Poppy Red Onion: 1962 Corvette Gasser

One of my favorite periods of automotive history in the United States is the 1960s and early 1970s. Between the muscle car era, the beautiful styling, the horsepower wars, and the hype of racing, it was automotive nirvana. This 1962 Corvette gasser not only fits all of the criteria above, it is an original gasser that was raced from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. Find it here on eBay in Manchester, Maryland, with an asking price of $65,000.

Gasser cars (named for the class they drag-raced in, A/Gas) began racing back in the mid-1950s, and were typically based off of 1930s and 1940s Willys, Ford Anglias, and other lightweight cars. Solid-axle Corvettes were popular as gassers, with the most famous being the one built and raced by Big John Mazmanian. This 1962 Corvette, raced as the “Glass Onion” (named after a 1968 Beatles song), was built as a gasser in 1968. Originally a 327 fuel-injected car, the original engine was swapped for a L88 427 big-block built by Dick Harrell Performance. From 1968 to 1987, the car raced in AHRA and NHRA events throughout the Midwest, winning an AHRA Regional Championship in Oklahoma City in 1969, a NHRA points meet in 1970, and a slew of other events. It has also won countless trophies at car shows in the Competition class. After its last race in 1987, where the car ran an 11.04 at over 110 mph with its current drivetrain, the car was converted to street duty. The body and graphics appear to be original, and look amazingly cool. I love the split dual exhausts and aftermarket slotted mag wheels with thin blackwall tires up front and M&H slicks in the back. The Poppy Red paint is a huge plus for me as well.

If you were hoping that the L88 427 was still in this car’s engine bay, I’m afraid you’re going to be a little disappointed. In its place is a built 454, which ran an 11.04 at over 110 mph back in 1987, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. The Muncie M22 Rock-crusher 4 speed manual is still in place (with a Schaeffer clutch), as is the 1957 Pontiac rear that was swapped back in 1968 (though it now has street-friendly 4.11 gears in place of the bulldozer-like 5.38 gears). It should be noted that the front suspension is stock Corvette, with a lift kit as the only modification. The M/T valve covers are a huge bonus, as are the white headers. Much like the rest of the car, the engine is clean, and I would leave it as-is.

Surprisingly, the interior is fairly stock, with a Sun tachometer, Hurst shifter, roll cage and fire extinguisher being the only major modifications. The black interior nicely complements the Poppy Red exterior, and I dig the period race vibe. The wood steering wheel nicely complements the black interior as well. The helmet looks like it’s from the late 1970s or the early 1980s, and I love those seat belts. Overall, I dig the heck out of this car, and judging by its condition, this car needs nothing. Factor in the vintage trophies, and you have a show-ready car ready to add a few more trophies to its collection. I would take this to car shows and nostalgic drag racing events and make a couple passes down the quarter-mile. What’s your thoughts on this gasser Corvette?

Fast Finds


  1. David C

    This reminds me of the vette used in the old movie “Hot Rods to Hell”. That one was a 1958 but had a similar look.

    Like 2
    • JRATT1956

      I watched the movie a couple of years ago with my brother, after finding a copy on the internet. Boy was that movie lame. Burn out sounds on gravel, oh ya, special tires I guess, lol. Of course watching the movie as young teenagers back in the 60’s, we thought it was Bad A$$. Anything with fast cars was fun to watch, nothing has changed, except the special effects are 1000% better today. I am a Fast and Furious Fan, for sure.

      Like 2
  2. ron bajorek

    Pretty Cool

    Like 2
  3. Jan Ruble

    The one thing I would want to change is the rear housing, I have never been able to tolerate the wheels protruding like that. I know it is period correct but….

    Like 1
  4. KevinW

    Very cool, badass Vette! Cruise your local strip and scare the pants off the Honda, Toyota gang!

    Like 1
  5. z28th1s

    Cool looking car!

    The ET and MPH doesn’t quite add up. A car that runs an 11.04 ET should have a MUCH higher trap speed than 110 MPH.

    • Mike McCloud

      Yeah, IF ya drove it on the street it’d be for the best, EXCEPT (!) it wouldn’t be the Real Deal, it’d be like any tubbed Vette-new, or older. The point is it’s restored to an ‘as Original Racer’ & this is how it was then. Access to machine shops aside ( which Mazmanian had ), very few racers, other than all out dragsters or Fuel Altereds bothered with narrowing rear axles. I don’t think John even bothered doing that with his ’41 Willys either. We didn’t have the tire selections we do now for one thing, the other was; with the limited tire selections we had, we needed the widths anyway; it was more stable longitudinally.

      Like 1
    • Mike McCloud

      It does sound weird, it bugs me no end, but( back in the day) ‘they’ also said that according to a slide rule, more than 150 MPH in a quarter mile was impossible! Today’s speed are astounding! I have to resort to ‘The Twilight Zone’ when considering such things with no sane answers! Must fit into The Theory Of Relativity—-or sumthin’ !

      Like 1
  6. CMARV

    Rod Saboury sells nice cars .

    Like 1
  7. Rustytech Member

    I thought when I saw the picture that this car looked familiar. This car has been around central MD for many years. I remember seeing it run at several MD drag strips when I was in my teens and early twenties. It has also showed up at car shows in Md and Pa for years. She was fast!

    Like 1
  8. Graywolf

    What can I say! What a statement piece! This car is BITCHIN TO THE 10th POWER! Little tuff to get your Lady into the passenger side!

    Like 2
  9. Rocco

    This looks to be a great Hot Rod! You hardly find any stick shift Hot Rods any more, let alone an M-22. You can tell the man and wife love Corvette’s.

    Great story!

    Like 1
  10. Big Ed

    I was 18 in 68 and didnt get to see this car race at Capital Raceway, Budds Creek (MIR) or Colonial Beach. There was a guy that was track champion at 75&80 Dragway with a Vette just like this. The last two strips mentioned were 1/8 mile strips which might account for a 1/4 mile 110 mph with so much gear. I put him on the trailer with my 13.5/1 406 ci sml blk Camaro with a hole shot. I ran 11.30’s @ 119 mph with a 4.11 gear and 5k stall. (580 hp & 7000 rpm red line @ 1/4 mile). DC is my home and raced all over Md. Love this Vette!

    Like 1
  11. El Chinero

    Gasser Gas(oline) Coupe/Sedan … from AA/Ga to F/gas … pound per cubic inches … one carb wouldn’t cut it …it was all Hilborn …

    Like 1
  12. 1st Gear

    Dyno tune it,super sticky tires-hello low-mid 10’s. Low 11’s for this thing don’t sit right-‘specially with the trap speed indicated

    Like 1
    • FatBack Racing

      The article didnt specify what rpm’s the engine was turning @ the 1/4 mile; but it had way too much gear and the motor was probably redlining at the 1000′ timer. Thats gearing would’ve been suitable for an 1/8 mi track. Light car , 600hp he didn’t need any gear, turn some mph!

      Like 1
  13. FatBack Racing

    The article didnt specify what rpm’s the engine was turning @ the 1/4 mile; but it had way too much gear and the motor was probably redlining at the 1000′ timer. That gearing would’ve been suitable for an 1/8 mi track. Light car , 600hp he didn’t need any gear, turn some mph!

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