Classic Car

These Fat-Bottomed Dragsters Will Satisfy Your Need For Gas-Guzzling Eye Candy


Are you a fan of the flamboyant liveries, elevated front ends, and huge rear tires of 1960s automobiles? So you’re probably a fan of old-school gassers. If so, you’ve come to the perfect place because you’re going to see a ton of visual candy filled with nostalgia.

Even though gassers are no longer as popular or a regular feature of the NHRA circuit (apart from nostalgia events), they are still among the best drag-spec hot rods ever made. The gasser is the pinnacle of racing vehicles in my opinion.

Yeah, they’re nowhere near as quick as the insanely-powerful funny cars, but I don’t care. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m nuts about classic cars riding on fat rear wheels and with their noses up in the air. I could drool over gassers for hours, no matter whether they’re racing down the quarter-mile or just sitting pretty in a showroom.

If you feel the same, the footage below will quench your thirst for 1950s and 1960s nostalgia gassers, as it includes a bunch of cool dragsters that were displayed at the 2023 Bluegrass World of Wheels in Louisville, Kentucky. The showcase included dragsters based on familiar vehicles from the era, but also a few cars that you rarely see in a gasser suit.

The footage kicks off with a 1955 Chevrolet Tri-Five. Yup, they’re a dime a dozen, but this one, called “Gass Hole,” is quite the attention-grabber thanks to a psychedelic livery that includes a lot of purple and pink over a flashy red body.

And it hides a massive 468-cubic-inch big-block V8 under the hood.And what do ya know, it’s parked next to a gasser based on the Tri-Five’s direct competitor, the first-generation Ford Fairlane. Also a 1955 model, this one looks rather plain in white, but it’s a rare sight in the gasser world. It also appears to be in tip-top shape from front to rear.

But did you ever see a 1967 Chevelle built into a gasser? If you haven’t, there’s a blue one that’s based on the SS 396. Of course, the stock engine is long gone, having been replaced with something larger topped by a huge blower standing tall above the hood.

How about a Mercury Comet then? Yup, sometimes I also forget that Mercury built a compact based on the Ford Falcon in the early 1960s. This one here is actually a first-year model which didn’t have a “Mercury” badge. That’s because the Comet was originally planned as an Edsel model. With the latter brand discontinued in 1959, the Comet arrived as a stand-alone model and did not become a Mercury until 1962.


Not quite a popular classic nowadays, but I love its 45-degree angle rear fins and the fact that its rear fenders are still wearing rubber debris. Speaking of unloved compacts, the Comet sits right next to “Pain in the Gass,” which is based on a 1950s classic that very few people remember. I’m talking about the Kaiser Henry J, one of America’s first economy cars. You can find out more about it in my extensive coverstory.

Back to more familiar faces, there’s another 1955 Chevrolet gasser. This one’s a bit more classy looking. Devoid of decals and finished in black and gold, it could easily become a road-looking car if fitted with regular wheels. And based on the license plate, I’m guessing that’s exactly what happens when this Chevy isn’t racing.

You’ll also see a no-nonsense first-gen Ford Falcon and a shiny metallic blue first-generation Corvette, but they’re nowhere near as intriguing as the 1955 Chevrolet wagon that pops up at the six-minute mark. Not only a grocery-getter, but it’s also a four-door version, which is not only unusual for a gasser, but also a great way to entertain your friends. Yes, this thing has a rear bench.

And what I like most about it is that it looks like it’s been dragged out of a barn. The paint is worn out, there’s a bit of surface rust, and it features a ratty front end in a different color. And it all feels familiar because, unlike the super-rare Chevrolet Nomad, these four-door Tri-Five wagons are quite common in junkyards and barns.

I can’t tell if it’s a 210 or a Bel Air, but Chevrolet built quite a few of them under the Townsman and Beauville nameplate from 1955 to 1957. And by that, I mean more than 400,000 four-door wagons, with most of them being 210 Townsman models.

And in case you’re wondering why Nomad-based dragsters are a very rare sight, it’s because Chevy sold just under 23,000 examples over three model years. So these fancied-up two-door haulers usually get restored and flipped for big bucks.

Anyway, this four-door wagon is exactly what many Tri-Five junkyard finds hope to become. Oh, and it’s called “Patches,” which is more than appropriate. But that’s enough talk for today, hit the play button below and enjoy a tour of the auto show floor.


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