Klyce Motors 1952

The Memphis Commercial Appeal ran this vintage photo on March 15th in their "Memphis Memories" section. The caption to the photo explains that the Memphis Rodders club had arranged an exhibit of hot rods at Klyce Motors,17 S. Cleveland, on March 15th 1952. In it, we see the late Jimmy Fulghum explaining the details of his dual carburetor 24 stud flathead Ford V8 engine to S.G. Sullivan (an instructor at the Naval Air Technical Training Station in Millington TN) and his 5 year old son John. Not the average out of focus scrapbook image, this razor sharp photo is the result of the 4X5 inch negative that the Graflex press cameras of the day produced, and lends an almost surreal look back to see what a hot rod club did some 56 years ago. Many thanks to the Commercial Appeal for allowing this photo to be used on this web site.

Unfortunately, Memphis Rodder Jimmy Fulghum is no longer with us, but he left a lasting impression on many. Larry Nolan knew him well, and made the following remarks via e-mail.

"Jimmy was a personal friend of my mother and father. He owned AA Battery and Air Conditioning Service. The address was on Union Avenue, but the back of the shop was on Marshall. I think that Jimmy obtained the car in the late 1940's. He told me the story about how he got the car. It belonged to a serviceman in the Navy at Millington. He drove it down to Jimmy's shop to get some service work done. Jimmy was immediately interested in the car. It had some fire damage caused by an electrical problem, but still had it's original paint at this time. Jimmy traded the guy a 1940 Ford Convertible for it, and later painted the car green. I think it was an Oldsmobile color. The car at that time had a flathead motor in it. Jimmy later installed a small block Chevy and was racing the car at Halls, Tennessee. The engine was set back in the car and it won alot of races.
Jimmy's brother George was injured by a wheel and tire at Anderson, Indiana at the Little 500. He nearly died from the injuries, as they were head injuries. I worked under him in the battery area of the shop, GREAT GUY just like Jimmy was."

In the photo above, Jimmy is shown at an early Memphis Motorama explaining more of those details to a young John Robillio. Miraculously, the car still exists today as Jimmy kept the car throughout his life, and David Kelley purchased the car after his passing. It was always a well maintained hot rod with a history that never strayed far from the look seen in the photo, but David has raised the bar and made subtle changes that have returned it's appearance more to it's mid 1950's look. I think this car may be one of the best examples of an archetypical 32 Ford hot rod to ever hit the road. So, expect another entry regarding this car in the near future after I root through my photo files. It's worth a closer look... and so is the 1952 photo at the top of this page. It serves to remind us where all of this stuff came from, and how it got to where it is now. I think that's called timeless.