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Driving and classic cars have been a big part of Dave Kelley’s life. He is a driver for Manistee County Dial-A-Ride and is well known for his collection of classic cars.

This collection took a huge hit in 2013 when the building where it stored cars burned down – costing it 10 of its beauties.

Driving and classic cars have been a big part of Dave Kelley’s life. He is a driver for Manistee County Dial-A-Ride and is well known for his collection of classic cars.

Courtesy picture

“It was a struggle to start over,” he said. “I have a new garage near Morton Salt and now have three cars. We bought a Corvette to replace my dad’s which burned down, and we also have a 1968 Dodge Charger and a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner . »

Kelley said the rising cost of classic cars almost forced him to give up the hobby.

“I always try,” he said. “The Charger is currently in Nebraska being restored and painted and the Road Runner is a real project.”

Kelley grew up on Ninth Street and now lives in the house her grandparents owned on Sixth Street. The movie “Miracle on 34th Street” is his favorite because he watched it with his grandparents.

Kelley’s interest in cars grew through Ninth Street neighbor Dean Kruse, who was in charge of Manistee’s pro car program.

“When I was a kid, I would walk to Dean’s house where his students came after school to work on their cars,” Kelley said. “And my dad was always tinkering with his Corvette – so the cars were there in front of me all the time.”

Kelley eventually enrolled in and completed Manistee High School’s automotive program.

“I think that’s the only class I ever got an A in,” he said.

One Christmas tradition Kelley remembers is going with the family to Trinity Lutheran Church to pick out a Christmas tree.

“As I got older, I was trying to decorate the outside,” he said. “I’ve always wanted lights outside. I still do. I’m actually decorating my tree right now, including hanging up some of Grandma’s decorations.

When he was younger, Kelley walked or biked from Ninth Street to Sixth Street to see his grandparents. Now he travels from sixth to ninth grade to the house of his parents – Kathy and Pat Kelley – for Christmas.

Over the years, as a Dial-A-Ride driver, he’s helped residents — especially senior citizens — enjoy the holiday season by taking them shopping, color tours and events. like the Sleighbell Parade.

“As a driver, I dreaded New Year’s Eve, but everyone else was good,” he said.

These days, he takes developmental education students to and from school.

“In the morning, if we have a few minutes, I’ll take the kids to see Christmas lights on the way to school,” Kelley said. “It’s something we did when I was younger. Mom and Dad in the front and my sister and I in the back, driving while looking at the headlights. I try to share that with the kids on the bus.

PRESENTATION BY DAVE KELLEY

• Lived in Manistee County all his life

• His favorite Christmas movie is “Miracle on 34th Street” because he used to watch it with his grandparents.

• Perhaps (Dave’s) favorite day of the year is the last day of school.


Kelley said her Christmas song playlist includes several car songs.

“There are a few Beach Boys songs, one is ‘Little St. Nick,'” he said.

So far, Kelley has never received a car for Christmas. But who knows, maybe this will be the year Santa Claus leaves something interesting in his driveway, complete with a big red bow.

“I’ve had a lot of stuff about cars, but so far never a car,” he said.

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