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Don’t Call If You Don’t Know: Kellison J6

By any account, the sixties were a pretty wild time for gearheads of every variety.  The horsepower war between the manufacturers was out of control, the custom car scene took full flight during the decade, it was a glorious era for racing, and many suburban garages had morphed into full fledged automotive workshops.  Perhaps one of the most influential trends to come out of that era was the widespread use of fiberglass bodies.  Cars like this Kellison J6, for sale on craigslist in Charlotte, North Carolina, were the back yard merging of a used car chassis with a sleek new body.  At a price of $14,000, this racing inspired sports car resting atop a Corvette chassis can be yours.  Just one warning: the owner is adamant that you don’t call if you don’t know what it is!  I guess the phone has been ringing off the hook!

So, what exactly is a Kellison?  Founded by a fellow named Jim Kellison, the Kellison Car Company produced a number of fiberglass bodies for both existing automobile chassis and for those who were adventurous enough to construct their own frame.  Over a time period stretching from 1957 through the mid 1970s, Kellison bodies rode on chassis that ranged from Crosleys, Triumphs, MGs, Volkswagens and even Corvettes.  Once built, most cars ended up as flashy street cars.  Others became race cars.  The bodies were popular with both drag racers and road racers.  Kellison was a good engineer, and he was able to produce variations of each body style to suit the needs of his customers.

The car for sale is a Kellison J6 titled as a 1958 Corvette.  This series of Kellisons, known as the “Panther,” rode on a 1953-1962 Corvette chassis.  They also boasted more headroom than previous bodies and a trunk for the first time in Kellison history.  While you can hear the crying out in agony of countless Corvette collectors at the thought of discarding an early ‘Vette body to build one of these beasts, one has to remember that a Corvette was pretty much just a used car at the time.  The transformation into a low slung Kellison must have greatly appealed to some, as over 500 bodies were sold of this series.  More information, so you don’t get chewed out by the owner when you call, can be found at www.kellisoncars.com .  This website was built by Jim Kellison’s two sons as a tribute to his work, and one could spend hours there researching these fascinating cars.

Is a Kellison the perfect sports car for you?  The seller tells us that the car was on the road, and that much of the difficult work has been done.  We are also told in the same ad that the car needs a total restoration.  It sure sounds like any serious buyer would need to fly into Charlotte for a much closer inspection.  One thing is for certain.  You’d probably be the only one at the car show with such a creation.

Would you ever consider restoring a kit car?


  1. Steve

    When I was growing up in North Alabama the late 60’s a neighbor had a J6 Panther on a Corvette chassis. As a kid I thought it was the coolest car ever built! I remember that still smelled like fresh fiberglass. Don’t know what happened to it. Same neighbor later had a Tiger

    Like 0
    • David Garrison

      Growing up in North Alabama (Huntsville) in the 60’s and 70’s, I purchased a project J6 Panther. Based on a 58 Vette chassis, it had a 300 cui Buick motor and Muncie 4 speed. Car was completed my senior year in high school 1974. It was more of a toy than transportation.

      I went of to college and my dad sold the car without asking. I am still looking for it.

      Like 0
      • David Garrison

        Here is a picture of how my car turned out. We also had a couple of Vettes at the time.

        Like 0
  2. Coventrycat

    I know what the car is, and I know what he is. I’d call just to tell him.

    Like 9
  3. Dolphin Member

    There used to be lots of color ads in car magazines in the ’60s, or maybe it was the ’70s or probably both, for Kellison bodies like this. They featured women in bathing suits lounging on the grass beside the cars.

    But as good as the cars looked on the grass, you knew if you thought about it that there would be a lot of parts and work required to reach the perfect state of the cars in the ads. I never saw a Kellison bodied car on the road, but I saw lots of complete sports and muscle cars that came from factories mainly in the US and England. I admit that I ended up with factory-made cars instead of a Kellison because I never had the confidence that I could ever finish making a real driving car out of a Kellison kit.

    I’m glad to see that someone had the confidence and ability to make this Kellison bodied car..

    Like 2
    • TouringFordor

      You may be thinking of Fiberfab ads.

      Like 1
  4. stillrunners

    So I know what it is….should I call about the price ?

    Like 1
  5. hatofpork

    I know what this is-especially at 14 grand!

    Like 3
  6. jw454

    Considering his asking price…. What he thinks it is and what I think it is can’t be the same thing.

    Like 6
  7. 86 Vette Convertible

    Let’s see: no engine or transmission information listed, so assume it’s gone. One butt ugly rear end on it. no bumpers in front. No interior shots.
    This thing is going to likely take a bucket of money to get it done.

    Sorry, not my cup of tea.

    Like 4
  8. Paul Yaxley

    Looks a bit like my Jamaican

    Like 2
    • Poppapork

      Your jamaican looks 10 times better, especially from the back. Whats your car based on?

      Like 0
      • Paul Yaxley

        Thanks based on a TR4A chassis with a worked TR6, LSD, 5spd Supra gearbox.

        Like 0
  9. Mark kellison

    Since my last name is Kellison i sure wwould! Lol

    Like 0
  10. J

    I guess the seller didn’t want to field calls from those (much like the commenters on this page) who who couldn’t recognize that $14k was at least $9k below market. The car sold for $23k.


    Like 0

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