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Oldmopars

Help me understand the NHRA classes for an old Gasser

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1 minute ago, smhardesty said:

Build your car the way you think it should be. This is a hobby and should be fun. Don't turn it into a job or a school project that is to be graded.

Funny thing is, it is the research and the digging, reading the NHRA rule book and then making the car fit that has been fun. I am having a lot of fun with this build and it is because I am trying to make it right. I am not going crazy, but learning this stuff has been a lot of fun for me.

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The engines you mentioned were all the bigger size. That 454 could be a 396 or I think there was a truck engine at 366? The 409 could be a 348, not so much in big blocks but some guys de-stroked their small blocks to better fit a class or power ban. Basically what chevy did with the 327 to 302 for the z-28. Play around with the math and have some fun with it. Not all cars were competive. Good Luck

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Also, don't forget there were quite a few different drag racing associations at the time like NHRA, AHRA, MHRA, NASCAR  etc and their rules varied.

Also, the nose up stance was in theory that when the car launched this would help weight transfer to the rear. The cars that were level at rest would rise up when the car launched and in theory this helped weight transfer also.

Here are a couple pics of the restored High & Mighty race car that the Ramchargers first ran in 1959-1960. They kinda of started the craze.

5bbd4f4a755f1_HighMightyracecar.jpg.b1ac1ec9077d524ecac7319ac16f5f6f.jpghigh-and-mighty2.jpg.c02082ec2e4806556546aafe82d37d8f.jpg

Edited by Vietnam Vet67
added pictures

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EXCEPT.....the High & Mighty is an ALTERED, not a gas class car.

Two totally different classes, not even close. a Multitude of differences.

it SAYS, C/ A= altered right on it!

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41 minutes ago, GaryR said:

EXCEPT.....the High & Mighty is an ALTERED, not a gas class car.

Two totally different classes, not even close. a Multitude of differences.

it SAYS, C/ A= altered right on it!

You are most correct on that Gary. I have 'bout 10-12 gasser models built, and while they may not be 100% correct I DON'T CARE as I had fun building them, they look great on my shelf, and lots of people look at them and photograph them when I display them.

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1 hour ago, High octane said:

You are most correct on that Gary. I have 'bout 10-12 gasser models built, and while they may not be 100% correct I DON'T CARE as I had fun building them, they look great on my shelf, and lots of people look at them and photograph them when I display them.

I know it is an Altered car.....................the point of the pictures was to show how early on racers raised up their cars for what they thought at the time would be a performance improvement. That's what I was talking about in my post.

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3 hours ago, Vietnam Vet67 said:

I know it is an Altered car.....................the point of the pictures was to show how early on racers raised up their cars for what they thought at the time would be a performance improvement. That's what I was talking about in my post.

 

I'm afraid you're going to meet with some resistance to that way of thinking, Ed. The forum seems to generally reject the idea that there were a great many gassers and other drag cars that were built with the "nose to the sky" stance. I'm not sure why that seems to be the general consensus, but it sure looks like it is. I have dozens of photos of gassers with the "nose to the sky" stance. I also have distinct recollections of a great many cars with noses up from several drag strips in Southern Illinois, Southern Indiana, and Texas from "back in the day". I wouldn't claim that all, or even most, gassers or other cars were that way, but there sure were a good number of them. There were several such cars at Little River Dragway near Temple, TX and also present when we raced at the railhead on Ft. Hood in the 70s.  I know that Little River is an IHRA track now and I believe it was in the mid to late 70s when I was there. The IHRA has a "Match Race" and "Exhibition Vehicles" class so this could possibly be where all the "nose to the sky" gassers run.

The reason for the peculiar stance of these cars was a result of the lack of a good racing tire (slick) when gassers got their start. The tires were made with a very hard rubber compound that was exceptionally prone to spinning on the hard, smooth surface of a drag strip. Race teams figured out that by raising the front of the car they changed the center of gravity of the car which allowed for the weight on the nose to be transferred to the rear wheels very quickly, thus giving them a much improved launch. Even after tire technology caught up and began providing softer compounds racers knew that they could still benefit from the fast weight transfer to the rear wheels.

Yep. I applaud your effort, but I'm afraid you'll meet with some differing of opinions.

.

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I guess it depends on your definition of "nose high".

I remember the Gasser Wars and, while my memory is admittedly poor, I don't recall any of the competitive cars having too high of an angle off the imaginary level.  

F'rinstance, to me, this is too "nose-high".

gasser-9.jpg

Edited by Reegs

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55 minutes ago, Reegs said:

I guess it depends on your definition of "nose high".

I remember the Gasser Wars and, while my memory is admittedly poor, I don't recall any of the competitive cars having too high of an angle off the imaginary level.  F'rinstance, to me, this is too "nose-high".

 

I don't know if it's "too high" or not, but it definitely is what I would call "nose high". It's what most guys think of when the term gasser is thrown out.

.

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16 hours ago, smhardesty said:

 

I'm afraid you're going to meet with some resistance to that way of thinking, Ed. The forum seems to generally reject the idea that there were a great many gassers and other drag cars that were built with the "nose to the sky" stance. I'm not sure why that seems to be the general consensus, but it sure looks like it is. I have dozens of photos of gassers with the "nose to the sky" stance. I also have distinct recollections of a great many cars with noses up from several drag strips in Southern Illinois, Southern Indiana, and Texas from "back in the day". I wouldn't claim that all, or even most, gassers or other cars were that way, but there sure were a good number of them. There were several such cars at Little River Dragway near Temple, TX and also present when we raced at the railhead on Ft. Hood in the 70s.  I know that Little River is an IHRA track now and I believe it was in the mid to late 70s when I was there. The IHRA has a "Match Race" and "Exhibition Vehicles" class so this could possibly be where all the "nose to the sky" gassers run.

The reason for the peculiar stance of these cars was a result of the lack of a good racing tire (slick) when gassers got their start. The tires were made with a very hard rubber compound that was exceptionally prone to spinning on the hard, smooth surface of a drag strip. Race teams figured out that by raising the front of the car they changed the center of gravity of the car which allowed for the weight on the nose to be transferred to the rear wheels very quickly, thus giving them a much improved launch. Even after tire technology caught up and began providing softer compounds racers knew that they could still benefit from the fast weight transfer to the rear wheels.

Yep. I applaud your effort, but I'm afraid you'll meet with some differing of opinions.

.

You applaud my effort?????????????? All I was saying was that there were 2 different theories going around back then  about how to get weight transfer to the rear with the tires and suspensions available at the time. I didn't praise one over the other. I posted the Ramchargers "High & Mighty" car pic as an example of one theory as compared to all the other pictures showing the nose high attitude. I worked at the Chrysler Tech Center in Michigan for 42 years in the Motorsports area doing Race Engine development and testing for all Chrysler race engines involved in NASCAR and NHRA so I spent many weeks and months over the years at drag strips and circle tracks so I know what was out there.  

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22 hours ago, GaryR said:

EXCEPT.....the High & Mighty is an ALTERED, not a gas class car.

Two totally different classes, not even close. a Multitude of differences.

it SAYS, C/ A= altered right on it!

 

22 hours ago, GaryR said:

EXCEPT.....the High & Mighty is an ALTERED, not a gas class car.

Two totally different classes, not even close. a Multitude of differences.

it SAYS, C/ A= altered right on it!

Gassers and Altereds both were designed around the basic formula of weight divided by cubic inches. Yes there were other differences but still the basic formula was the same for both of them.

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All NHRA classes were weight and cubic inches.

Read the Rulebooks, they specifically say that "cars must be level:".

My first race was 1964, I NEVER saw jacked up cars racing.

Whatever, I refuse to argue.

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3 hours ago, GaryR said:

All NHRA classes were weight and cubic inches.

Read the Rulebooks, they specifically say that "cars must be level:".

My first race was 1964, I NEVER saw jacked up cars racing.

Whatever, I refuse to argue.

WHOSE ARGUING????????

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On 10/5/2018 at 5:17 PM, Ace-Garageguy said:

Easy answer: figure a 1940 Ford coupe stripped as far as possible for the old gas classes would weigh right near 2500 pounds.

EXAMPLE: according to the class breaks shown above, a non-blown 327 cu.in. Chebby engine would put you in A/G in 1958*, B/G in 1968 *.

* 2500 divided by 327 = 7.645. 

WITH A 454:   2500 divided by 454 = 5.5. That would be A/G in both years.

NOTE: decide what era your car is supposed to represent to get the right calss. ALSO: the 454 wasn't available in earlier years, but a virtually identical-appearing 396 or 427 could have been...and either could have also been bored and stroked to larger displacements.

NOTE 2: Class-legal weight reductions could be made by removing the front bumper and brackets, substituting lightweight bucket seats for the OEM, smaller, lighter light units in front and rear, a lighter battery, removing inner door and body stiffening structure, replacing side windows with plexiglass, upholstering with lightweight materials, etc. Components were often drilled to remove weight, and the maximum allowable 4" chop/channel would take weight out too. Later on, light fiberglass fenders and body panels were allowed by some sanctioning bodies.

Lol

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I thank all of you for your input on this subject. It seems that there is no one right answer and that there were probably a lot of rule bending and experimenting going on during those days. I am doing this for fun, the rules have been fun for me to read, and then search for cars of the era. I wish I could have been around then and raced myself, it seems like a fun time in a rapidly growing motorsport. Too much money have ruined drag racing (and NASCAR) for me. If you don't have deep pockets of loads of sponsor money, don't bother. I liked the grassroots feel of the early 60's.

 

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14 minutes ago, Oldmopars said:

... I wish I could have been around then and raced myself, it seems like a fun time in a rapidly growing motorsport...

It was a wonderful time to be involved in the sport. Backyard engineering and innovation was the name of the game, no two cars were alike, and all the constant tinkering and trying new stuff contributed to rapid evolution of the cars, and established the solid foundation that they're based on to this day.

I remember when the "theoretical" lowest possible ET, based on then-available horsepower and carefully worked out frictional coefficients of tires and surfaces, was 10 seconds flat...until the day somebody went faster. Kinda like bumblebees flying because they didn't know it was "impossible" according to humans' understanding of aerodynamics in the earlier days.  

All the engineering behind today's race cars, and everything else, is the result of trial-and-error, with what "works" recorded and turned into repeatable numbers and formulas.

Great fun.  :D

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16 hours ago, GaryR said:

All NHRA classes were weight and cubic inches.

Except for stock class cars - weight and advertised horsepower (until the NHRA developed their own horsepower charts).

Read the Rulebooks, they specifically say that "cars must be level:".

1965 Rules Street Section (Gassers, Modified Sports, Street Roadster): "Bodies and/or frames may not be raised to gain weight-transfer to rear wheels." Er, okay, maybe it's the big/little tire combo that makes 'em look higher than stock ...:o

But ya just gotta love them Gassers.

Edited by Reegs

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32 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

It was a wonderful time to be involved in the sport. Backyard engineering and innovation was the name of the game, no two cars were alike, and all the constant tinkering and trying new stuff contributed to rapid evolution of the cars, and established the solid foundation that they're based on to this day.

I remember when the "theoretical" lowest possible ET, based on then-available horsepower and carefully worked out frictional coefficients of tires and surfaces, was 10 seconds flat...until the day somebody went faster. Kinda like bumblebees flying because they didn't know it was "impossible" according to humans' understanding of aerodynamics in the earlier days.  

All the engineering behind today's race cars, and everything else, is the result of trial-and-error, with what "works" recorded and turned into repeatable numbers and formulas.

Great fun.  :D

AMEN..............

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That rule for Street Roadsters was instituted in 1962 in an attempt to keep the cars more closely related to their "street" roots, rather than drifting off to pure-competition cars approaching the"altered" class.

I don't know how tightly it was enforced.

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I have seen a few cars race in the gas class at Indy and then remove their front clip and race the same car as an altered.

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I think the single biggest mistake for period cars is tires.

10 and 10.5 inch "pie crust" ( a modern term ) tires were HUGE in 60-64. Fuel dragster tires.

They were the largest made. I see "period " models with huge tires. NOPE!

By the way, theres a real difference in those 4 years.

A B/G car would likely use a 8 or 9 inch tire and a 15 inch wheel.  Fronts sized to keep the car level.

NO altered wheelbases, NO gutted interior, MUST have 4 wheel brakes, full "stock type" interior, can ditch the back seat.

A 10% engine setback measured from the front spindle to the first (closets) spark plug hole on the engine, MAX 24 inches high crankshaft centerline.

AND very few cars (in gas) ran drag chutes. NHRA didn't require a chute until you went 150 mph, which was super fast the. FEW AA/GS cars ran that fast.

Zoomies ala FC weren't invented yet, headers had to exit under the car into a collector.

ETS were from the 13.00's to the high-mid 10.00's.

The BB Chevy came out in 1965, wasn't very common until 66 though.

 

Edited by GaryR

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13 minutes ago, High octane said:

I have seen a few cars race in the gas class at Indy and then remove their front clip and race the same car as an altered.

Virgil Cates did this with his 33 Willys, won a bunch.

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6 minutes ago, High octane said:

I have seen a few cars race in the gas class at Indy and then remove their front clip and race the same car as an altered.

Yup. And at times, Corvettes with their tops up could run as gassers, but at other times, or sometimes with the top off, they ran SP. Slightly heavier mods put them in M/SP (one of my absolute favorite classes)...which pretty much allowed "sports cars" built to "altered" rule specs. But keeping up with the rules and changes every year was part of the fun too. :D

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15 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

Yup. And at times, Corvettes with their tops up could run as gassers, but at other times, or sometimes with the top off, they ran SP. Slightly heavier mods put them in M/SP (one of my absolute favorite classes)...which pretty much allowed "sports cars" built to "altered" rule specs. But keeping up with the rules and changes every year was part of the fun too. :D

AA/MSP Corvettes were sorta the first Funny cars.

The Corvette Auto Parts 63 was a proto FC thanks to the chassis rules.

Pete Arend's Mongoose was another killer A/MSP car as was Norm Cowdrey's Healy!

Not very many cars IN the class though.

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