Howard Z 1911 Kelsey Motorette

Three Wheeled Classics. The Kelsey Motorette

In the late 1960's, my Dad came home literally with boxes of parts, rusted chassis and loose wheels which he insisted was once a car called the Kelsey Motorette. He actually found Mr Kelsey and spoke with him and obtained a library of materials about the car. This car was built in 1911 and designed as a two passenger runabout.

My Dad and I began a three year restoration project that eventually created the car you see in the photos. The two cycle , two cylinder opposed configuration was a real hoot. Drip oilers supplied various areas and the radiator found behind the seat was not very efficient as you might imagine due to its location. Dad restored or made all the parts and did all the work except for the leather upholstery which was sent out. He entered the car at the AACA Hershey meet and won first prize in his class.

The Kelsey had a tiller steering wheel for the two front wheels and the single chain driven rear wheel was mounted on two leaf springs which were never very effective. It was a sight to behold churning down the road at a top speed of 25 mph but it sure had charm.

Dad sold the car years ago and it was recently sold again to a man in the Midwest. We really enjoyed restoring that car and it was a great father-son project that made me appreciate his many talents and determination to complete the project at such a high level.

Yes, the three wheeled cars are rare and certainly evoke many fond memories for my family. We hope you will enjoy this story too.

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Kelsey Texas July 18, 2017 at 02:48
    Fantastic automobile any more information on the vehicle would be greatly welcomed I wish to build a replica since I know the likely hood of me ever finding one is close to none. Very respectfully Kelsey B.

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