Henry J Gasser Vintage Drag Car Project — Hot Rod Hoarders Ep. 3

Henry J Gasser Vintage Drag Car Project — Hot Rod Hoarders Ep. 3


I’ve got another new car, another new project. I just had to show you and tell you a little
bit about it. It is a 1951 Henry J gasser. It’s a legit old drag car, really neat. I don’t know all the history on it, but I’m
going to show it to you and tell you a little bit about it. I’ve had a thing for Henry J’s for basically
my whole life and that kind of started from looking through old photo albums that my dad
had. And the fact that he had a couple of Henry
J drag cars. That really kind of spurred the interest for
me so I’ve always looked for them and I’ve had several and this newest project is actually
my fifth Henry J that I’ve owned. Most of them have not had any type of racing
history but this one does and that was part of the reason I bought it. As you can see it’s pretty rough, but that’s
just how it goes. Henry J’s are known for being rusty. The floor pans, rocker panels and those types
of things rust out immediately on these cars. My dad has told me that even the ones he was
working on in the ’70s were rusty so, anyway, the rust is no surprise. It doesn’t scare me. It’s normal for these cars. But this car has a lot of old drag racing
stuff done to it. It’s got a straight axle in the front. Not really sure exactly what it came out of
but it’s got parallel leaf springs and you can see that the front axle has been moved
forward a little bit. And that was kind of something that drag racers
did back then to help with stability. Those cars are pretty short wheelbase, it’s
a 100 inch wheelbase and anytime you can add a little bit to it, that makes the car more
stable. The rear suspension is just stock leaf springs. I’m not sure what that rear end is but it
looks small. It doesn’t look like a big Olds or 9 inch
Ford or anything, so if we get further along with this project, it’ll probably be getting
a bigger rear end. Under the hood is a small block Chevy. I’m not real sure of the details of the engine. I think it’s a 283 but if this project progresses
we’ll either build it or a 327 or something. But it’s really cool, it has a tunnel ram
on it. The tunnel ram is setup for two four’s, it’s
a really neat vintage piece. It’s got fender well headers, it’s got a 4
speed transmission. It’s really got a lot of ingredients to making
a cool vintage gasser. So I bought the car from a guy named Mike
Davis. He’s a hot rod builder, and has a shop in
Knoxville, Tennessee. He was intending to build this car to compete
in Southeast Gasser Association races and they are very strict about the rules. It’s gotta be period correct, it’s gotta be
a four speed, they’ve got a weight to cubic inch rule that designates the different classes
so it makes for some really close racing. But anyway, it’s a cool organization and they’re
really passionate about going fast, and being period correct and that was the eventual goal
with this car when Mike started on it. So, we’d probably try to carry on that goal
as far as making it a period correct car. Making sure it doesn’t have a set of late
model wheels on it, we want to make sure it has all the right stuff. But you know, that’s down the road. I just wanted to show you this car, and show
you what I like as far as trying to dig up old race cars and find the history and be
able to identify this stuff. So that’s it for this one, 1951 Henry J gasser
drag car, a really cool project that’s something I’m pretty passionate about. And if you like this type of stuff, be sure
to hit the subscribe button and you’ll see more because I plan on shooting more videos
of some of our drag car projects and some of our barn finds and acquisitions.

About the Author: Michael Flood

53 Comments

  1. I don't know were you live but there are 3 junk yards in California that have all the parts to build a Henry J Gasser. I'll let you find them all I can say is there all in driving range of LA and they are a Gasser paradise all three are on my must buy from list before I die . No they don't have web pages the owners are old guys

  2. Nice to see another Henry J enthusiast.  I hope to start a '51 HJ street rod in the spring.  Narrowed 9", 327 SBC with 65cc heads and a nice Howard's cam in front of a 700R4.  Just going to be a nice cruiser/grocery-getter.  Looking for 370-400 horse.  Good luck!

  3. Hate to bust your bubble but not many cars in se gasser association are period correct, because after market is cheaper than actually go find and use the correct 60s parts and i know that is the truth!

  4. if ya can fine parts like the rubber around the glass and things > Have to make it >Way it is now! would have to get threw the whole car body and all redo and fix BIG BIG PROJECT> i would just make a rat rod be done with it

  5. I just commented on your other project and am pleased to see you are on a J. That is the first car I built for the strip before I went off to the Navy and eventually Vietnam also. Have fun with it and I'm sure you will do it justice!

  6. Keep on keepin' on!! About two or so years ago, the missus and i stopped by the GGB vista point en route to see family. On the way out, a truck and trailer went by with a Henry J 'project' in tow. Blew me away.

  7. Looks like a Mopar 8 3/4 rear end. That is an awesome little Gasser. Hope you document the build, that would be fun to watch.

  8. It's,a mopar 83/4" rear end and good for about 450 maybe 500 hi but if your running 4speed with a high winding sbc with dumping the clutch at 7k on up if your getting any traction at all now w 819 case and some Mark Williams axles they hold decent I tell ya it has changed so much and I just love the thoughts of these gasers coming back around I have all kinds of the old stuff I have hung onto for my some thing like all the cast iron #186 #491 #291 and #292 and I have a set of ole 041x heads that I,angle plugged them that I have been gonna get rid of but guys like myself are gonna need em again cuz I am gonna build my daddy a gasser he's 77 and has tge fever you know he does when he's wanting to remaking my high 5 low 4 second corvair that has a tube chassis all the electronics and has we had just been grudge racing it I said woah there pops will will have you a gasser built fast but don't even scratch that car! He's excited about the southeast gasers I wish you all the best of luck in the world and if ya get thread of it please let me know I would love to have if for my daddy!! God bless and good luck ill be watching!!

  9. My Mom had a 1951 Henry J in the 1950's. It was all original and it was a maroon color. Later, my Dad bought her a 1951 T-Bird and he sold the Henry J to a kid in town who promptly crashed it and rolled it. He was OK but the J was crumpled. Dad got a new car every 2 years because he was a salesman for AGWAY, and drove a lot. I wish he had kept the Henry J for me and I was in my early teens.

  10. do you have any more videos on the henry j yet ,,i have bought a 50 chevy coupe thinking about building an old gaser with it,got every thing but the front axle,,,

  11. Awesome fined guy. Those tail lights bring back memories. They are 51' Buick, I had those on my 29 ford cabriolet on 32' rails. Miss that car. Sold it to move with my gf at the time to NYC. Big mistake lol. Anyways live and learn.

  12. an okd friend of mine had one of these in the 80s with a 427 blown hemi in it, the engine sat partially in the car with a plexiglass cover for it so u could still see it it was very fast n very cool!

  13. I’ve drove by this car a hundred times and said i need to stop in and buy that but I’d figured they’d never sell it so i drove on…. guess i should of stopped. Also love the south east gassers it’s an awesome group of people doing awesome things

  14. I would love to find a 4 speed inline shifter. My brother had one in a camaro when I was a youngan. He could really bang thru the gears.

  15. Back in 66-67 My neighbor had a "J" Bonneville racer with Allison Airplane engine..6-7 race plaques on dash and a long monster arm down the sides holding an eyeball..ILLOVED THIS CAR as a kid…often wondered what happened to it..

  16. So, you wanted something with racing history but change the front end, the rear end and the engine… seems a shame to me as most of the history will be gone and you’ll just have a bitsa (a bit of this, a bit of that….) and it becomes something it never was, or could have been at the time. Just my opinion, of course!

  17. Mopar 8 3/4 hopefully it has the 489 case “last digits in the casting #” but no matter what case it is they’re a good rear end if it’s out of an old A body they can be pretty valuable

  18. Im just now going thru your videos found this one of the Henry J . My uncle had one when I was a kid about 50 years ago .

  19. I can't believe you have that car and that it's a Gasser.
    Being that my last name is Kaiser, I've always had a thing for those cars, as well as for any Gasser.
    Like you know there weren't too many Kaisers that survived. I may be wrong but I don't think there were as many sold here in California as other parts of the country.
    Ever since I was about four or five years old, I remember looking through Hot Rod magazine and any other car (and Playboy etc…) that my Dad had or friends dads or older brothers had and would even go to the library and find books and magazines of hot prodding and racing. The open wheel Indy or GT cars of the 1960s, and the dragsters and funnycars, Big Daddy Don Garlits and Don the Snake Prudhomme were the Snake and Mongoose and the big deal. But I always loved the Gassers and the econorails. They just threw caution and convention to the wind or so it seemed when you're in 1st and 2nd grade. Your videos stir up some great memories from my childhood and my teenage and my 20s years when cars and motorcycles were a big part of my life.
    Growing up in L.A. was awesome for cars. My mom knew the Iskendarians and the shop is still there today about 2 miles from my parents house, with everything inside and the sign outside but has been closed a long time. One of the best custom header maker for Hedman, Bob McGuy is older than I but my sister's friend and his mom and my mom were friends when we were all growing up I think she baby sat me and my brother a few times, the Paisano Bros racing, one of the brothers lived a couple of blocks away from me and their daughter is friends of my sisters and we also grew up with and are still friends with Cindy Halibrand, her father is the racing wheel King as you well know.
    My dad's best friend for many years is one of the old school off-road racers that raced the Baja and Parker Dam, Ensenada, MexiCali way back in the late 60s early 70s and Parnelli Jones, James Rockford Files Gardner, and other big names were racing and they had no prerunners or helicopter chase teams with spare parts and mechanics. We would go to the races and camp out at the start/finish line area and we'd ride our trail 50s or yz 80 and xr 75s waiting for the the first of the cars to start crossing the finish line or who was broken down and didn't make it to a certain checkpoint. Our moms would make us clean out our closets of toys we didn't play with and any old clothes before every race so that they could visit a couple of families that helped our friend's car when it broke down in the middle of nowhere. That's who your team was. The poor, locals who lived in the middle of the desert that the course went past their land or through it and they would be out there helping racers out with whatever tools and parts they may have. So to pay them back with a little money, we weren't rich by any means, some clothes, toys, some canned food, because these people were dirt farmers, poor.

    So that's just naming a few people and things I was raised around. There's more but too much written already

  20. Rear looks like 8 3/4 Mopar – tough as nails. Will take any HP an SBC will make. Don't recognize the front axle … Cool car and great project. Build it with a 40 over 283 and spin the bejesus out of it. You'll be period correct – SEGA here you come 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *