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The Classic Car "Blue Book".

In 1914 Les Kelley, the son of a preacher from Arkansas, made his way to California at the age of 17. He had no money or job, but he owned an old car which was in fine shape because he was a handy mechanic and had overhauled it himself.

His friends admired his car because it was so well looked after and offered to buy it.

He eventually sold it to one of them. Les Kelley then began to buy, repair and resell cars. The money which he made by trading used cars paid his way through college.

Kelley Car Company - Los Angeles - 1918.

Then in 1918, he parked three Model T Fords in an open lot, and started the Kelley Car Company which was to become the largest dealership in the world. As trading continued he found a need to maintain a list of the current values. This list of updated used car values eventually became known as the “blue book".

In the early 1920s, to help acquire new inventory, Les Kelley distributed to other dealers and to banks a list of automobiles he wished to buy and the prices he was willing to pay for them.

Then in 1926 Les Kelley decided to expand his list of automobile values/prices which he had been producing since 1918, mainly because the automotive community began to trust his judgement to produce an accurate reflection of current values.

When a customer asked a dealer what his used car might be worth, the dealer usually referred to Les Kelley's list. As the demand for his list by dealers increased Les Kelley realized that he could provide an ongoing service to both dealers and bankers.

The Classic Car Blue Book - Les Kelley - Kelley Blue Book

Once the list was expanded he named it the “Blue Book" after the Social Register, because it meant that you would find valuable information inside it.

The Blue Book provided a factory list price and the cash value of thousands of vehicles from Cadillacs to Duesenbergs. As time went by and Les Kelley’s Blue Book became well known it was the norm for car buyers and sellers to refer to this book for information.

Buyers and sellers were looking for some form of standard price reference and the Blue Book filled this void very well. The classic car blue book provides independent guidance for enthusiasts who are either in the buying or selling market.

Many classic car owners had no idea about where they could find the current value of their cars. As a result of this uncertainty many cars are sold well below their current market values.

This results in a bargain for the buyer, and an unknown loss for the seller. These cases would be isolated, but if you are lucky enough to find a classic being sold for well below it’s current market value, it’s your lucky day.

Basically the term classic car blue book has grown from the original Blue book of car values and highlights the original methods of searching for different types of car prices and values in the Kelly Blue Book.

Classic car owners and others looking for the current price values for their cars use internet search terms as “classic car blue book" and “Classic car blue book value".

Today the Kelley Blue Book offers a wide range of publications for the automotive industry. From classic early models and late model used cars to motorcycles and Rvs. Kelley Blue Book is the number 1 source for the most comprehensive automotive value information.

This photo is of the current “Blue Book" which can be bought for $9.95.

It provides retail, private party and trade-in values for used cars, trucks, and vans covering the last 15 years. There are further details available at

Cheers, Bob Welcome

98 Livingstone St North Rockhampton, Queensland 4701 Australia.  +61 7 49265721 07 49265721

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