Rusty Racer: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Gasser


What do you do with a crusty old car that you just dug out of a barn? Well, you could build a Gasser. That’s what the seller of this ’55 Chevy did. Supposedly it was parked in a barn since 1974 and only has 43k miles on the clock. It has some rust and the engine was shot, so the new owner took the unconventional route and built this. It might not be the best use for a rusty tri-five, but it’s certainly not the worst either. Take a look and let us know what you think. It’s located in Mahopac, New York and is listed here on eBay.


The interior is claimed to be original and the ratty bench seat makes me think it might just be. The floor shift, tach, and auxiliary gauges appear to be the only additions inside.


But, checkout what’s under the hood! It’s a 383 stroker with a bid four-barrel carb and headers. The power is fed through a Muncie M-21 4-speed tranny and 4:10 Posi rear end.


That’s not all though. The suspension has been reworked with ladder bars in the back and a straight axle up front. I even spotted front disc brakes under there!


This thing looks like a whole lot of fun! I’m not so sure about the gold metal flake clear coat over patina look, but I bet it’s actually really cool in person. This thing has some nice custom touches and really has that vintage Gasser look. It would be a blast to take to local car shows and the drag strip next summer!


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  1. Texas Tea

    Nice job………………………. Very cool for sure…………

  2. chris lawrence

    that is not a gasser. they had raised front ends only so as to help with weight distribution… I dont know what this is.

    • JW454

      I’ve seen and heard of cars built like this one to be referred to as a “Highboy”. However, I’m not sure that is correct of this car either. I do agree it’s too high in the rear to be a true gasser.
      I also don’t like the satin clear finish. It makes it look fake no matter what the builder was attempting to build. One final note; if you’re going to move the shifter to the floor, take the one on the column off.

      Like 1
    • Old Nasty

      If you look at the rule books of the day, gassers were not allowed to have jacked up front ends as you describe. They had to sit almost level standing still.

  3. Rocko

    Needs big fat tires in the back

    Like 1
  4. Howard A Member

    I agree, it’s no gasser, but maybe an owner’s rendition of one. Kind of a rat-rod gasser. Is pretty cool. Always liked fender-well exit headers. I’ve got news for ya’, this thing would make some noise. That shifter reminds me of some cabover trucks I drove, I’m not sure what the chain in front does and yeah, I’d remove the column shifter, as well. It kinda looks like someone ran out of resources. Could use some better safety stuff, dual brake circuit, and seatbelts, and a straight front axle is no fun, to name a few. Cool car, but I’d have finished it.

    • 68 custom

      looks like he ran out of money or inspiration, pretty nice car to be half measured, deserves better! while you are finishing this one make sure to lose the noisy and power robbing direct coupled cooling fan!

    • Randall

      And don’t forget the roll bar just in case you get in a drag race with a little yellow deuce coupe. Remember Falfa.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Randall,I DO remember Bob Falfa.( one of my favorite movies) We’ve discussed this before, in case you missed it, Falfa’s car was also the car in 2 lane blacktop ( and showed up again on Adam-12, parked in an alley) The car Falfa rolled was not the 2 lane blacktop car.

    • scooter8

      chain maybe for cheap towing hook up?

    • Randall

      Hey Howard. Also didn’t James Taylor play in that movie Two Lane Blacktop? I wonder where that 55 is today?

  5. JW

    If your going to go to all the effort to do the mechanicals at least fix the rust holes, I would strip that clear coat, fix the rust holes, give it a period correct paint job with lettering and decals of that era, then remove the column shift lever and yes add some fatter tires to the rear. With all that said I couldn’t pay more than it’s current bid of $12,600.

  6. RandyS

    Just like the flat black look before it, the clear coat over “patina” fad is over.

    Like 1
    • DAN

      million pics to show off that ugly cleat coat job.
      they think they really did something great there,!!
      telling us how they took pics in all light angles……………who cares?

      what a waste,next guy going to strip all that gunk off anyway,unless he is also some weird-o,lol

  7. KeithK

    I’m absolutely in love ! The best part about a custom is just that. It’s custom. Pulls the trigger for some. Not so much for others and that’s fine as long as it’s a driver and this one is. Sometimes half the fun of an old car is trying to keep it between the lines or is that just me? Leaving the column shift is quirky wouldn’t touch a thing. The clear coat may be a fad but for some of us it’s a means of keeping the sheet metal from returning to the earth.

    • mr. skiles

      Cool car, but clear coat over rust wont stop the rust. If it were mine I would use nomad qtrs and not lift it so high.

  8. Mark S Member

    Stroker engine 4 speed not 5 and 4:10 gears. I see this as having plent of launch but limited top end. Nothing wrong with the stroker but let’s give it some help first of all how about an over drive 5 speed trans and second how about a set of 3:75 gears out back. It will still pull like hell off the line with some top end. Of course you might want the independent suspension back and a lower stance. Last of all why do people insist on leaving these old cars looking like rust buckets you can buy a 110 v mig for about $500.00 and a half decent paint gun for under $200.00. I’ve learned that making patches and welding them in is not that hard either, car bodies are typically 22 gauge so what I do is use 20 or even 18 gauge for my patch work, the slightly heavier metal acts as a heat dam and minimizes blow threw. Make you first car a 4 door sedan use it as your practice car, then take on something like this.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mark, the trend nowadays is patina. Time after time examples like this come through here. I guess every imaginable trick and custom has been used, so the only way to have some originality is to leave it like this. Sometimes it looks ok, but I agree, I think this should be finished. While your suggestions are all great,,,for a daily driver, this is just a retro toy to cruise through the drive-in.

      • Mark S Member

        Your right about the trend and I hope it goes out of style before these old cars turn into something unusable. Some of the custom suggestions I’ve made in the past ( that I get shot down in flames for ) if done correctly, and any parts that were removed were kept with the car what was done could be undone. Rust beyond repair can not. I believe that these patina buckets are popular because they are Cheeper to do, rough work is not only exceptible but preferred, and long term ownership is not in the plan. The problem is we’ll use up quickly the remaining untouched cars that are hiding in the barns and garages now. It takes more effort and skill to make a restomod or to do a restoration and with a restomod the car looks like a fine vintage car. Your still capturing the nostalgia of a car and turning it into something that is safer to drive when you do take it out. A resto mod is not a hotrod and can be done in varying degrees such as keeping the original driveline while improving brakes and steering. Which is what I’m doing with my project. I also put in modern seat and seat belts. I plan on leaving the 6V system in place to run the basics while installing 12V to run the hidden stereo system. This seller went to the trouble to clear coat the car, but without metal prep. how long do you think it will stay on. I have a dodge truck that has the clear coat falling of the factory paint and believe me when I say it looks like $h!t. I guess to each his own but I think that this looks like a polished turd.

  9. Rando

    I like it as is, EXCEPT the clear. IF I were going to clear a patina job, I’d use flat so it didn’t look like a polished turd. I prefer my turds with no polish. lol. May as well do this with a tri 5. If you restore it, you run the risk of taking any personality out of it, making just another 55 chevy. I skip most of them at car shows unless they have something unusual to attract me. How many ways/colors of tri 5’s can you look at and really appreciate? I apreciate them for their place in automotive history, but they are all the same when restored. Or over done. Seen all the resto rod versions too. Not impressed with 17″ wheels and LS power either. Give me something with teh column shifter and the floor shifter anyday.

    • Mark S Member

      Personally I wouldn’t want this car because it is a tri five. I’m much happier with my Canadian only 51 dodge Mayfair two door hard top. You won’t see one of these at a car show very often. 13465 were built most would have end up in the rust belt of Ontario and Quebec. So rare there is very little info on it. That being said the way I’ve gone about restoring it is all mechanicals were repaired as required the brake will remain drum on the back but upgraded to disc on the front. The interior is mildly customized with seats out of an 05 LHS and the old seats in storage incase I want to go that direction. And the exterior will be painted original colours. I’m not sure if my car would be considered a light custom or a restomod maybe we’re splitting hairs trying to categorize all this. So Rando I respect your choice to leave patina it would never be my choice but everyone can do as they see fit. My feeling is this if you don’t want to end up in a row of cookie cutter cars than don’t buy a cookie cutter car

  10. Stiffler4444

    That back seat is where the “Patina” is at. Bring a black light…..

    • Texas Tea


      that’s the best post so far. Thanks for a good laugh. I agree with you……. Hahahahaa…….. I’m pretty sure that’s where I left my patina when I still could…………

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