Well, you’ve decided that you want to go into the hot rodenting process, but your budget is tight and you’re impatient with a two-year establishment. Or maybe you’re too busy with work, and life is working on you to spin wrenches in the garage to build the trip of your dreams. Well, contrary to what online trolls say, there is no shame in buying a hot rod, or mostly done, to have fun and adjust to your vision.
One way to achieve this quickly is to auction. Sure, some cars get dragged into bidding wars and go for crazy cash, but most cars at auctions sell for less than their repeat cost, sometimes a lot less. At HOT ROD, we love gases and have always wanted one, so when we saw the red 1957 Chevy Bel Air Gasser appear at the Mecum Kissimmee Florida 2022 auction (Lot W283), it caught our eye and realized it was a great way for some hot rod to get instant gratification.
This ride is owned by Joe Whitaker, owner of Read Deal Steel in Sanford, Florida, where they make clones of Tri-Five (and other types) bodies for those who want to build a car but can’t find a rust-free springboard. Joe has been craving a red 1957 Chevy ever since he spied one in it Super Chevy magazine in 1979.
As part of his business, he bought four Tri-Fives from New York for product development work, but in the end one of Group 57 wasn’t needed and he just sat in the corner. Well, Joe decided this would be the perfect car to build into his version of that red gas he spied on in a Chevy supercar decades ago. Turns out it had some bottom rust, but because it worked, it was an easy fix. Piles of cash and several months later, Joe Jacir had his dream.
We asked Joe why he decided to give up his ’57 and he said to us, ‘Why would I sell a car I’ve always wanted and considered my ‘dream car’? A lot of people I know don’t sell anything, and some seem to have their first pair of shoelaces. I’ve never been that way. In anything, even cars.The fun I get from my old cars is researching, researching, building, finishing and then having fun with it for a few months or a year.Then it’s time for another project!I am currently working on a 57 model Chevy Cameo truck LS, and I just bought a Chevrolet Project 55 2-door sedan. That means I need more space in my garage and more cash in my wallet! Selling it at a Mecum auction seemed to be the least difficult way.”
As for the Chevy, it checks all the right boxes. Built to ride and look great while doing it, it has a Laws Racing built 1957 high-compression 283 V-8 engine with 327 heads, backed by a dated 1967 M20 four-speed transmission that feeds the power back to the correct interval 1957 Pontiac rear. In general, the car looks “correct”, as if torn from the pages of an old 60’s edition of HOT ROD. We particularly dig pseudo-machine guns emerging from the hood. The car is blasting out of the cold, and if you’re looking to cruise around your area next week, this is probably the quickest way to make it happen. next week? Yes, that gas from 1957 runs through the auction yard on Wednesday, January 11th. So if you flip all your keys the way the magazine car did with Joe in ’79, you might want to consider getting a bidder’s ticket. And even if you miss this, remember that auction cars can be a good way to get a bargain and start cruising in time for spring.
Achievements of the 1957 Chevy Bel-Air Gaser:
- Laws Racing 1957 built a high-pressure Chevrolet 283/300 hp engine with 0.060 more
- 327 heads
- The highly detailed tire restoration completed in 2020
- Genuine steel body with clone floor and rocking arms
- Glasurite base / clear lacquer
- White Pearl Frame, Firewall & Bottom
- The 12V gel jet battery is hidden inside the right frame rail
- Comp Cams Big Mutha Thumpr hydraulic camshaft
- 1967 Corvette branded M20 4-speed with NOS Mr. Transmission.
- 1957 Pontiac 9.3-Inch Aft
- New Fabcraft Positraction rear hub, 90 gears, and all new bearings
- New Dutch axle
- Chrome axle 1964 Econoline straight with chrome springs
- Drum-style front and rear brakes with all new drums, shoes, hardware and components
- White and red leatherette, pleated and draped interior with matching red Daytona rug from Ciadella Enterprises in Arizona
- The side trim and the original stainless steel are polished with some mixed breeding pieces
- 1957 Nomad Wagon Rear Bumper with New Finishes and Guards Original Chromed Nomad Wagon
- Aluminum slit gaskets 15 x 3 inches in the front and 15 x 7 in the rear
- Cocker Firestone 8.20-15 dragster pie crust backslick, and Firestone 5.60-15 slim piece front