The Mindbender: 1955 Chevrolet Gasser

Vintage race cars are some of the coolest cars to find and bring back to life. This 1955 Chevy is no exception. Named “The Mindbender” it appears the car was either sponsored or (more likely) built buy Atlanta Speed Shop. It can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $6,900. Said to be found in North Carolina, it currently resides in Redford, Michigan and appears to be worthy of another chance at glory.

The current engine is a small block Chevy. It’s hard to tell if this was an engine that actually powered the car previously or if it was just mocked up in place of the actual power plant. You can see the only thing holding the front fiberglass fenders in place is a basic cross member which leaves a ton of room to fit a monster engine. If you had a blank check, what would you use to power this car?

The interior has been stripped of the front seats and creature comforts. It’s a little weird to see a stock steering wheel. Maybe this car was more show than go? The door panels feature awesome diamond pattern upholstery, along with the rear seats and side panels. The stock dash looks mostly intact. I’m a bit surprised that there isn’t a bit tachometer mounted somewhere in front of the driver.

Atlanta Speed Shop appears to still be in business and is located in Gainesville, Georgia. It is unknown if this is the same Atlanta Speed Shop that is called out on the fenders of this car. Either way this looks like an awesome project for someone. I hope this car gets another lease on life and is rumbling under its own power soon.

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Comments

  1. Ike Onick

    “Two-Lane Blacktop” Dennis Wilson and James Taylor as gearheads. Lousy movie. Warren Oates and the GTO Judge should have been the stars.

    6
    • Howard A Member

      I agree, the movie stunk, but had some good street racing shots. BTW, that car in 2 Lane Blacktop, was also Bob Falfa’s( Harrison Ford) car in American Graffiti, and also showed up in an episode on Adam-12 focused on street racing.

      11
      • Little Cars

        Was that the same episode of Adam 12 where Marty Milner’s sidekick (can’t remember the character’s name…stiff as a board acting chops) gets into a race with his own car? I seem to recall this was one of those “very special episodes” to promote safe driving habits.

        3
  2. Andre

    This thing was listed on The H.A.M.B a few years back. I’m not convinced it’s authentic.. If it was built in the 50’s-70’s it certainly wouldn’t fit the definition of a “gasser”.. Maybe a low-buck stop light racer..

    8
    • Steve R

      He’s right. Other than the lettering, which doesn’t match the aged appearance of the rest of the car, there is nothing to suggest this was ever a race car. The front SST wheels were far to heavy to have been used on a race car back then, they were the street version of the Cragar Super Tricks, their presence suggests street car or a swapmeet “ value purchase”

      The seller has a great marketing plan, letter up an old abandoned car. Toss on some fiberglass fenders and claim it’s an old race car. It’s currently at $6,900, which seem really high for a completely gutted roller in this condition.

      Steve R

      6
      • Beatnik Bedouin

        Considering the lack of roll bar, no hole in the floor for the gear shift, etc. I’d agree that this is not an old Gas class racer, but a street machine made up to look like one.

        Oh well, dreams are free, it’s reality that’s expensive.

        10
      • P T Cheshire
      • TriPowerVette

        @P T Cheshire – You have perfectly illustrated my brother and my history, and that of so MANY loyal BF readers: We wait until some hairbag lays waste to a cool car, then we painstakingly and lovingly put it back together. When they are finally offered for sale by the coarse and ignorant owners, these magnificent warriors have had the life support plug pulled.

        You need many thumbs up; (One for every forlorn castaway, everyone here has loved back to life).

        4
  3. Todd Priest

    Building and/or owning a gasser is on my bucket list. Not sure I’m physically able to anymore but I’d sure try if the right situation presented itself.

    4
    • TriPowerVette

      @Todd Priest – I’m with you. I just told the BF readers about my 1968 442 project, and I am 66 years old! But I wanted the car so bad, that I am jumping. We shall see whether I have one more in me.

      This 55 makes me think not only of “Graffiti” and “Two Lane”, but of the Hemi project documented on RoadKill.com.

      If you accomplish it, they’ll have to kill the smile on your face with a stick, 2 hours after you die.

      I guess what I am saying is, I’d rather go out swinging, than looking wistfully at what might have been. I may bollix the whole thing, and turn it over to someone with more money / youth or both, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

      15
      • PatrickM

        Loce your attitude and enthusiasm! Hope you win!! Sic ’em!!

        3
  4. Alexander

    When I read a Craigslist ad that uses the term “badass” I think of a very young gearhead who happens to have collected enough parts to pull off the “racecar from the 1970s” theme. But, looking at the cabin, we have an automatic car, no hole in the floor, no additional holes for added instruments, and what’s left of plush carpeting with diamond-pleated upholstery. This is a weary boulevard racer. I hope the price stays fair. Not sure the rear radiused wheel arches were done very well either.

    3
  5. Wayne

    I am with you guys, A gasser without a solid front axle? I don’t think so. Street racer or bracket car maybe. I had a teacher in high school (Bob Bethell) who had a ’55 with a 383 Mopar with a Clutchflite. He used the push buttons to shift. Cool car but not much more modified than this car. ( he did run bracket class)
    It still needs to be a race car in my opinion. It still needs a roll bar or cage, aluminum interior door skins, hood scoop and a BIG tach!
    Drop in whatever you have around ( engine and transmission wise) and go grudge or bracket racing. Just the nostalgia of the car will get attention.

    4
    • P T Cheshire

      FYI all gassers in the lower classes didn’t have straight axles. My 55 has been a gasser since my dad built it to run D/ gas in 1962. Powered by a 301 Chevy,3 speed stick, 3/4 ton truck rear with welded spiders and 5:13 gears, springs and a half with ball joint spacers. I bought it from him in 1969 ran a big block, 4 speed in MP class and put in a Dana 9 3/4″ rear. I put a Speedway straight axle in it 4 years ago along with a 320 inch 1955 GMC truck 6. here’s a pic in 1965 Hamptons NY.
      Still has potential but at half the price. Biggest issue to me is the RagTop. X frame under it. Adds a ton of un needed weight.
      Pluses are side mount engine mount kit and the rear springs are already move inboard for wide rubber.

      6
      • TriPowerVette

        @P T Cheshire – Your experience in this is greatly appreciated.

      • madbrit

        I own a 1955 Chevy D/Gas car. I found it as a beat up rusting hulk and restored it to its present condition. It is a 4 time NHRA Indy Nationals Champion (63, 64, 66 & 67), it won Street Eliminator at the inaugural NHRA World Finals at Tulsa OK in 1965 and is a National Record Holder.
        It does have an oval tube straight axle from a Model 60 Ford of around 1938/9 vintage. Started off running a Pontiac rear end and ended up with a 3/4 ton Chevy truck rear with welded up 6.33 gears. They used the locator arms from the truck as a primitive form of ladder bar. Ran a 301 small block with T-10 4 speed and Hilborn style injection which was a one-off custom design using a custom cast manifold and the injectors and fuel pump from an Al-Gon injection system. It has full glass and front seats, which I think were a rules requirement at the time.

        4
      • TriPowerVette

        @madbrit – We’re not worthy… we’re not worthy… we’re not worthy.

        1
  6. Derek

    Looks like it has glass in it. Glass is really heavy and high up…

    1
  7. ROTAG999

    Needs more Bondo in the left 1/4……..KNOT !

    2
  8. madbrit

    Just love the period pop rivets securing the vin plate…….. LOL.

    Also, the “B” looks a bit suspect too.

  9. Alexander

    Time has not been kind to this ol’ 55. The HAMB listing from 2015 shows it in much better condition — wheels shiny, floors clean, trim loose but photographed separately from the trunk of the car. Really good undercarriage photos too. Perhaps the seller now bought it in 2015 to pick off of and is now selling the part of the car he didn’t need three years ago.

    1
  10. Doug

    Similar look to what we ran on the street back in the mid-’60s if you remove the lettering, which would have been a cop magnet ! Lots of guys used dropped ball joints instead of going to the expense & hassle of a straight axle – “Lift bars” ( the predecessor to ladder bars ) would have been added before mods to the front suspension in most cases. The only automatic that would have been used at that point behind a Chevy V8 for racing would have been a 4 speed Hydramatic , like what the famous B&M Hydro was based on. ( ” Slip and slide with Powerglide” was a common phrase back then .)

    3
  11. sluggo

    Seems the price is a bit high for what it is. (Core for a build) However its still cool, however it has possibilities for some one with ambition. The issue is if the price was adjusted how flexible is the seller?
    Seems a vehicle becomes toxic when its clear its been on the market for a long time. Called a “Dog eared deal” by some,, because its been chewed on for so long. Once it gets that stink to it, it becomes very hard to sell. It MAY be a solid deal but once people have that perception it becomes a problem.

    3
  12. George

    Looks like the back may have been a racer at some point, but not necessarily a big contender. Probably bracket racing as someone mentioned. The fiberglass front was never on it during any of its racing career though. It probably started its new life in the 60s.

    1
  13. George

    However that “Mind Bender” paint over the patina calls authenticity into question.

    2
  14. Justin

    This my old car and I’m the who had it lettered. The car does not a have any race history. It’s just an old field car that was one of a package of car that I bought from a guy in NC. I thought I might build a second car to run in the Southeast Gassers, I have currently run a 56 called “ol dirty bastard” . The 55 is ruff as hell and need alot of metal work. It was named after an ol Rollercoaster at Six Flags over ga, the same coaster us called the Joker now. I sold the car to a shop in Detroit and they were going to restore it. The car has popped up for sale a few time over the years. The Atlanta speed shop has nothing to do with this car, I’m friends with the owner of the shop and thought it would be cool to pay homage. The car is basically the same as when I had it, but it had a cross ram intake, if it’s the same motor it used to run and had a mean sounding cam.

    3
  15. Little Cars

    Justin, I’m glad you surfaced to give us a little of the scoop on this car. I could tell that even 3-4 short years ago the car was more complete. Most of us could tell that the lettering was done recently. Thanks for the insight. So, did you get the cross ram intake for yourself?

    1
  16. Dave at OldSchool Member

    Gasser ??? The motor is still mounted forward of where a true competitive gasser would be

  17. Tony T

    <> Old school indeed .. and props for noticing the engine NOT being shoved back the allowed 10% of the WB

  18. Justin

    I picked the cross ram up at a local swap meet, though it might look cool on the car.

    1
  19. Justin

    When I had the car, it didn’t have any motor mounts, so I guess someone just stuck it in there for looks.

    1

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