The Locomotion: 1955 Chevrolet Dragster

1955-chevy-locomotion

In my opinion, the ’60s and ’70s were the golden era for drag racing. There were all kinds of amazing drag cars built during the time period, with everyone trying to find new was of getting down the quarter mile faster than ever! It really was an amazing time for the sport. This ’55 Chevy isn’t one of the most famous dragsters built during the era, but it definitely is a cool piece of history and represents the times well. It was built around 1960, but saw use all the way into the ’80s. At one point it was part of Wes Johnson’s team “Locomotion” and it still wears the teams colors! It went into a barn in ’85 and was there until 2007. It can now be found here on eBay in East Haddam, Connecticut with a BIN of $18,500.

chevy-locomotion

As was the case with most drag cars, this Chevy has seen it’s fair share of different power plants. Most recently it’s been running a 454, but it’s had everything from a fuel injected 331 to a big block. It comes with the last 331 that it was raced with, but it’s seized up. The seller has removed the 454, but will include it for extra. Hopefully the 331 can be rebuilt, as it was a serious power plant prior to being parked. It was supposedly running in the high 10’s, which must have been a trip!

1955-chevy-210

While I’d love to see the Locomotion on the street, it really belongs at the drag strip. While there were lots of cars built for racing back in the day, many were driven till they were no longer competitive. They were then stripped of anything useful or valuable, with the rest just being scrapped. Having a fairly complete and intact racer from the golden age of drag racing is incredible and really should be preserved. So do any of you remember seeing this car run in Virginia?

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Comments

  1. CelestialGryphon

    Rebuild and Race. Get at it.

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    • RS

      Got to disagree. This old artifact from the era of weekend drag racing in decades past is too worthy to be raced, at least on a regular basis. I’d get it running, take it down the strip a few times to dial it in and then park it facing out of my open garage door. After decades… “It’s alive! It’s alive!” Real, running piece of history.

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  2. Doug Towsley

    That would make a SWEET Yard ornament for my place!

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  3. Charles

    That is so freakin’ cool! Would love to drive this on the street and have one of those rice burners with a wimpy muffler come up beside me at a red light! Would blow it off in a second!

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    • Chuck

      Hey Charles, we think alike (must be the cool name) don’t forget the wimpy muffler has a coffee can extension & that makes it even more intimating with the hopped up sewing machine sound.

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      • Rob

        I always think they sound like a weed eater hopped up on Mountain Dew. There’s no replacement for displacement!!

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      • Bill Lawrence

        When I was young you could buy a good kazoo at the dime store for 5 cents. Now you have people paying $30,000 for one.

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  4. Jack

    Looks like the 55 in the movie “Two Lane Blacktop” racing for pinks against GTO!

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  5. Prowler

    A couple I saw last weekend in jefferson

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  6. Prowler

    A couple I saw in jefferson over the weekend

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  7. TC

    “Return to Macon County”. Was a lesser known “car” movie featuring a young Gary Busey in a ’55 racer

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  8. Prowler

    Nice

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  9. Prowler

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  10. TC

    I was a little off on my comment a couple posts up. Return to Macon County was Nick Nolte and Don Johnson in a ’57. My bad😬

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  11. Loco Mikado

    A classic Gasser with solid axle in front. Also popular in this class were Henry J’s and Studebaker’s back in the day..

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    • DrinkinGasoline

      Ahem ! Let’s not forget Ohio George Montgomery’s ’33 Willys Malco Gasser.

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  12. Blindmarc

    Id love to bring this out to my street race nights and shut all the ricers down….

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  13. stillrunners

    TC you got it…..that was a pretty good movie too !

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  14. Prowler

    .

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  15. RoughDiamond

    Oh that ’55 has such a great cool factor and to think that from new, all but five years were spent on the drag strip. My guess is more opponents saw the taillights of Locomotion during competition than the other way around.

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  16. Rolf Poncho

    Yes! get it back on the race track

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  17. Doug Towsley

    Well as cool as it is,,,,, Upon further reflection, #1) for a used race car that is a LOT of Peso’s, Dinero, Pounds, Rubles, Lira, Sheckles, Marks, & $$$$$.
    #2) As cool as it is, Unless an avid racer, You would get more fun out of it on the street and driving it on a regular basis. Too cool to hide away and only take it to play a few times per year.
    INSTEAD, (Again rather expensive) But I am thinking best use is to buy one of those Cheap C6 Corvettes, Slap this body on it. And build a replica of a Pan American race car for the street. (MUST have accy. “La Cucaracha” Melodic horn)

    ““No cop was ever born who isn’t a sucker for a finely-executed hi-speed Controlled Drift all the way around one of those clover-leaf freeway interchanges. Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. Your normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side when he sees the big red light behind him… and then we will start apologizing begging for mercy. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop-heart. The thing to do when you’re running along about a hundred or so and you suddenly find a red-flashing CHP-tracker on your trail what you want to do then is accelerate.” (RIP HST)**

    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ISEzLP4tsA
    How cool would that be to liven up your dreary commute to that dead end job of yours?
    Plus your neighbors in the sub-division will just LOVE you!!!! Pick up your kids after soccer practice??
    ***Triple bonus points for anyone who correctly ID’s that quote and the author.

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    • Rob

      Hunter S Thompson

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      • Doug Towsley

        Dang, that didnt take long.
        One of Americas most entertaining authors.
        ““Over the years, we worked on some promising projects that Hunter could do while never leaving the Farm. One was The Gonzo Book of Etiquette, a radical updating of Emily Post that would instruct modern people on such niceties as how to tell your parents that your significant other is a drug dealer; how to cope with partiers or guests who won’t leave when the festivities are over; how to respond, legally and shrewdly, to various forms of police interrogation (the „What Marijuana?“ as we called it); what to wear to a wedding between a rock star and a stripper; how to explain what a Deering grinder full of coke is to your mother-in-law; how to get the car keys away from a drunk without being stranded; using guns safely around drug abusers, and so on. I don’t know why he was never able to sell that concept.”
        ― Jay Cowan

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    • Rando

      HST from Fear & Loathing in LV. One of my favorite reads. Although watching the movie is exhausting.

      With that out of the way, this car is just completely awesome. I would love to own it and be able to drive it to cruise nihgts and the like, just like it is. I know it should probably be raced, but I’m too old for that kind of behavior…lol

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  18. GRAY WOLF

    And in that extended coffee can that made all the noise was metal parts from scattered engine components trying to catch AMERICAN MUSCLE! Here, Here!!

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  19. Blindmarc

    My little cul de sac has two fox bodies that are uncapped. I would love to bring out this general.

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  20. Car Guy

    The thing I like about this 55 is the owner actually spent the time to form a factory looking lip on the rear fender opening instead of just hacking it out. It would make a great nostalgia drag car.

    Speaking of movies, did any of you guys see the movie “Hotrod’s to Hell”? It had a 55 Gasser with a straight axle in it as I recall….

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    • RS

      Hot Rods To Hell! I saw that movie on TV when I was in grade school back in the late 60’s and numerous times since. I actually wrote a report on it for school. And my parochial school was so conservative we weren’t allowed to wear sneakers to school… it was a real act of rebelliousness to turn in a paper about a movie called ‘Hot Rods to HELL’.

      It has to be said, this is one corny movie. Watch the view of the family in their old Plymouth after a harrowing encounter with the wild ‘teenagers’; most of them are reeling off a litany of overwrought anxiety and relief and terror expressions. It’s pretty funny. It’s worth watching, I’ll say, but not because it’s good. It’s for those who enjoy bad cinema.

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  21. Bobsmyuncle

    Wow I can’t believe I missed this. It’s a ton of dough, obviously relying on nostalgia. Seized engine and no tranny.

    If I had the funds I’d be dangerously considering this. I’m glad I don’t.

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  22. elchinero

    Beam axle + engine moved back through the cut-out firewall put(s) in “Altered” class. Probably not much fun on the street … p-poor handling and cramped driver’s area …

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    • Doug Towsley

      Yes, as currently set up it is ONLY good for the track. Dont overlook the rear end ratio as well.
      Its overpriced no matter how you slice it. But its a still a cool car. I still say if the price was right save the original parts (Race) but restomod it as a Pan American race car for the street. Perhaps set the body on a donor chassis and you would be ahead of the game in all kinds of ways. (Brakes, suspension, handling, and all the bits and pieces). Period 50s or early 60s NASCAR type would be cool too.
      (Smokey Yunick was my hero! And his books and magazine articles are still pure gold!)

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  23. RS

    I’d buy it if it were practical and affordable. Take that car out of that old photo and put it right in front of me… there is something to be said for bringing history from an old photo and plunking it down live and in color before you.

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