What got you hooked on Gassers?
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Thread: What got you hooked on Gassers?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Marks63PontiacGasser's Avatar
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    What got you hooked on Gassers?

    My love started when I was walking downtown where I lived (small town in WI) in 1964 or 65. Our town was a big hub of car guys that would come into town and do what we called scooping the loop. We had a lot of actual race car guys right in our town that would also meet in town and caravan out to Union Grove Great Lakes Dragaway about 18 miles away. It was not unusual to see 8-9 cars on trailers and then 10-20 cars all driving to the strip, all together.
    That night I was downtown and I noticed a dark blue '57 Chevy Gasser and what I remember was a Willy's open top Jeep type Gasser. It looked alot like a VW Thing but with a Jeep front end. The '57 had the firewall cut way back until the front of the motor was even with the old firewall location. Moderately high front axle but I don't remember if it was a tube axle or a front beam axle like a '55-59 chevy pick up front axle. The '57 was running a chrysler (Dodge, Plymouth) big block and push button auto trans. Don't know if it was a 440 or 426 wedge or could have even been a short deck type 383 etc. But definitely a Mopar. Could not see the engine in the Willy's but whatever it was it was also set back into the firewall and was a push button auto trans. So I assume a mopar motor. Probably has a lot to do with why I am obsessed with engine set back in my cars. I think both cars were either built by the same builder or the guys may have been best car buddies or even family since both cars were built very similar. Both had the same sheet metal work to move the engine back and both had the gas pedals located on the passenger side so the driver had to straddle the trans tunnel with their right legs to work the gas. They were in the local bowling alley and I never got to hear them running when they left. Never saw them again. We lived about 18 miles southwest of Milwaukee WI so they were probably from there.

    Lets hear all of your stories or reasons for loving Gassers. I like hearing about how people got involved in these decisions.
    Last edited by Marks63PontiacGasser; 01-09-2020 at 06:46 PM.
    It's not a period gasser but it is what I would have built had I been of age to back then.

    Yesterday I was so far behind that the guy in front of me was me!

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  3. #2
    Administrator 1946Austin's Avatar
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    Mine started before I was old enough to drive Mark. I was probably 9 or 10 and my next door neighbor was a gearhead who had a '56 Chevy with a SBC engine that was the gnarliest sounding engine I've ever heard. He could barely let the clutch out without spinning the tires, and he only drove it Fri. and Sat. nights on the local streets. His son was the same age as me and we hung out together. I recall the first time he offered me a ride in the '56 and when he took off from a light going through the gears on the 4 speed I was hooked!
    As I got older I used my money from mowing lawns and working on my uncle's farm to get a subscription to HotRod magazine, and buy model cars. My first model was either SWC's '41 Willys or Ohio George's '33 Willys. But most of my models were gassers because back then they were the top dog at the drag strips and looked a lot like cars we saw running the streets on Sat. night!
    In 1966 I bought my mom's '57 Belair and after driving it for a year the engine lost a piston. It blew a tiny pinhole through the piston, so I bought a new one from the Chevy dealer and tore it down to install it. While it was apart I decided the 283 two barrel needed some help, so I began a mild build up. I bought a Duntov 30-30 cam, and swapped for a aluminum intake and 4 barrel carb. Then I sold the old Power Pack heads and found a pair of 1.94 double hump heads. Reassembled the engine and added chassis headers.
    I drove the '57 for several months with the much faster 283, but I still wanted to do more to make it that gasser look. So I bought a truck axle from a '57 Chevy pickup and began tearing the front suspension out. Had no idea what i was doing, but somehow I muddled through putting the truck axle in. I put some longer shackles on the rear, and then heavier leaf springs with more arc to raise the back equal to the new I beam axle. I rolled out of the backyard where I built it and onto the street out front. I got out and walked across the street just to stare at my car. I still remember how happy I was looking at the stance, and overall appearance of what I built. Then my mom came out to look and said, "You ruined my '57." and walked back in the house. But my dad came out and looked at it and said, "Nice work." So all was balanced again! He added that it wasn't mom's car anymore, so whatever I did to it was just fine with him.
    Vall

  4. #3
    Senior Member sbauman2's Avatar
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    I had to go

    back to May of 2012 to find this post so I could copy and paste it below.

    I think probably everybody has a particular experience that really hooked them on cars. For me (I was 15) it was the car the dude that was dating my older sister had. It was a red 39 Chevy Coupe. It had if I remember a simply badass 421 Olds with dual quads, fenderwells, up in the air, etc. The one thing I remember was when he took me for my first ride. We went to the end of the street, he turned it around, straightened it out, pulled out a handle from the dash (a pressure valve for the hydro he was running) and told me to hang on. He could have given Jungle Jim Liberman lessons on how to do a burn out. That car lit those tires up FOREVER; and I was forever changed.........

    To update what got me into gassers (besides the above mentioned Chevy) was my very first experience at the drag strip and what an experience it was. It was about a year after my ride in that Chevy. Through a buddy I became friends with a guy by the name of John Flannagan. His mother was one of the grand daughters of Agusta Busch, yes, that Bush; of Anheusher Bush. One weekend John asked my buddy Art and I if we wanted to go to the drags, the 1966 Winternationals to be exact, and he had some VIP passes. We got out to Pomona, went to the event office and were given our "all access passes" and I mean "all access". We walked out to the area around the starting line right out there by Buster and the very first drag car I ever saw was the SW&C Willys with that blower surge coming to the starting line. I can't remember who they were racing, if it was Mazmanian I'm sure I'd remember that candy red paint. I was just mesmerized by the SW&C car. They staged, the lights came down, both cars launched and were gone; what a fucking rush. I was from that day forward a gasser guy..........
    Steve Hidden Content MOB in sunny So Cal
    "and the beat goes on....................."

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  6. #4
    Senior Member mmhotrod's Avatar
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    Im gonna say 2 cars I saw got me hooked on gassers. One was from the movie Hotrod 1979, and the other was on our hometown track on Long Island. Somehow I ended up with one of them as my very own. Not the exact car but same body style. Im still waiting for the other one to show up.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Weasel.jpg   maxresdefault.jpg  
    Mario





    "I post the work on my hotrod, not because it's the best way, rather it was the way I had to get it done with the resources I had.................
    Of which I might be an encouragement to other hotrodders".

  7. #5
    Senior Member sbauman2's Avatar
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    Mario

    some years back I purchased a dvd of that movie on ebay. The only problem with the movie was the script, they should have made it a silent movie except for the sounds of the cars LOL. The copy I bought is a bootlegged copy with a cover insert with the rather long title of "Nothing Beats a Willys With a Hemi". I loved the part where they stole the Hemi out of that one guys race car!!!
    Steve Hidden Content MOB in sunny So Cal
    "and the beat goes on....................."

  8. #6
    Administrator 1946Austin's Avatar
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    The whole movie is on Youtube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6ichMKl2IM

    I loved the part where the guy with the gold Olds says, It just isn't performing. I've been up all night with a timing light." Maybe it's time to do something else besides check the timing?
    Vall

  9. #7
    Senior Member sbauman2's Avatar
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    Another line

    from a different movie reminds me of what you just said Vall. In Two Lane Black Top the mechanic played by Dennis Wilson seemed to have one answer to problems; something like "I think she's running a little lean/rich gotta check the jets." Although that's definitely more possible that what you posted about timing.
    Steve Hidden Content MOB in sunny So Cal
    "and the beat goes on....................."

  10. #8
    Administrator 1946Austin's Avatar
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    Yes, at least jets would make it lean or rich. But speaking of rich. The guy with the Olds is the son of the root beer king, and he's supposed to win the whole shebang. But he doesn't get any help from a professional mechanic to ensure a win? Really?

    And I also found it interesting that Sonny's Olds was normally aspirated for the first 1:14 minutes and no hole in the hood. Then Brian puts a supercharger on the Hemi Willys and there's Sonny sitting beside him in the pits with a supercharger suddenly peeking through the hood!
    Vall

  11. #9
    Senior Member mmhotrod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbauman2 View Post
    some years back I purchased a dvd of that movie on ebay. The only problem with the movie was the script, they should have made it a silent movie except for the sounds of the cars LOL. The copy I bought is a bootlegged copy with a cover insert with the rather long title of "Nothing Beats a Willys With a Hemi". I loved the part where they stole the Hemi out of that one guys race car!!!
    LoL yeah came out of a cop car.
    Mario





    "I post the work on my hotrod, not because it's the best way, rather it was the way I had to get it done with the resources I had.................
    Of which I might be an encouragement to other hotrodders".

  12. #10
    Senior Member mmhotrod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1946Austin View Post
    The whole movie is on Youtube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6ichMKl2IM

    I loved the part where the guy with the gold Olds says, It just isn't performing. I've been up all night with a timing light." Maybe it's time to do something else besides check the timing?
    that was kinda corny. LOL
    Mario





    "I post the work on my hotrod, not because it's the best way, rather it was the way I had to get it done with the resources I had.................
    Of which I might be an encouragement to other hotrodders".

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