s Jaguar XK suspension/frame). So while not an actual Cobra, you can surely see the resemblance in structure and execution.
This car shared track time with not only some of the greater cars of the era but also some of the greater names of those times. Pictured below are actual photos of the car racing. My father ended up purchasing the car from Jack sometime in the late 60’s when Jack had the car for sale at Oscar Koveleski’s Auto World in Scranton Pa. Note the photo below at the Auto World showroom with our car on the far right sitting next to a Shelby Daytona Coupe CSX 2287 (1 of 7 and THAT car is the 1st prototype) that was sold to famed music producer Phil Spector along with Oscar’s 1955 Ferrari 857S that he later sold to famed Artist Andy Worhol – stories that almost sounds too unreal to be true but in fact are real. My father couldn’t afford the Shelby or the Ferrari (priced at $4200 at the time) and ended up buying the Jaguar with the intent of simply enjoying it on the street (pictured below are photos of the car in front of my Grandparent’s house in West Scranton when the car was equipped with a hardtop). My father then sold the car to my Uncle who put the car in storage half a block from where these street photos were taken in 1969. My Uncle scrapped the Nailhead/4 duece motor and began customizing the drive-train to his liking and transplanted a built solid lifter ’63 Corvette 327 into the car. He then began working on some needed suspension work when he was badly injured in an accident at his home. From there, the car sat for a period of roughly 40 years. On various Christmas holidays and visits to my grandparents on special occasions I would ask if we could go see the car just sitting in the garage. Since the day I laid eyes on the car (late 70’s and not even 10 years old) it was probably my catalyst for realizing how cool cars were and began my infatuation with automobiles both personally & later as a business. For the past 4 decades, I would constantly remind my uncle that when the time came to move on, I wanted the car back. Not for any reasons of value or sale but simply out of cool factor given who built it, the cars/drivers it associated with and of course being my father’s.
Pictured below is not an end to the story of this unique car, but a continuation of this 1954 Kellison Bodied Jaguar’s steet/racecar lifespan. Pulled out of my grandmother’s storage garage after roughly 40 years March 2016, the car is now part of my family and will hopefully be something of interest to my sons and other’s to enjoy particularly if we decide to invest the time, energy & money bringing the car back to what it was at it’s prime: A poor man’s Cobra.
The beginnings: our Jaguar on the track. Oscar Kovaleski’s 1955 Ferrari 857S in red/#54 sits behind.
Oscar Koveleski’s Auto World, Scranton PA. Our car pictured far right. Note the other cars for sale: 1955 Ferrari 857S (owned/raced by Oscar & Jack at the time) which then sold to Andy Worhol (yes, THE Andy Worhol). Centered is not only 1 of 7 Shelby Daytona Coupes and also the original prototype CSX 2287, later sold to famed music producer Phil Spector, then vanished for 30 years and now resides in unrestored status at the Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. (Note the Roy Stauffer Chevrolet billboard top of photo)
Photos below are my father’s during ownership around 1969. Car was parked in front of my grandparents house near the corner of Washburn & Division Street in West Scranton Pennsylvania. Hardtop pictured is long gone. Notice 4 duece set up in hood up photo.
March 2016: Pulling car out of storage after 40+ years:
My mug in a now empty storage bay….
Later that afternoon: A pop in visit to see Jack and a pleasant surprise to see Oscar Koveleski (Auto World owner) there as well. Pictured below is Oscar showing my son the features on his Learn to Race inspired Youth cars that he demos at large racing events to further pass racing interest to kids and get them learning fundamentals as early as possible.