If you like seeing old race cars get found, saved, and relished, then this is going to be a video for you! My words can’t beat those of Tommy who lived this whole experience, so read the story below and watch the two videos. You’ll be glad you did.
This old Kellison body is just a skeleton of its record-breaking, race-winning past and I’m so thankful that we were able to rescue it from a scrap yard in Kentucky. This historic drag car was once the pride and joy of Lou Abel and Earl McDaniel from Lexington, Kentucky. It was built in late 1966 and debuted at the Carl Casper Car Show in Louisville, Kentucky in early 1967. It features a Kellison J6 Panther fiberglass body with a completely custom frame. The engine for most of its life was a blown and injected 392ci Chrysler Hemi.
It raced at tracks such as Bluegrass Dragway and Mountain Park Dragway, leading up to its debut on the big stage at the NHRA U.S. National at Indy in September of 1967. This car set a national speed record on one of its first trips to the drag strip, then took home the AA/MSP victory at the Nationals with a pieced together Hemi engine. The car was designed for the AA/MSP (Modified Sports Car) class in NHRA competition, but a rule change sent it into the BB/Altered class for the 1968 season. It wasn’t quite as competitive in BB/A because of being overweight for the class, but it still held its own. Eventually, Lou and Earl stepped up to a larger 420ci early Chrysler Hemi combination, but still couldn’t get it ironed out to their liking.
After taking a break, and parking the car for about a year, they regrouped and put together an injected (not blown) 426ci Hemi and competed in B/Altered. It was in this configuration when the car did a giant wheelstand, and crashed down to the pavement. The impact bent the frame beyond repair, and this car’s racing days were over. It was traded off for another drag car, and was never put back together. Eventually the frame was likely scrapped, but the body survived and ended up in a scrap yard in Louisville, Kentucky. That’s where we found it and recently rescued it from its grave. This car’s history as an NHRA record holder and race winner solidifies my desires to save it. Even though its crusty, it’s still a great piece of drag racing history.
I run an advanced composite shop. I would SO reverse engineer that thing and build them again!
Here ya go.