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B. J. Kelley (1929 - 2009)

B. J. Kelley (1929 - 2009)


B. J. Kelley (1929 - 2009)   Born on Halloween in 1929, Kelley passed away at his home on April 7, 2009 at the age of 79. Kelley was a well known avid Sacramento area rodder who knew everyone around involved with street rods and old cars. He started his hot rodding adventures way back in the late 40's racing around Sacramento area streets in a number of home built beaters (as Kelley called them). He was a member of the Asphalt Flyers and an active member of the River City Rodsters. Kelley was fearless. In 1950 he managed to earn his prized timing plaque (Cal-Neva Roadster Ass’n) pushing his flathead Ford V8 powered roadster to 111 MPH in a ¼ mile run at the Reno Salt Flats (impressive in those days). He loved flying across the water at over 100 MPH in his v-drive flat bottom drag boat and he was an accomplished water skier as well as snow skier. He was the owner of Kelley's Pizza on 12th Street in Sacramento which featured live music. He loved jazz. He worked atop broadcast transmission towers including the huge TV tower in Walnut Grove when it was built. And who could forget the familiar silver B. J. Kelley Trucking rig hauling rock around the area.

As he mellowed over time Kelley built the rod of his dreams, his present 671 blown SBC 1932 Ford 3-window coupe (mellow?). The build took him nine years to complete with Kelley doing most of the work himself. Once completed, Kelley's 32 made its debut at the 1988 Sacramento Autorama. From that point on Kelley and Alta enjoyed their silver Ford 3-window coupe driving it to all the local haunts as well as many out of town rod events where he won several awards. They were a familiar sight at many local hamburger stands and regional rod runs. 

Kelley will be missed by his family, his friends and many, many fellow rodders. Jim & Tony