Kelley Blue Book Building
Every one uses the Kelley Blue Book. But how many of us know its history, or the story of Les Kelley, which begins some 95 years ago?

Kelley Blue Book, the Irvine, California-based car valuation company offers an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to buy or sell a car. With the Blue Book, consumers can pinpoint the going rate for a particular car by year and make. Car buyers consult the Blue Book to see if they’re getting a good deal, while sellers use the Blue Book to get an accurate estimate on how price their vehicles. By any standard, the Kelley Blue Book is genius, and certainly worth at least a footnote in the annals of automotive history.

Les Kelley
Les Kelley

The Kelley Blue Book begins with Ransom Leslie (Les) Kelley, born September, 5, 1897, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Les Kelley opened a business called the Kelley Kar Company in 1918, when he was 21. The company started out with just three cars, all Model T Fords. Buster Kelley, Les’ brother, worked as the company lot boy. Les began collecting data from the dealership, and published the first Blue Book in 1926, intended as a guide for setting resale values on used automobiles.

The Kelley family continued to sell cars in Southern California, for approximately five decades. But by that time, the Blue Book had taken off to the point that the family discontinued the dealership to become a specialty publisher. The Blue Book was the first publication of its kind, using mileage as a means to calculate the worth of a particular car. By now, the Blue Book had become the standard guide for automotive tradesmen for determining the value of the cars they bought and sold.

Kelly Blue Book Goes Digital

The final print version of the Kelley Blue Book came out in the fall of 2017. Today, the Blue Book is virtual, with a searchable online database. With a few clicks of a mouse, users can find the market value price for new and used automobiles of every stripe, and also motorcycles, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft. Anyone can use the regularly updated Blue Book to learn the fair market range and purchase price of a vehicle, along with other valuable information for car consumers.

From 2012-2014, the Kelley Blue Book was recognized by Harris Poll as the Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year. The company also earned a WebAward in the automotive category for Outstanding Website, two years running.  Kelley Blue Book Founder Les Kelley died at the ripe old age of 92, his legendary Blue Book lives on. At 95 years and counting, the Blue Book remains a reliable and trusted resource for the auto industry.



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