Unless you just crawled out from under a rock or have been doing the “Rip Van Winkle” thing for the past 10 years you know that hot rodding has gone full circle back to the roots of rodding with traditional hot rods dominating the scene. It seems street rodders understand hot rodding is as much about a time period as it is about cars and so hot rod styles from the ’40s through the early ’70s are coming on strong. Those of us who were cruising local hometowns in the ’60s were treated to a barrage of hot rod options. In the early ’60s there were still a healthy number of vintage hot rods, ’28-48 hot rods were still plentiful, but drag racing was coming on strong with most locations having several active tracks. This brought a whole new genre of cars, drag race cars, some dual-purpose cars that managed to get the owner to work all week and race on weekends, while others were dedicated race cars. Professional drag racing was growing with great rivalries in the top fuel, altered, and gasser ranks. Then, by the mid-’60s the muscle car movement was in full swing and suddenly factory hot rods were thrown into the mix and onto the strip. A day in the pits in 1965 would see plenty of Tri-Five Chevrolet gassers, along with some Willys, Anglias, and Austin gassers, next to a ’62 409 and a new GTO. Yeah, it was one very cool time period, seemingly with everything going on at once, a time period that many traditional hot rods love to revisit.

We can hardly discuss today’s mid-’50s to early ’60s hot rod resurgence without addressing the burgeoning gasser movement in our hobby. A natural offshoot of the wave of popularity surrounding the traditional hot rod, the gasser movement is really gaining traction. Straight-axle cars, nose high stances, piecrust slicks, velocity stacks, and colored Plexiglas windows are all making a huge comeback. For many people, the term gasser and Tri-Five Chevrolets are synonymous, and we must admit few things quicken the pulse more than a straight-axle ’57 with no front bumper and white fenderwell headers.

In the early ’60s street-going gassers were every bit as common as traditional hot rods and wicked ’55-57 Chevrolets prowled the streets and dragstrips in search of worthy competition. The cars were not nearly so precious then, so taking a Sawzall to quarter-panels and cutting through the side trim in the process was just part of the build. Tossing front bumpers, hood emblems, and other unnecessary chrome items were considered standard fare and a dash-mounted tach was mandatory. Yes, the ’55-57 Chevy was a big-time choice for hot rodders in the ’60s. When the big-block arrived they quickly found their way between the rails of the Tri-Five Chevrolets.

Mag wheels were developed for the growing number of drag race cars, originally cast in magnesium aluminum versions for street cars (and more budget-minded racers) sold like proverbial hot cakes. Yeah, hot rodding was going wild and it seemed everyone was modifying their car, and gassers were leading the action at the local drags, and on the street. Windows full of “kill stickers,” lightweight bucket seats, Hurst shifters, they all made up the lightweight, go fast, be bad gasser movement, and now, it’s all coming back. Happily there is a fresh supply of steel bodies on the market and now aftermarket frames make building a gasser even easier than it was in 1961.

Woody’s Hot Rodz has just introduced their all-new ’57 Chevrolet gasser chassis aptly dubbed “Full Wood.” A study in modern fabrication, the chassis it beautifully finished. The utter simplicity of straight-axles front and rear make this a very attractive way to go. The nosebleed stance is a compliment of the straight axle up front. Modern disc brakes make stopping at the big end a bit less of an adventure and modern steering makes prowling the streets easier. Brake options range from the base GM units to the latest offering from Wilwood. Out back an all-new Currie 9-inch housing is located via parallel leaf springs that have been positioned for proper stance and additional tire room.

While this is standard fare in bare roller configuration, remember Woody’s Hot Rodz is a full service rod shop and they are more than happy to add custom features like driveshaft loops or different motor mounts to your chassis. Looking to put a 409 underhood? No problem, and they can even provide a complete body and chassis package in virtually any state of completion.

Of course this chassis is designed for the enthusiast looking for the all-out gasser treatment, but remember, every gasser in the ’60s didn’t run a straight-axle, nor does every hot rodder today want the somewhat radical approach of driving a straight-axle car long distances.

This fact was not lost on Woody’s Hot Rodz, so in addition to the Full Wood straight-axle frame they designed and built a hot rod chassis for the Tri-Five Chevrolet that would incorporate plenty of room for gasser goodies like wheelwell headers, but with a more conventional A-arm suspension borrowed from a first-generation Camaro. This is the Hot Wood chassis and what makes this chassis so cool is the fact that all the suspension parts are from a first-generation Camaro. The stamped-steel control arms, steering box, and spindles are all sourced from the Camaro, so parts are readily available. Combine all this great design with unrivaled fabrication that includes TIG-welded mounts and you have a cruising chassis that provides a much improved ride over the stock Tri-Five suspension. And, much like the Full Wood frame, this new chassis makes it possible to build a brand-new ’57 Chevrolet from the ground up.

The chassis was also designed to accept big- or small-block Chevrolet motors, and if you use the Woody’s Hot Rodz motor mounts both small- and big-block headers, designed for the first-generation Camaro, and that includes both long- and short-tube headers. Any original body, including station wagons and convertibles, will bolt on the chassis with no modifications required, and of course the all-new Real Deal Steel bodies also drop right in place, and yes the stock gas tank works just fine on this frame.

When we spoke with Chris Sondles, owner of Woody’s Hot Rodz, it was obvious he is a huge fan of bringing back the hot rod Chevrolets. While the body and frame is a giant step in that direction, Sondles is busy developing even more parts that will give your Tri-Five Chevrolet that real hot rod look.

Yes, the reproduction ’55-57 Chevrolet steel body and frame is here, with the ’56 Chevrolet slated for early 2012. By the spring of 2012 we look forward to a stream of hot rod Chevys rolling out of garages again, just like they did in the ’60s, solid lifter cams rattling under dual quads with stacks protruding through the hood. It’s all great gasser stuff, and while you might never be able to be a kid again, building a real gasser will let you act like one.

Straight-Axle or Cruiser IFS? You Decide.

Full Wood Straight-Axle

• Gasser straight front axle

• Semi-elliptical springs, spindles, kingpins, steering arms, tie-rod kit, hardware kit

• 5x4.75 bolt pattern with standard or Wilwood brake kit

• Standard brake kits use new rotors and GM Metric–style calipers

• Shocks not included, but shock mounts are included

• Ford 9-inch with 31-spline axles, wheel studs installed 5 on 4.75 pattern

• Inboard rear leaf springs

• TIG-welded stock-like perimeter frame with all body mounts in place with a welded-in rear shock bar

• Installs without body mounts or floor pan modification

• Set up to accept center block motor mounts and transmission crossmember

• Accepts a stock gas tank

Hot Wood IFS Cruiser Chassis

• First-generation Camaro stamped-steel control arms, disc brakes, steering box, and frontend components

• Set up to accept center block motor mounts and transmission crossmember

• Inboard rear leaf springs

• Ford 9-inch housing mounted with 31-spline axles, wheels studs installed 5 on 4.75 pattern

• Installs without body mount or floor pan modification

• Set up to accept first-generation Camaro long- or short-tube headers for both small- and big-block Chevy, will also accept four-speed Z-bar if “Hot Wood” motor mount kit is used

• TIG-welded stock-like perimeter frame with all body mounts in place and TIG-welded, includes welded-in shock-mount bar

• Will accept any aftermarket first-generation Camaro control arm, spindle, disc brake steering components

• Accepts stock fuel tank

SOURCE
Speedway Motors
340 Victory Lane
Lincoln
ME  68528
800-979-0122
http://www.speedwaymotors.com
Tanks, Inc
P.O. Box 400
Cleawater
MN  55320
320-558-6882
www.tanksinc.com
Woody's Hot Rodz
812-637-1933
855-567-1957
www.woodyshotrodz.com
Rocket Racing Wheels
P.O. Box 5347
Chattanooga
TN  37406
888-307-7525
http://www.rocketracingwheels.co
m
Currie Enterprises
382 North Smith
Corona
CA  92880
714-528-6957
http://www.currieenterprises.com
Coker Tire
13187 Chestnut Street
Chattanooga
TN  37402
800-251-6336
http://www.cokertire.com
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