Gasser Race Cars Rumble Into L.A.’s Automobile Driving Museum
The cult of racing has helped create some interesting vehicle styles and trends over the years, but few have the unique look or panache as Gasser race cars. Easily recognizable by their jacked-up front suspensions, Gasser race cars were but a quick flash in the overall scheme of automotive racing, but the Automobile Driving Museum in L.A. is opening a new exhibit to honor these timeless racers that will run from July 18 through August 10. As the story goes, Gasser race cars were created to compete in the NHRA Gas Class starting in the early 1950s and running until 1970. The distinguishing raised front end was a result of a beam axle front suspension that was borrowed from a truck, which helped in relocating the engine for improved weight distribution. This can easily be seen in the above image of a ’57 Chevy Gasser (image credit: Bobcat301/Flickr). Although these cars had to remain street legal with functional headlights and windshield wipers and a factory wheelbase, the rest of the cars were free to be customized. RELATED: Check out Roadkill’s Hemi-Powered ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser
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For the most part, Gasser race cars were light cars with short wheelbases, and the museum says that the early ‘40s Willys coupes turned out to be among the favorites. As you can see below, even the iconic Ford Mustang wasn’t impervious to the Gasser treatment. Chevy small block and big block V-8s were popular engines for use in Gassers, but like the cars themselves, racers used whatever they could get their hands on.
Although it’s not exactly clear what will comprise the actual “Tribute to Gassers” exhibit, if you’re going to be in the L.A. area this month or in early August, it definitely sounds like a must-see event. Better yet, the museum will be hosting a huge car show on August 2 featuring at least 80 cars not including a special display for Robert Rey’s Royal Pro-Motion Gasser cars as well as food, music and videos.