Blood may be thicker than water, but oil is in there somewhere, too. Lou Kanellis' Super Bee is family-has been for over 24 years now. This Ottawa, Illinois, family history goes something like this:
Lou's White '71 Dodge Charger has been leaving tracks down Memory Lane since Lou was in high school, where he laid down five Ben Franklins for the car he found on a Chevy wholesale lot in 1977. Lou was only 19-the Young Guns aren't new to Mopar.
"This car has so many memories," says Lou. "Proms, Florida trips [wasn't afraid to drive it, that's for sure], drag racing."
Ah, yes, the good ol' days, which just kept getting better for Lou.
"It was driven on our wedding day."
That sounds nice, but the devotion went a little further still: The wedding cake was in the shape of the car.
"Tami [Lou's wife] has been with me for the whole ride," says Lou. He claims his entire family enjoys the cars (yes, plural-we'll get to that shortly) as much as he does.
Most of the Kanellis clan have been there since the beginning-literally. Two of Lou and Tami's three children were brought home from the hospital in the Super Bee. Kinda raises grocery hauler up a level, doesn't it?
The Bee's first restoration began in 1978, one year after Lou first bought it. The second restoration was in 1981, with the third beginning in 1984 and continuing, in some aspect, to the present.
This Kanellis family member is in great shape. Lou did all the body and paint work himself, covering the car in White enamel and the standard yet sporty black side stripes. The air grabber portends what all the buzz (sorry, couldn't resist) is about regarding this Bee. Down below is a fully stock rebuilt 426 Hemi, sporting 10.25:1 compression, cast iron heads, and is backed by a Pistol Grip-selected four-speed. The block, rods, heads, valves, springs, and rocker arms are all factory stock. Inside we find the original black carpet and owner-installed vinyl, as well as an AM/FM radio, factory sunroof, power windows, and a rear window defogger.
"Some people have sponsors to restore their car," says Lou, "but I have done it with my own hands and my own money-just for the love of my Super Bee."
And love it is. The Kanellis family takes good care of their "first love," showing the Bee at shows and participating in cruises.
But the love doesn't end there-the kids have caught mom and dad's passion. Maria has a Sassy Grass Green Z-28 (she's young-it'll pass). Billy has a '70 Duster-a father-son project-and young Janny is looking forward to her 16th birthday (still many years down the road) so she can get a Pink Road Runner. Lou also has a '71 Challenger 383 convertible and a '67 Hemi R/T.
Quite a family: Lou, Tami, the kids, and the White '71 Super Bee that's been there since the start-not to mention the garage full of "siblings." With the Kanellis Young Guns catching on, seems like the good ol' days will just keep coming.