The GEEZER GASSERS….Go West, Young Men!
By Martin Libhart
Among the most exciting of the 1960's drag racing classes were undeniably the gassers! The popular Willys, Chevys, Fords, and Anglias, with their short wheelbase and big-inch, blown engines, starting line launches were something to behold: wheels up, then seemingly on the verge of losing control as they careened towards the quarter-mile marker! The “Gasser Wars” of old created a fan base that has endured over time, now making these vintage gas class warriors - whether restored originals or "re-pops" - a top draw at nostalgia events around the country.
Don Moyer in his Rebel Reaper Willys coupe.
THE GEEZER GASSERS is a group of drag racing enthusiasts living their dream. Nearly all were racers (legal and perhaps otherwise) “back in the day” and are now experiencing fun, excitement, and friendship with their dream cars, the 60's look gassers – built per the NHRA Gas Classes. Members cars are either updated originals from the past, or purpose-built creations that accurately replicate the cars from that period.
The early days of the Geezer Gassers go back to the late 1980s and early 1990s when the nostalgia drag race movement was in its infancy. True head-to-head competition for these cars was becoming a thing of the past, replaced with bracket racing programs. The old-time “real racers” yearned for the good old days of side-by-side racing for the stripe, when you didn’t lose by arriving to the finish line ‘too quickly,’ thereby “breaking out!”
Chuck Lipka, GEEZER GASSERS Director, out of Eureka, MO.
Chuck Lipka is an old-time racer from the ‘60s, and is the director of the GEEZER GASSERS. With fond memories of his early days of nostalgia racing, and having several friends with cars under construction, it didn't take long before this group of old racers joined the GOODGUYS activities. There was just one problem - they were all old school, head-to-head racers. The first car to the finish line was the winner, right? A member of the group, saying “whoever heard of losing a drag race because you went too fast,” best expressed their frustration with bracket racing.
This tradition of the GEEZER GASSERS has lived on for over 30 years. Once again this year, the group decided to make the tow to Bakersfield for the 25th Anniversary California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway. And a long tow it was for many in the group, with one traveling from New Hampshire, others from Indiana, Michigan, and other states east of the Mississippi River.
Traditional, period-correct gassers are often a fond sight in California, where many cars running in the gas classes today are no longer period-co rrect. To say the least, this group was a crowd favorite at Famoso!
Kirk Dupree running out of New Hampshire.
Wayne Stine in “Haymaker”, always with a nice wheels-up launch. - Randy Addington out of Muncie, IN, in his ’37 Chevy.
Greg Porter’s ’55 Chevy. - The lovely Cassandra Hicks, backing Greg Porter in for another hard launch.
Tod Barker in “Lil’ Bit”, out of Marlow, OK.
Jeff Cryan in his beautiful “Ron Bizio” Willys pick-up. One fast hot rod.
Roger Plate, driving the second ’37 Chevy gasser owned by Randy Addington - Roger Plate with green lights and a hard launch.
Final staging for John Swick. - John Swick at the hit.
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