The gasser. No, it’s not what you call your weird uncle after eating too many sweet potatoes at the annual holiday get-together, at least, not for the purposes of this article. Gassers were the product of drag racing’s exploding popularity in the U.S. through the 1950s and 1960s, so-named because they ran on pump gasoline as opposed to race fuel. As such, they typically had massive engines with superchargers reaching higher than the roof, and the front end was jacked way up so as to better transfer weight to the back. You know, like the vintage Shelby Cobra seen here.
Someone actually turned a corner-carving Cobra into a gasser back in the day? No, or rather, not that we’re aware of. This fictional creation is the exquisite product of Abimelec Design on Facebook, and as far as renderings go, it could be one of the most realistic we’ve ever seen. Gassers were based on street cars, and they usually wore a flamboyant metal flake paint job with eye-popping graphics to grab the attention – and presumably the hearts – of race fans. It was also common practice to have the exhaust exit the front, and these Cobra renderings feature all of the above in impressive detail. The images even have a grainy filter to better replicate photos taken on film with a vintage 1960’s camera.
Chrysler Hemi engines were the go-to mill for racers back in the day, and while we suspect there are plenty of purists upset by even this fictional Cobra Hemi creation, it certainly fits the gasser profile. Calling this car Viper is also both appropriate and ironic, considering the modern-day Viper was also a Chrysler-sourced product.
It might seem bonkers to even consider converting a million-dollar Cobra into a goofy-looking straight-line racer, but back in the ‘60s these cars weren’t million-dollar machines. In fact, they weren’t even collectible – that didn’t happen in earnest until the 1980s. And actually, there were a few Shelby-built Cobra drag racing models back in the day, but none had the proper flamboyance of the gasser era as captured in these very cool renderings.