Street Gassers are a “gas” to look at and to drive; the straight-axle variety being by far the coolest look but not all that practical for lengthy drives. Let’s say you want to make a 300-mile run, or jump in and be part of a STREET RODDER Road Tour leg or any number of extended seat times. Without question a straight-axle Gasser is a very cool looking ride but at the same time can leave you with a very “uncool” feeling in the seat of your pants. (And, we won’t even get into the handling characteristics of a “nosebleed” hot rod.)

Back in the day, pulling out the Tri-Five IFS and replacing it with a straight tube axle, a pair of leaf springs, modified steering, and some combination of drum (or even disc brakes come the mid ’60s) wasn’t a difficult chore. Of course, gasoline was 30 cents a gallon and cruisin’ consisted of six to eight hours of weekend hops from one local cruise-in spot to another. (In between was the liberal consumption of hamburgers, fries, and, my favorite!, mammoth-sized chocolate shakes.) Nowadays cruisin’ can easily include the weekend getaway that necessitates the several hundred mile (or more) roundtrip drive with overnight stays, lots of bench racing, and sightseeing from the seat of your pants while behind the wheel. In other words, there’s the Gasser intended for the cool cruise and the one for the long haul. Today’s Gassers come in two varieties: the straight-axle, which is still “King of Kool”, and the lifted (probably 4 inches or so) upper and lower control arm suspension that gives the “most” of the look but maintains the required necessities for driveability and handling prerequisites.

And that gets us to the suspension under our project Totally Gassed. Our Real Deal Steel ’55 Chevy post car by way of Woody’s Hot Rodz now rests on one of their Hot Wood perimeter frames. Woody’s offers two TIG-welded full perimeter frames (Full Wood and Hot Wood) that will bolt to any original (all body styles including wagons and convertibles) or a Real Deal Steel ’55-57 Chevy body. Body mounting points are in stock locations as well as the crossmember for the core support. The frame will install without body mount or floor pan modifications.

The most visible difference between the two is the use of a straight-axle in front on the Full Wood while the Hot Wood utilizes the more traditional A-arm IFS. We have spoken about the Full Wood chassis in the past and, as such, this article is going to deal with the Hot Wood chassis that now rests under our project Totally Gassed. Since we are starting with a fresh chassis we need all the parts and pieces and asked if we could follow along when Matt Baldwin of Woody’s Hot Rodz screwed one of the Hot Wood chassis together.

Woody’s has set up the chassis to accept first-generation Camaro (’67-69) stamped steel control arms from Classic Performance Products (PN 6774SCA-ULK), disc brakes, steering box, and frontend components. (We couldn’t resist, we asked Steve Tracy of Advanced Plating if he would put his “magic chrome” on a number of the suspension components and he obliged. To say the frontend glistens would be an understatement but it does give project Totally Gassed an unmistakable appearance.) Here we opted for CPP’s upper and lower control arms, steering arms, and a complete drop spindle disc brake kit. CPP’s kit (PN 6474SWBK-D) is based on 11-inch rotors coupled with 2-inch drop spindles, including metric GM calipers (single piston) calipers. All the necessary hardware is also included. (Will work with 15-inch and larger wheels.)

The CPP front coil springs (PN FCS6310-S) can be ordered with a 1-1/2-inch drop but that’s just not Gasser style. To these we did match a pair of Posies Super Slide (PN 211) five-ply stock heavy-duty leaf springs. These Super Slide Springs have been around for a long time and rodders have used them for years and know about their moly-nylon Super Slide Buttons that reside in die-formed pockets at the tips of the spring leaves.

We opted to use the CPP 500 Series re-circulating ball box (PN CP50000) that features a one-piece cast housing that yields a “tighter” overall feel. It is a one-piece housing with no welding and will use the original Pitman arm and has a 14-1 ratio; quick but not too quick. Driving down the highway it has a comfortable feel. (The conversion kit includes the 500 Series box with power steering hose kit and pump and early model small-block Chevy V-8 power steering pump bracket. Optional chrome finish, new Pitman arms, and polished covers are available.)

We also needed to address the rear suspension. As mentioned, we used the Posies Super Slide spring but the foundation is a Currie 9-inch (PN CE-GMB5557X) that measures 57-3/8 inches from drum face to face; this is 1-1/2 inches narrower per side. This was done to accept the pair of rear 15x10 (4-1/2-inch backspace) Cragar S/S wheels. In front, 15x7 Cragar S/S wheels are used with Coker rubber; the rears being the Coker/Firestone 10:00x15 vintage dragster tires. In front a pair of Coker/Firestone Wide Oval Super Sports (F70-15) are wrapped around the S/S wheels. (Remember back in the mid-to-late ’60s when these were the wheels of choice?) The rearend is the Currie 9-Plus notch back heavy-duty housing with 31-spline axles. Heavy-duty 2-inch-wide leaf spring pads are installed in the stock location for an easy bolt-in installation. Housing includes all third member studs installed and the Torino-style late-model large bearing housing ends. Axles include the stock 5-on-4.75-inch bolt pattern, wheel studs, 1/4-inch-thick heavy-duty bearing retainer plates, and tapered Timken-style wheel bearings. We opted to stay with a heavy-duty drum brake package and added a centersection with 3.70 gears and a Truetrac differential.

Over the next few pages you will see the Hot Wood chassis come together. Follow along in upcoming months as we address some more bodywork mods as well as the complete modernization of the dash through our friends at Danchuk.

SOURCE
Classic Performance Products
378 E Orangethorpe Ave.
Placentia
CA  92870
800-830-1724
http://www.classicperf.com
Cragar
www.cragarwheel.com
Currie Enterprises
382 North Smith
Corona
CA  92880
714-528-6957
http://www.currieenterprises.com
POSIES Rods and Customs
219 N. Duke St., Dept. SRM
Hummelstown
PA  17036
Coker Tire
13187 Chestnut Street
Chattanooga
TN  37402
800-251-6336
http://www.cokertire.com
Real Deal Steel
855-567-1957
www.realdealsteel.com
Woody's Hot Rodz
812-637-1933
855-567-1957
www.woodyshotrodz.com
Advanced Plating
800-588-6686
www.advancedplating.com
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