Gasser Madness!

Gasser Madness!

As of late, I’ve had early Fords on the brain. I’ve been checking all our favorite classifieds day in and day out looking for that pre-war gem. Banger? Flathead? Roadster? Sedan? Buy a stocker or an old project that ran out of steam? I plan details, crunch numbers and scribble in my notebook. “I’m going to build something traditional, mid-’50s style,” I’ll say. “Case closed.”

I’m fortunate to say that much of my work consists of sifting through photos from hot rodding’s best years. From dry lakes to drag strips, these seemingly ancient snapshots provide an inside look into another time and place. Sometimes the cars and their environment are in black and white. Sometimes they’re in color. But today we get to move the needle one step further, because now they’re in motion. This video from the Jackson Brothers may be familiar to some of you, but I stumbled upon it earlier in the week and figured it would definitely be worth watching again.

Let’s take a trip back to Fremont, California, in the mid- to late-’60s. Many would argue the true heyday of the Gasser had come and gone by the time these machines hit the track. The big, fat-fendered Willys had fallen out of favor in the AA/Gas ranks, and lighter Model 77s and short-wheelbase Anglias, Austins and Thames were taking control.

This new breed sat lower and pushed the envelope further than ever before. With chrome and Cragars and blowers and injectors and multihued panel paintjobs, these Gassers were nothing short of radical. Stationary, they’re visually delightful. Launching off the line with butterflies open and front wheels shimmying, they take on whole new life.

Seeing these cars charging down the quarter mile—doing what they do best—kicks me back to the brainstorming phase. Build a Gasser-style street car? Sounds like fun. More classifieds searches. More H.A.M.B. thread research. More notebook scribbling…

Well, uh, the jury’s still out on what’s coming next. In the meantime, here’s a little bit of quarter mile action from one of Northern California’s most legendary tracks.

Joey Ukrop

 Video by The Jackson Brother, lead photo from the H.A.M.B. 

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