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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since i live in a country where there are less than a handfull of the real deal gassers... and i havent been able to visit USA yet to look at the survivors.., how was the quality of gassers back in the days?
Where they all out showcars with superb bodywork and paints, or where most of them backyard builds with focus of going fast only?
A friend of mine that goes to California two times a year to visit shops and races says some of the survivors he have seen has been typical backyard builds with close to poor quality, compared to some of the build we see today.

Just curious :cool:
 

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Hi Marius
The quality of craftsmanship was less then stellar, however they concentrated going fast and that coupled with the lack of technology back then, some were even scarey ! ! Back in the early 90's I had a few old Gassers come threw the shop for some restoration, and although the way the cars were built, they did hold together for what ever race time it had endored. The bodies were riveted or brass was used, and the fit and finnish was not perfect. But today if I found one in that exat condition I would do nothing to change its history. Now not sure I would race it :D but I sure would show it off. :D
 

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There were far more backyard built gassers back in the height of gassermania than there are today, and more built on a shoestring budget too. A lot of guys ran their cars in the gas class and weren't competitive because of a lack of funds, and those cars were understandably not as high tech as the guys who were national competitors. Cars like Stone Woods and Cook, or Big John Mazmanian were in the minority when it comes to show quality fit and finish.
I've looked at numerous old race cars that actually competed and passed tech, and I'd be afraid to ride in them. Some of the steering geometry and stick welded frames look like they'd fly apart at any speed over 35 mph.
I agree with Steve as far as keeping them similar to what they were if found, but I'd have to at least go over welds, and make steering safe if I found one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Steve and Vall! Its very sad (for me that is) that im not able to go to the shows and races to see these gassers in person. But luckily for me you guys are around to tell me a little bit about it.
I have had a hard time believing all the crazy old cars where as good as those made today, so thanks for comfirming my thoughts.
And i agree, dont change it...its history (a few welds would be okey i guess).
 

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There were many of "backyard" variety of gassers built by young guys back in the 50's prior to organized drag racing.

My '40 Chevy was one of them..... no thought of anything except getting a bigger late model engine into an old car.
 

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My Falcon's paint was done by the two guys who built the car in the 60's. They both worked at a Ford dealership in the Chicago area. One Friday they just looked around the service area and found the green paint. They took it home and painted the car that night. It's not very good, but the story is great.
 

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It was ALL about getting the most horsepower one could afford into just enough body to pass tech...

I remember quotes like "if it won't run... chrome it!" :D :D :D
 

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I built my first gasser in 1968 with my, '57 Chev. It was crude, and my tools and skills were pretty basic. I didn't own a welder, but had access to one, so I measured and made numerous trips to a friend's garage to fabricate mounts for the straight axle that I could bolt on the frame. I was able to fabricate a bolt in installation of a '59 Chev truck axle with my fabricated mounts.
In the rear I pulled the stock axle and took it over to my friend's garage and cut the perches off and welded them on the top of the axle. Then hauled it home and bolted it back in. Pulled the stock 283 and built it on the floor of my dad's shed. No engine stand, so I had to roll the engine over as I worked on fitting pistons, and assembling the engine. I built three engines in that old converted chicken coop, on the new plywood floor, and pretty much stained the floor permanently with oil and dirt! :)
When it was done it looked very cool, and all my friends loved it. My mom wasn't so keen on it, as I had purchased the stock '57 Belair from her, and she kinda thought I ruined it. It was typical of what many gassers were back then; just a good car that was tweaked to make it a street strip car.

There are a few books out that cover the period gassers well, but unfortunately none of them really get into suspension and the builds. They do have tons of great history, and lots of good pictures though, and well worth buying if you can find them used on Ebay. My alltime favorite is "Gasser Wars" by Larry Davis. He set the standard for all other books to follow, and really did his research when putting it together. Used to be able to find hardback copies for $35, then they went nuts, and softback was the only thing available for under $50. Now it's tough to even find his soft cover printing for less than about $60, and hard copies going near $200. If you can find a soft cover copy near $60, I'd sure get it, as you'll enjoy all the pics and history.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I looked up that book on ebay, and you're right, $200 it is! I could need that money in parts right now, but i have saved it in my memory. Wife should get me this for next x-mas :D Not so much into reading books, but that is exactly my kind of book.
Great to get some feedback on this guys!
 

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Yikes! Looks like paperback versions are going $200 now new, and used for $119! I better take better care of mine! Greasy fingerprints all over it! :)
 
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