496 Big-Block Gasser! 1956 Chevrolet 210

I’ll have to refer to this one as way-cool! It’s an old-school style gasser, a drag-strip staple from the ’60s. There is no mention of when this car was set-up as in whether it is a holdover from a while back or a more recent creation, but based on the powertrain choice, it’s probably a recreation. We’ll find out soon enough. This ’56 Chevy is located in Litchfield, Arizona and is available, here on craigslist for $19,500. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip!

Wikipedia defines a gasser this way, “Gassers are based on closed body production models[clarification needed] from the 1930s to mid-1960s, which have been stripped of extraneous weight and jacked up using a beam axle or tubular axle to provide better weight distribution on acceleration (beam axles are also lighter than an independent front suspension), though a raised stock front suspension is common as well. Common weight reduction techniques include fiberglass body panels, stripped interiors, and Plexiglas windows…“. While they got their start in the ’50s, there was plenty of action in the ’60s too. Willys seemed to dominate the Gasser class but Ford Anglias, and yes tri-five Chevies were active participants as well.

This beast is powered by a 496 CI V8 “rat” motor that the seller refers to as a stroker. GM actually produced a production 496 between 2001 and 2009 that they designated as an 8.1-liter motor. It was a 454 CI unit with a longer stroke crankshaft and saw use in Silverado/Sierra pickup trucks as well as Suburbans and Yukons. I imagine this version is quite a bit more robust internally than that production version. The seller claims this car to be “very fast“, I bet! the seller states that his Chevy utilizes a Turbo-Hydramatic 350, three-speed automatic transmission but the pan looks more like that of a 400, a better choice for hard strip use. There is a 3.73 limited-slip, ten-bolt axle outback, not exactly what I would expect to find under a big-block gasser but it has probably undergone some pretty serious modification – it would be interesting to know how it has been built. This Chevy has street cred too as the seller advises, “street legal All lights, turn signals, brake lights work“.

The body, paint, chrome, and underside of this original bodied Chevy are all straight and beautiful. The minimalist exterior treatment lends some subtle credibility without going via the “murdered” look that so often adorns cars like this. This gasser is in possession of a cheerful exterior presentation but not too cheerful. Absent the front bumper and the nose-high attitude, which tells you that something’s up, it really looks like just a hopped-up ’56. There are numerous images included, check out the fabrication work on the front axle and rear ladder bars, wonderfully executed!

The racing treatment continues indoors, it’s not as gutted as a dragster is frequently found but note the missing door panels. The seats were a bit of a surprise too as they look more suited to comfort than they do racing support, and of course, there are two of them and not just a driver’s seat. I don’t detect a rollbar and then it’s probably not necessary either. I recall reading that certain classes that break into the under 10-second bracket at NHRA sponsored tracks require it but I’m not positive of that and would ask for input on that matter from our readership – no idea what this gasser is capable of on that front but I doubt it’s that quick.

I cannot attest to how serious a race car this Chevrolet 210 is, the seller offers no documentation, records, time-slips, etc., and the fact that it looks to be utilizing a fuel tank instead of a fuel cell calls its racing aspirations into question. But, as a nostalgia racer or even an occasional use street machine, this Chevy will be a fun car. My question to you is, have any of you had track experience with a car like this? Do you have any stories that you can share?

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    This is 100% street car. It would instantly get bounced out of tech at any track. The worst thing is, there are no vintage parts used on this car. Usually the owners of fake gassers at least try and use a few era correct speed parts, whoever built this car didn’t even do that.

    Steve R

    Like 13
    • Tony Primo

      Yeah, not era correct reproduction but just like numbers matching is not a big deal to everybody. $19,500 for a turn key, rust free ‘56 Chevy is still going to be attractive for a lot of people.

      Like 16
  2. Troy s

    Steve nailed it, this is a street rod,, built to look like an early gasser. Not a bad thing either.
    Ten bolt, 3.73 gearing, turbo 350,, all behind 496 cubic inches of raw big block power. Not the set up I’d expect even for serious street work. But hey, it does look awful menacing.
    I believe the 496 was first seen in Can Am racing way back in the early seventies, although I never saw that bore and stroke combo in an actual car until a few years ago..stuffed in a 240 Z of all things with wheelie bars and license plates, crazy sh_t.

    Like 7
    • Norman Wrensch

      The transmission is definitely a turbo 400 not a 350. So the trans would be strong enough but the ten bolt rear would leave something to be desired.

      Like 4
  3. retiredstig Member

    I have to admit, when I saw ‘Big Block ‘56, I was excited, as this is a combo I’ve been looking for as a new project. But the use of inadequate parts in the drive line suggests budget was a serious consideration with this car, which does not bode well for the rest of the build.
    Replacing them would add to the expense before getting to the fun stuff, so I believe I’ll pass on this one, thx.

    Like 1
    • JCA

      Inadequate parts? A TH400 built trans and a 10 bolt built right will handle this HP with no issues. I don’t think you can build this for $20k or even less for cash as the seller stated. Seems like a good deal to me if I was in the market for this.

      Like 7
  4. Rixx56 Member

    Like it even w/it’s weaker components.
    Would be fun to occasionally drive this
    around town. ’56 is my favorite tri5.

    Like 4
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    High quality work on this one whatever it is supposed to be. Sure wouldn’t be easy to miss this thing cruising down the street.

    Like 3
  6. EPO3

    Put a spring on that clutch pedal and pretend your having fun

    Like 1
  7. Dave G

    Its a 56 Chevy…Great year for the bowtie Cool car

    Like 1
  8. Showbiz

    Loose the blue and the seats , would improve the nasty look a lot.

    Like 2
  9. jay bree

    Bargain buy…………..

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