The appeal of the gasser, your opinions

redlinederby Monday, 5/5/2014
Site manager

Just hanging around here at Redline Derby it doesn't take long to see that the gasser style of car is popular. Even on some TV shows I've seen several gassers as star cars. Then when I discovered the Lamley Group site I saw they had a survey of which cars people liked best, and in that list was a Bel Air gasser. I voted for my favorite (not the gasser) and then saw the results which were overwhelmingly for the gasser.

So just wanted to get a peek inside your heads as to why you find the gassers so appealing?

Or maybe you don't, and I'd like to hear your side of the story too.

Personally, the gasser is not a top pick. It's not exactly low on my list of favorite car styles but when lined up against others it probably won't be my top pick. If I had to pick a reason why it's might be the overall stance of the car is just weird to me. Or call it "the line" or whatever but the gasser ends up looking like a mistake to me.

Essentially any car can be made into a gasser but when that happens I just can't help but look at it and go, "they ruined the character of the car." Some car styles do lend themselves to becoming gassers than others...and maybe that's the trick, just finding the right body for the mod. However, the more gassers I see, the more I feel like the list of body styles is really, really short.


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tnfishdaddy 5/5/14

I like them but can't really put my finger on why. I will be honest, I didn't grow up a car guy. The first time I ever saw a gasser was on Gas Monkey (I know that's not the name of the show but I can't remember the real name) when they built one. Not my first pick but I like them.

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JDC442 5/5/14

My number one pick will always be the muscle cars.  Didn't even know what a gasser was until I joined the RDR mail-in race scene.  I think it must have been Smitty who got us going on this type of car.  

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model40fan 5/5/14

ah, the venerable gasser...

  the gasser was born in 1956 when NHRA banned fuel, [nitro-methane], they became gassers because they ran on gasoline, most raised the nose to help transfer weight to the rear wheels...some ran bigger rear wheels, some shortened the wheelbase, hence the hogged wheel wells, removing the inner fender panels to save weight made room for the fender-well headers, improvements to rubber compounds, lots of donar cars,  the US. being between wars, and lots of returning soldiers with cash, gave drag racing the boost it needed to become big ! ...

  as far as hot wheels go, the early cars are easy to customize, the later cars are a lot tougher, so the converting to a gasser is not just cool but a fairly easy way to customize most '50s, '60s and '70s cars... 

... GO RLD GASSERS GO! ...    

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Milton-Fox 5/5/14

The gasser is my favorite look for the Tri-five Chevy run.  I prefer the primer or flat paint builds and also like the race stickers and door logos.  The remind me a lot of how pilot/crews individualized their planes.  Not my favorite over all as many Corvettes body and builds are in front of the Tri fives, but probably a top 10.

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redlinederby 5/5/14
Site manager

Well, it's good to know I'm not the only one that learned what gasser was thanks to all the mail-ins and customs going on here. Who would have thought this site could be educational? Ha!

  • we're educational ?. will there be a test ? — model40fan
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delta6 5/6/14

The history only makes it more appealing, thanks Smitty. Honestly, I started collecting mostly for racing since I joined the club, but the '55 Gasser is one of only a few castings that I have a hard time leaving on the pegs. I like old cars and muscle cars and when I first saw the Gasser on the pegs I thought it just made sense. I think it played a popular role in automotive history even though it didn't come off a production line, but I also really like solid rat rods. When I was in high school a crazy old timer used to say, "different strokes for different folks."

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KandORacing 5/7/14

Why did my comment on this thread get deleted?

   Gassers have a special part in Drag Racing/NHRA history. Like Smitty mentioned above, there was a Fuel/Nitro ban, because Nitro and backyard amateur chemistry and car stuff don't always mix. = Dangerous.

The ban happened, and it caused people to get even more creative. The time Gassers started happening, that the same time dragsters started getting two engines, and all kinds of experimental stuff started happening.

Long story short, the Gassers sort of evolved into the AFX class which sort of evolved into the Funny Car class. That, (Funny Cars) helped Drag Racing become really Really popular in the 70's.

Gassers were part of the evolution of the sport. Probably a big part of the appeal is nostalgia, like baseball fans loving Fenway Park or Wriggley Field.

I always thought the Willys was more or less the "perfect" Gasser.

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