Your Ride: 1991 Kelly Python
As a long time car guy, Keith Kolb of Colorado Springs never planned to own two Kelly Pythons. In fact, he didn't even plan to own one. Stumbling across his first Python on accident, the two seat sportscar immediately caught his attention. So, like any well-versed car guy would do, Keith hit the internet trying to find out all he could about the unknown convertible. From then on, he was hooked. A few years later and Keith finds himself in proud ownership of two of only seven remaining examples. Here's the full story:
How did you acquire your ride?
I bought my first Kelly Python in 2008 with no intentions of buying a car, I was responding to a Craigslist ad for motorcycle gear, and when I arrived at their house there was a '69 Corvette and a Ranchero out front. As car guys, we started talking and he then showed me the Python and it defiantly caught my eye. It looked very well built, somewhat of a concept car with all Ford Mustang GT drivetrain. It was reminding me of the Miami Vice Daytona spider that I always wanted, but could never afford. He was in the market to sell it and I made an offer and bought my first Python (now own two).
What drew you in when you bought it?
These cars are rare, the best of my finding is that 12 cars were built and the demise of the company was due to under funding. There was a stock offering, but it didn't create the revenue to make it work. The manufacturing plant was also moved from Riverside, California, to Fort Collins, Colorado, where they had moved the manufacturing to reduce the transportation.
Not knowing anything about Pythons, it became a learning experience on the history of the Kelly Motors LTD. Python.
Starting its roots in Riverside, the owner -- Alvin (Al) Kelly -- was influenced by the work done by Eugene Bordinat (one time Ford VP of design and designer of the Bordinat Cobra and Fords XP program). Bordinat was in the works to find a replacement for the AC Cobras when the bodies for the AC's ceased production. He went to the drawing board and created what was to be the replacement for the AC Cobra, now the time frame was back in the '60s. Bordinat did build a couple of his creations and heard that he did use one as his daily driver. Today I have been told that that car is at the Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Kelly Motors Ltd. obtained Fords authorization to utilize the Bordinat Cobra design in the development of the Python, where many of the flowing body lines can still be seen. Utilizing modern technology from newer model year Fox body Mustangs with 5.0 EFI, handling and safety features, the groundwork was set.
The Python is not a kit car. It did start with a new Mustang, then was stripped, rear part of the car cut and shortened, the front cut and lengthened to achieve a 45/55 weight split, strength modifications (some of the aluminum metal work in the trunk looks like it was done for aircraft application), convertible top, engine modifications, and sticking with Ford, using many standard parts from the hide-a-way headlights from the Ford Probe to the taillights from the Thunderbird. Custom fiberglass panels, hood and trunk lid, door panel skins, the only visual sheet metal is the hood cowl. Door glass and windshield is Mustang as well as interior, and was told the manual fold down roof is Ford McLaren.
The car was built to be a luxury two seat sports car, and that is exactly what it is. There is one Python that I know out there (pictured) that has had some serious modifications and can kick some serious ass.
I did purchase a second car that became available a couple of years back for my wife but it hasn't been driven and might consider selling if the price is right. It is white in color, 5.0 EFI, automatic car.
What do you feel like when you drive it?
These are fun cars to own and drive. When driving I get chased down and everyone asks if it is a Ford Pantera convertible, Ferrari or Maserati due to it looks like all three combined.
What have you done to make it a bolder ride?
As far as doing any modifications to the car, I had chrome spoke wire wheels with knock off cap installed. I love the look, chrome spoke wheels on a black on black on black car. I am considering making a new front grill for the car, bringing the car back to its roots with a 60s style Mustang look. I will take off the original and put it away for safe keeping, the new grill would incorporate some early Mustang style and like to have it done to celebrate 50 years of Mustang.
These cars are a blast to own, drive and show. Every time I go to a car show I get the same response. Why didn't they build them? They actually fit today's market better then ever.
PHOTOS: See More of the 1991 Kelly Python