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Thread: '57 Chevy gasser build
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    '57 Chevy gasser build

     



    Well, I came up with this car on a trade deal for labor. My original thoughts were to peddle it ASAP and use the money for other projects but we all know how that goes.....once ya get it, ya can't stand to sell it!!!!! Bet I'm not the only one who has that problem!!!

    Anyway, had a session with a couple old racin' pals today and we're going to attempt to build the '57 as an era correct Gasser style car and do some Nostalgia racing. I've been wanting to go back to driving instead of just building for a few years now, I'll be 60 in November so I guess it's time to make my comeback!

    I'm going to need a lot of help and advice on how things were, I had a '56 Ford done up semi-gasser style in the late 60's but my drag racing was in Super Stock cars so I wasn't involved in building or campaigning the gassers.

    Plans are still being formulated for the build, my main concern for the car is to keep things era correct, or as close to correct as safety, function, and fast will allow. So, here's some preliminaries:

    1. Big block or small block?
    2. Tunnel ram and carbs or Hilborn Injection?
    3. Real steel or glass flip front?
    4. Got to be a four speed, right?
    5. Got any pics of the big long ladder bars they used on the rear?

    Going to have a ton of other questions as we get going on the car, sure will appreciate all the input from you folks!

    I have to finish up a project for a customer that's in the garage now, then the car is coming apart for sandblasting and inspection. After everything is cleaned up and primered, the build will commence but for now I'm trying to gather all the information I can to make this thing look and perform RIGHT!!!!

    Thanks in advance for your help!


    PS---"Pepper" has signed on to do guard dog duties!!!!!
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    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, Live for Today!
    Carroll Shelby

  2. #2
    bluestang67's Avatar
    bluestang67 is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Sweet really like the Tri 5 gassers cohort at work has a 55 nice car .


    Not for sale but from the times

    67 Mustang-- http://rides.webshots.com/album/564664626GncOeE

    69 Cougar -- http://rides.webshots.com/album/582727925lNzJxr

    69 Cougar Cali parts car-http://rides.webshots.com/album/582984343EDhxru

  3. #3
    HOTRODPAINT's Avatar
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    Too Kool!

    If it were me..... being a child who grew up in the '60s.... and "lived" for drag racing.... going to the Indy Nats from '62 'til '74...

    With the straight axle, it begs for a tilt nose, with white fenderwell headers!

    I would try to find one of those old early square tunnel rams, then chose the big or small block to fit. Carbs would be much easier to set up for the street. The smallblock would be neater with Corvette covers. Of course the engine would be orange either way.

    The wheels would be unusual, and tied to the sixties, like 200S "flower mags"... something resembling Halbrands, early gray center 5-spokes, or maybe 12 spokes on the front. Maybe Keystones would be kind neat too. "piecrust slicks" would be cool.

    The interior... however much you use, would be tuck & roll. ...and there should be a chrome tach on the dash!

    The color could be anything... basic red, yellow, blue, black & white were common, but some colors identify with '57s. The aqua blue color is noticeable... or the copper metallic (I think it was "Aztec Copper")

    Maybe a period cartoon and a period name could decorate the car... along with an early engine size on the front fenders. ...like "301 Cubic inches", or "396 cubic inches"

    A moon tank should be hanging on the grill, and maybe a chute (or phony chute) out back. If you don't have a rear bumper, a vertical push bar would look right too.

    I know I can find some early square tube ladder bar pictures... but the ones that were most noticeable would have the zig-zag bracing between the upper and lower bars. They would also be about 5-6 feet long!

    Of course Mooneyes, Isky, Hooker Headers, and other period decals would need to be on the windows or body, and a fitting class designation, like A,B,C, or D/G?

    How about one of those early tunnelram scoops, with the sides curved in? ...or even a Ford Teardrop bubble, like the Thunderbolts. Anothert thing that comes to mind is that some guys used one of those plastic newspaper boxes for a scoop. I will try to find a picture of a model that I scratchbuilt one of those scoops for. :-)

    I'll have to think about that cartoon and name. Let's see... Yosemite Sam with a shotgun? ... Daffy Duck looking really pissed and "rolling up his sleeves"? ...or the Tasmanian Devil? ....or.... ???

    Names are wide open too. Fifties and early sixties song titles? ...maybe a car song like "Shut Down" ...or how about "(something) Stovebolt"? ...or maybe a period slang phrase... or :-)~

    This would just be too much fun! How much do you want for it!!! (just kidding)
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    Last edited by HOTRODPAINT; 10-25-2010 at 07:06 PM.

  4. #4
    Bob Parmenter's Avatar
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    As it sits it's got more of a later '60s vibe going for it. The W blocks never made much of an impact in gassers, and big blocks showed up in '65 and, to my memory, were a little slow in getting to the "regular" guys for awhile. Probably a matter of the devil you know (the small block) vs the devil you don't (the big block). If you were going into the '70s for inspiration (though I think the gas classes went away around '70 or so didn't they?)then I'd say definitely BB. Personally though I'd go small block with big, sweeping fenderwell headers and the Hilborns, medium stack. Tilt glass front end, but a three piece wouldn't be out of character either. I remember the Scribner Bros. car popping the hood about mid track at San Fernando one day. Hood must have shot about 30-40 feet in the air, and sort of floated down to the ground in a flat spin.

    I don't recall the big truss type ladder bars until into the '70s, the stuff in the '60s was a little more subtle. Tubular steel rear bumpers full of concrete or lead were kind of common for the mid '60s.............had one on the '39 Chev H/gas coupe. Some aluminum paneling inside would be just right, and a single thin shell or van seat. Big 'ol truck battery in the trunk for weight distribution. Plexiglass side windows in deep blue, orange, red, yellow, whatever works with the car color.
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

    It's much easier to promise someone a "free" ride on the wagon than to urge them to pull it.

    Luck occurs when preparation and opportunity converge.

  5. #5
    Bob Parmenter's Avatar
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    You want period pictures, there's a ton of them here: http://gassermadness.com/
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    Last edited by Bob Parmenter; 10-25-2010 at 07:40 PM.
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

    It's much easier to promise someone a "free" ride on the wagon than to urge them to pull it.

    Luck occurs when preparation and opportunity converge.

  6. #6
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Man, you guys are the best!!!! My memory is almost starting to function!!!

    Bob, think you're right on the 70's for the long ladder bars... did some of the gasser's have a tilt steel front?? Thinking I recall a front hinged hood on a '56 with a steel tilt front end so you could either tip the entire front forward or just open the hood.... Might of just been a one off local dude.....??????

    HRP--sent you a PM on the paint and trim---been looking at pics of cars from the era, seems many used the chrome, but most of the "name" cars had all the trim gone and holes filled????? As for a cartoon image and art work, gotta have that I believe!!! I won't even mention what some of my alleged "friends" have suggested!!!!! At coffee today one guy even asked how we were going to make a sky high '57 gasser handicapped accessible so that one of us could still drive it!!!!
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, Live for Today!
    Carroll Shelby

  7. #7
    Itoldyouso's Avatar
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    Dave, you are really doing this car the justice it deserves, putting it back in gasser trim. What you are doing is saving a piece of history, thank you for doing that.

    As for what I think you should do (and I have no right to spend your money, but you did ask ) I would:

    1) Either a 301, 327 small block OR, a 396 / 427 big block.

    2) Blower would be nice, but a cross ram with two Holleys would be very cool too, and different from a tunnel ram or 2 x 4 setup.

    3) Absolutely MUST have fenderwell exit headers.

    4) Glass flip front end.........just for the coolness factor.

    5) Noisy rock crusher 4 speed for sure!!!

    6) Ladder bars are simple. Just some 1 x 1 box tubing, with bridging struts, like the ones below.

    Don
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  8. #8
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Parmenter View Post
    You want period pictures, there's a ton of them here: http://gassermadness.com/
    Yuppers, great site!!!! been saving some of them on the 'puter for build references....
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, Live for Today!
    Carroll Shelby

  9. #9
    techinspector1's Avatar
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    Blower Drive Service makes some neat electronic fuel injection systems that look vintage....I suspect they would be way easier to tune than a mechanical system that you have to change every time the wind blows from a different direction....
    http://blowerdriveservice.com/efigallery.php

    Gotta be a fat block....

    60 inch ladder bars shown here....scroll down....
    http://www.yenko.net/ubbthreads/ubbt...&Number=351995
    If you terminate them with a Heim, install safety loops....
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CEE-2018/
    If you terminate them with double-shear bolts/nuts, no safety loops are required.

    Assuming a 7.50 or slower car, best bet for a scattershield would be a SFI 6.1, (2-disc max, SFI 1.1 or 1.2 clutch), shield has a life of 5 years before re-cert. 6.2, 6.3 is one or two years, depending on steel or titanium, before re-cert.

    Had Super Chevy Show this past weekend. Never saw so many fat blocks in one place at one time. Teched a 409 '61 Bel-Air sedan, blown 496 1951 Plymouth wagon. Lots of nice Bowties in the car show. Best paint (best eyeball) was Cobalt Blue.
    Last edited by techinspector1; 10-25-2010 at 07:23 PM.

  10. #10
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itoldyouso View Post
    Dave, you are really doing this car the justice it deserves, putting it back in gasser trim. What you are doing is saving a piece of history, thank you for doing that.

    As for what I think you should do (and I have no right to spend your money, but you did ask ) I would:

    1) Either a 301, 327 small block OR, a 396 / 427 big block.

    2) Blower would be nice, but a cross ram with two Holleys would be very cool too, and different from a tunnel ram or 2 x 4 setup.

    3) Absolutely MUST have fenderwell exit headers.

    4) Glass flip front end.........just for the coolness factor.

    5) Noisy rock crusher 4 speed for sure!!!

    6) Ladder bars are simple. Just some 1 x 1 box tubing, with bridging struts, like the ones below.

    Don
    Great pics Don!!! Just exactly what I was looking for! That's the bars that have to be under the car! U DA MAN~!!!!!
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, Live for Today!
    Carroll Shelby

  11. #11
    HOTRODPAINT's Avatar
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    Bob, You are dead on about the pipe bumpers with the end caps on 'em... and colored plexi windows would be a "must"!

    That model picture was just to show the scoop I referred to ...not the W-block motors.

    I guess a lot of my ideas are not the first things people remember... but I like to see the unexpected choices, not the ones most people would choose.

    You are right about it being a sixties concept, but by '65-'66 the setups were were evolving to wrinklewalls, automatics, and the cars got lower ...so I'd go early sixties. ...(but sadly it's not my car.) {:-(

    I did start a car in my youth that would have been similar. I boiught a '55 210 post, and put a 3/4 ton rear under it, which was popular then. I also bought a 'glass one piece front... but when I found a '57 Bel Air 2-door H.T. for $75 ...does that tell you how long ago? ...I abandoned the '55, and sold it.
    Last edited by HOTRODPAINT; 10-25-2010 at 07:27 PM.

  12. #12
    Dave Severson is offline CHR Member/Contributor Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Quote Originally Posted by techinspector1 View Post
    Blower Drive Service makes some neat electronic fuel injection systems that look vintage....I suspect they would be way easier to tune than a mechanical system that you have to change every time the wind blows from a different direction....
    http://blowerdriveservice.com/efigallery.php

    Gotta be a fat block....

    60 inch ladder bars shown here....scroll down....
    http://www.yenko.net/ubbthreads/ubbt...&Number=351995
    If you terminate them with a Heim, install safety loops....
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CEE-2018/
    If you terminate them with double-shear bolts/nuts, no safety loops are required.

    Assuming a 7.50 or slower car, best bet for a scattershield would be a SFI 6.1, (2-disc max, SFI 1.1 or 1.2 clutch), shield has a life of 5 years before re-cert. 6.2, 6.3 is one or two years, depending on steel or titanium, before re-cert.

    .
    Thanks Richard, the Yenko site is great!!! Looked at the electronic EFI for Hilborns some time back for another project....Think I'd be boo'd off the track if I had EFI?????
    Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, Live for Today!
    Carroll Shelby

  13. #13
    HOTRODPAINT's Avatar
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    That cross ram suggestion would be great too. Some early gassers did run them in the early days.

    I had lots of 409 parts in the eighties, and sold all kinds of speed parts to go into the custom paint biz. That included an M/T cross ram!

  14. #14
    Mike P's Avatar
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    ".......once ya get it, ya can't stand to sell it!!!!! Bet I'm not the only one who has that problem!!......"

    Remember me, I building a "parts car"


    Very cool Dave. I'm just a couple years younger, so I remember the ladder bars, big blocks, tunnel rams and steel tilt front ends mostly (it was the bucks up guys running the fiberglass and blowers).

    Can't wait to see this come together (whatever direction)!!!!!!!
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  15. #15
    techinspector1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Severson View Post
    Think I'd be boo'd off the track if I had EFI?????
    I don't think it's anyone's business but yours. If they're lookin' that closely, they're lookin' for trouble. Personally, I'd rather be sittin' back in a comfortable chair until next round than I would changin' pills and constantly checkin' my weather station.

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