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1950 Keller 4 - A Car Ahead Of Its Time

10/17/2019
Tad Burness
Gasoline was only 23 to 26 cents per gallon in the 1950s, so there was little public interest in very small economy cars. Crosley did fairly well at first, in the early postwar years, but no other mini-car succeeded, in spite of several different attempts.
 
The Keller was the successor to the Bobbi-Kar, a similar little mite conceived in 1945 in Southern California. In 1946 and 1947, there was a small bit of Bobbi-Kar activity, but basically, it was a flop. The venture moved to Huntsville, AL as a car could be produced there for considerably less expense. The car was renamed the Keller, honoring Keller Motors' founder, George Keller (formerly vice president at Studebaker).
 
 
In its May 23, 1949, issue, Newsweek published a photo of a 1949 Keller "woody" station wagon, being given the once-over by a curbside crowd of onlookers along with an article describing the Keller operation and how it was leasing 212,000 square feet of factory space from the Army Corps of Engineers near Huntsville. Keller raised some $700,000 by selling franchises to about 1,500 prospective dealerships. Keller also planned to sell 5-million shares of stock for only a dollar a share!
 
Most attractive of Keller's products was the "Super Chief" convertible, shown in the upper right corner of the accompanying drawing.
 
Keller produced some sales literature touting the exclusive feature of "Cradled in Rubber" suspension that was supposed to reduce tire wear, give a much smoother ride, with a lower center of gravity with each wheel independently suspended with rubber "shock mounts" and no metal springs. The Keller offered good ideas and was certainly economical, but as long as gas was still cheap, this car had arrived many years too soon.
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