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Gasser Project: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

“Gasser” is a term that was coined to refer to a type of drag race car from the 1950s and 1960s. But the difference from other cars on the track was that the modifications still enabled them to run on gasoline rather than racing fuel. We’re told this car was built for racing in 1977 but hasn’t been active in a while since it’s devoid of an engine or transmission. Located in Union City, Tennessee, this once hot heap is now a shell of its former self, but it’s available here on eBay where you can take it home for $13,500 or make an offer.

From the days of running moonshine to the formation of the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association), racing would take the country by storm. When the shift to the so-called Gassers occurred in the 50s, they began to look different than what would otherwise be stock. These vehicles often had a raised straight-axle suspension that helped shift weight from the front of the car to the rear. They were also stripped of anything unnecessary (like chrome pieces) and were painted up to look as crazy as possible. The Tri-Five Chevies were a good choice for these conversions as they were both light and plentiful.

This ’55 Chevy Gasser was built on a Bel Air 2-door sedan of which nearly 169,000 of them were produced by GM that year. It may have served as a family car for more than 20 years before it entered the racing world. The VIN identifies it as a V8 to begin with, using Chevrolet’s new 265 cubic inch V8. That engine – along with whatever eventually replaced it – is long gone, as is the automatic transmission that was employed.

We assume the buyer will want to turn this back into a viable race car as it would be cheaper to do that (I think) than try to recreate the car as it was when it left the assembly line. The raised spindles are there, along with drag-style wheels, and a fiberglass front clip (again, to reduce weight). The sheet metal portion of the car looks okay, but it could have its share of filler, but we don’t know. What would be your plan for this former race car?


  1. Stan

    Love the nose 👃 up stance, and wild 😜 🤪 paint 🎨 on the gassers. 😎

    Like 7
    • Doug

      I say put it back as a gasser… wouldn’t wana go “street/strip”
      GOOD LUCK to the owner (lot of good memories there

      Like 9
  2. Howard A Member

    We’ve beat the “2 Lane Blacktop” thing to death, I got quite a chuckle out of when Jay Leno presented James Taylor with an exact replica of the car, he was less than impressed. Fact is, he said he hated the movie so much, he never did see the final cut.
    I was, however, enlightened to hear, Mission Snacks is stepping up to the plate for NHRA drag racing through 2026, so it’s not over yet. Cars like this literally defined our American drag racing heritage, and smaller venues are popping up on the remaining race tracks, just for fun. Remember that? Cool find. Anyone else recognize the state of the art fuel cell? A VW gas tank, this was budget racing 101, and I miss it dearly.

    Like 17
    • Howard A Member

      Oh, one more thing( Columbo), I’d love to have seen Aunt Frannies face when she saw what junior did to her beloved Chevy.

      Like 4
  3. Mark P

    Awe it’s got that shifter we all saw in all of Charlie’s Angels cars. Their Pinto’s and Mustang II’s. Seems really out of place.

    Like 4
    • Robt

      True, rare to see any ford piece in a chebbie. That shifter got the job done. Love to see somebody use what they have or can get ahold of to get the job done.

      Not a big gasser fan, but when they are right, yes.

      Like 1
      • Robt

        A true junkyard dog.

        Like 1
  4. Jay E. Member

    Ever since Blastphemi came into existence, I have been a huge fan of these (I always like Falfas car too).. I’d probably follow Finnegans path and put a new chassis and modern powerplant into it, but maintain the beater look. A not to Alex Taylors 55 too.
    Great candidate.

    Like 7
    • Jamie

      Ditto! My thoughts, exactly! Good plan. 😁

      Like 1
      • Bill McCanless

        Gassers are still going strong! This 55 Chevy is NOT worth what they are asking for it.

        Like 2
  5. Rw

    Would like to see pics of the front spindles I have seen some very sketchy set ups before..

    Like 3
    • Pete blackmon

      Purchased a 56 belair hard top was going to put a axle under it, man you think i was commiting a major crime

      Like 3
  6. Anthony H. Tellier

    “Gas Coupe/Sedan” is/was the NHRA term …
    allowed beam front axle, Hilborn FI, engine set-back, “glass”, etc,

    Like 3
    • Papa Bear

      Don’t remember what old Ste Gen drag strip had, but what ever it was, NHRA,IHRA or AHRA, the straight axle put you in a class called Hot Rod. This would have been early, mid 70’s.

      Like 0
  7. Steve

    Wondered why it sat so high in the front…I guess no engine will do that.

    Like 0
    • Jerry from NY

      Set up high on purpose for weight transfer to the rear M&H racemaster slicks

      Like 7
    • David Michael Carroll

      Never seen a classic gasser??

      Like 1
  8. Jose Rovirosa

    Eventually this is exactly what I want to build. Too bad I don’t have the time/space/disposable cash at the moment to devote to another project, otherwise it’d be mine.

    Like 0
  9. Bill

    Someone call @finnegan999 this looks like the one he did on @roadkill

    Like 0
  10. Philbo427

    Love gassers but would be cool if someone put a Hellcat engine in this!

    Like 0
    • Raymond Goshorn

      I think you might want to check out Finnigans 55; the Blashphemi has a Dodge ORIGINAL hemi in it. Love the car but the guy that owns it is just not as classy as he should be. His shot at making 1000 h.p. with all natural induction or something makes it sound like if you have a turbo, blower, fuel injection or something other than carbs, you didn’t do anything, or something like that. Respect is loving race cars for being race cars!! I went 10.80’s in 1969 with my 68 Camaro, 2 4brl carbs only, but I went 9.82 at 139 with just a little shot of go juice, and running a 4 spd and 3440 lbs. I love ALL race cars!

      Like 1
  11. SamM

    Anyone notice the grade-school chairs for seats? Run whatcha got.

    Like 0
  12. jim

    Rat Rod

    Like 0
  13. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga Member

    Brings back great memories of building 1/25 AMT and Revell models in the basement…..ahhh…. the smell of Testors glue!


    Like 2
  14. William Stephan

    Everyone is speaking about the lifted front and weight transfer, but what brings this ol’ bad guy to the table? Its the 50% engine set back; hence the giant doghouse. Back in the day when guys didnt know when to say when and no scatter shields when the flywheels woud bust the crankshaft, and a few dudes lost feet/legs. Im in love all over again!

    Like 2
  15. William Stephan

    Sorry to Anthony H. Tellier. I didnt see the NHRA comment about set back. That was also a major deal at the world of wheels in Chicago 1972. We had a ’53 Belaire with an axle and 396 and lost out to a highly chromed ’55. The judges took a second look and awarded us a first place trophy for an “unmodified” engine mount. Ours was called “Bits-n-pieces” and the ’55 was “Candy-Dandy” in red with a 30% engine setback.

    Like 0
  16. Greg

    Old school and COOL

    Like 1
  17. St.Michael

    2 lane black top….

    Like 0

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