A/Gassers


CHRR 2013: Steve Casteletti brought out his classic A/Gas ’40 Willys which won the CHRR in ’95, ’96, & ’05. The Alston Chassis Works equipped ‘Hot Rod Willys’ is a true classic! Actually, except for the hood scoop, this flyer could have run at Tri State Dragway ‘back in the day’.  (Photo by Tim Marshall)

For many years, one of drag racing’s most noticed classes was that of an A or AA/Gas Coupe/Sedan! They were the kings of the huge ‘gasser’ legions which were some of the ultimate innovative creations racers dreamed up to make our drag racing scene have its character!  This writer stood next to the DA Speed Sport bridge at Indianapolis during the ’60s era U.S. Nationals and will forever cherish the sight and sound of 100 ‘gassers’ running and advancing with ‘dry hops’ to the starting line.

With present rules and categories in ‘big show’ NHRA events, much of this flare for the unusual is lost. However with the addition of the Nostalgia racing series, a new breed of A/Gas has risen from the memory of the past and seems to this writer to be more creative than ever. Make no mistakes, the heyday of the gasser was during the early ‘60s.

From my memory, one of the most unique A/Gassers from the past was Ed Bruegge’s 1948 Crosley wagon which Ed and Jim Bucher built and raced in the mid-west area during the early 1960s.

Eddyville, Iowa, 1963: One of the most unusual A/Gassers of early times belonged to Ed Bruegge of Fairfield, Iowa. The Chevrolet powered ’48 Crosley ran low 10’s at more than 135 MPH. on the quarter. And on the eighth mile at Kahoka, Mo., Ed won two consecutive Tri State Dragway season Championships in ’62 & ’63! (Photo from the Ed Bruegge file)

This writer owned and drove a lot of race cars in several classes during my thirty year career, but never an A/Gas car.  After we moved to Arizona in 1966, we became friends with Johnny Loper of Phoenix. John built an Anglia (Lil Hoss) which was a predecessor to his Funny Car stable.