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Max Kelly? Max Kelley? Same gentleman?


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#1 BritishV8

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 05:35

I'm interested to learn about a gentleman who served on Ford's GT-40 team at LeMans, was Chief Mechanic for Kastner-Brophy Racing through the 1971 North American Formula 5000 season (maintaining Jim Dittemore's Lola T192), and served in a similar capacity on the Roy Woods Indy-car team circa 1973. Kas Kastner isn't sure of the correct spelling of Max's last name, but leans toward "Kelly". I want to verify or correct the spelling, and see if I can fill-in Max's bio in just a little more detail.

From Google books, I see that "Shelby GT40: The Shelby American Original Color Archives" by Dave Friedman clouds the issue by spelling Max's name "Kelly" in photo captions on page 113 and 140, and then "Kelley" in photo captions on pages 140 and 141. (Both spellings are apparently also used in text on pages that are indexed but aren't available for reading online.) One guy, or two different guys who coincidentally served on the same team? In other Google and Autosport-forum searches I've found references to Max Kelley as a mechanic for John Mecom (Hussein 1, Zerex Special, Lola T70, etc.) and as an engine builder who modified Maserati engines in an Elva used in the movie Viva Las Vegas. (I think that's probably the same guy.) In the monster cutaway drawing thread here on the Autosport forum, I read that a Max Kelly was building engines in 1971 "at McLaren" - presumably in Livonia MI for CanAm cars. (I think that's probably a different guy.)

Please help!





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#2 bobLee

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 06:15

Max Kelley the ex Shelby Crew chief

Max Kelley was a crew chief on the GT-40 that won LeMans in 1966. Max also worked for Jim Gardner's American International racers. Max also worked for Herb Kaplan and was the crew chief on the ex Revson M20 when Scooter Patrick won the last Can-Am race in 1974. Max was a self taught crew chief back in the days when the crew chief did everything from chassis set up to transmissions. Max also worked on the Hussein and many other cars. Chuck McConnell was his good friend and has many more details as well as Scooter Patrick. Max was the most creative swearer I ever heard and he would regale his listeners with the most amazing first hand stories of the trials and tribulations of racing days. I often wish that I had recorded Max's stories and believe the material was good enough for a one man play.

Edited by bobLee, 07 April 2010 - 06:19.


#3 hansfohr

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 09:09

One of the guys on the left (in the grey T-shirt?) must be Max Kelley, Cherokee Racing's F5000 crewchief. The team - owned by the famous James Garner - ran this Surtees TS5 for Scooter Patrick in the 1969 Formula A championship, only at Lime Rock and St. Jovite (pictured).
http://www.oldracing...vite69-400x.jpg

#4 Jerry Entin

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 14:18

Posted Image
1962 Times GP at Riverside: Max Kelley sunglasses Maserati logo on the back of his white overalls

The other fellow is Max Balchowsky working on the Tipo 63 Birdcage entered for Bob Harris by Maserati Reps of Beverly Hills


In the photo posted by Hansfohd Max Kelley is on the right in the middle in white.

photo: Willem Oosthoek collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 07 April 2010 - 18:15.


#5 bobLee

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 14:19

Max is on the right with the balding head and the white clothes. He liked to wear white and was most proud of one incident where he had a car ready for the grid and his whites had no dirt or grime on them. Roger Penske came up and said don't you ever work? Max loved that story.

#6 BritishV8

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 22:46

Well... I found a couple more stories about Max Kelley and now I'm of the opinion that someone should certainly write his biography. A very interesting gentleman! Just in case some biographer comes across this thread, I'll link it to an article I've just published which briefly mentions Max in the context of his work with Kas Kastner and Jim Dittemore on the Kastner-Brophy Formula 5000 team, circa 1971: Lola T192 Formula 5000 Race Car.



#7 Duncan Fox

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 09:08

Max is on the right with the balding head and the white clothes. He liked to wear white and was most proud of one incident where he had a car ready for the grid and his whites had no dirt or grime on them. Roger Penske came up and said don't you ever work? Max loved that story.



Bob ,Max was such a nice guy I talked for hours with him on many occasions my phone bills were huge! sharp memory very accurate. If you havnt already read this thread have a look. A tape recorded interview exists with the owner of the winning GT40

http://forums.autosp...ax kelly shelby