Chevrolet Millers Beauty F Gas Drag Racing Car
The decade of the 1960s found the automobile subculture expanding rapidly in many directions. Racing, rebuilding, customizing, showing and cruising could all be part of a hobbyist’s lifestyle. The era was still innocent of the evolution that would make each of these weekend car avocations (such as racing or winning show awards, but not both) much more serious. For the Miller family of Waynesville, Ohio, these different opportunities presented a chance to enjoy their car all year around, and this particular car is a truly unique package that was made to “go” in the summer and “show” when the track was closed.
The Millers, Everett Sr. and Jr., campaigned this 1955 Chevrolet almost since new, running in the C/Gas division due to changes that made it no longer legal for stock-type class racing. It was painted basic white (aptly called “White Lightning”) with nicely-done hand lettering. As the 1960s ended, the Miller family decided that they would spend considerable time and money to execute additional changes that would let it be more than just another shoebox Chevy.
Perhaps the antithesis of the gasser-style 1955 Chevrolet painted only in primer featured in the cult film Two Lane Blacktop, Miller’s Beauty is painted bright red with well-executed lettering. The flip-up nose (complete with dual low-profile hood scoops) and the doors are made of fiberglass in keeping with the car’s racing use; the remainder appears to be the original sheet metal including the decklid, since the idea was also to shift as much weight rearward as possible. With radiused wheel openings trimmed with gold paint and F/Gas lettered in the rear quarter windows, it looks the part of a serious player.
For the driveline, the small-block Chevy engine (which has been moved back in the chassis for better weight transfer) was reworked with a set of angled-stack Enderle injectors; gold-anodized valve covers, chromed headers and other detailing make it show-worthy by any measure; the racing-type fuel tank is forward-mounted here. It is backed with a four-speed transmission and a chromed 9-inch Ford-style differential equipped Summers Brothers axles, plus vintage Goodyear slicks on polished aluminum Centerline-type wheels.
The car has the suspension changes normally seen in 1960s era Gassers as well. In fact, in addition to the drop tube front axle under the Chevrolet’s front end now, there is included in this lot the spare true straight front axle that would like give the car notably more rise if installed. Like most of the undercarriage, both axles are chromed and detailed for the show quality application, as are the front leaf spring packs; Centerline rims are mounted up front. Inside is a custom dash, vinyl covered bucket seats, T-handle Hurst shifter with Line-Loc and reverse lockout, custom toggle panel, and chrome-plated four-point cage.
The car is unrestored since its show days and has the light patina associated with vintage vehicles, adding to its unique authenticity. With a 1966 NHRA Nationals decal and 1972 Dayton Auto World dash plaque still in place on this car, this is a truly noteworthy vehicle that possesses both the heritage of 1960s racing and the quality of a 1970s national.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in September 2009 at the Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California.
Small-block Chevrolet V8 engine, four-speed manual transmission with T-handle Hurst shifter and Line Loc, nine-inch differential, drop tube front axle, four-point roll cage.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel