It was a sunny spring morning when I first saw it. A primered ’55 Chevy had entered the gas station next to the Volkswagen dealership where I was working. It was loud. It was jacked up. It was glorious. It was a gasser.
While I’ve been an automotive enthusiast my entire life, there are still some subsets of car culture I am not too familiar with. On that particular Saturday, it was the vision of the ’55 2-door post that prompted me to learn up on gassers. I’m sure it cost me an entire day as I often fall down rabbit holes.
To those who aren’t familiar, gassers are a style of drag racers that utilize a solid axle front axle suspension, which is usually jacked up to enhance weight transfer to the rear. One of the more common rear suspension layouts is a ladder bar setup, which promotes consistency in suspension movement by having a static mount to the chassis. It’s a tad more technical than that, but I’m not here to preach suspension geometry and benefits from an uneducated pulpit. Go jump in your own rabbit hole for that.
M2 Machines has made enormous strides in the last few years in terms of the direction their castings have taken as well as the culture they’ve represented. Today we’re going to delve into M2’s first splash in the gasser pool, courtesy of Jimmy from SURPLUSgoodies’ generosity. These, and many other awesome items can be found in his eBay store.
So, the chosen ones? The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, the 1966 Dodge Charger, the 1967 Chevrolet Nova, and the 1966 Ford Mustang. The packaging is a combination of clamshell and acrylic display, with pronounced card art.
The castings are based off those already in M2’s catalog, but the chassis have been tweaked accordingly. Curiously, Drivers castings were chosen, meaning there aren’t any opening features and the chassis are plastic. Similarities between the four are ladder bar suspension and headers that dump right behind the front wheels. An aluminum-look gas tank is hung from the front bumper of all of them as well. Three of them have the same Enderle-style air scoops sprouting from a hole on their respective hoods, while the Charger has eight alternating height velocity stacks marching in place.
M2 has created strong relationships with performance parts manufacturers and these gassers are showing their support.
The black ’57 Bel Air is running for Weiand, with the tiger logo on the roof and ‘Weian’ written on the doors with pronunciation instructions just below. The wheels are a nice bronze-colored Halibrand style, with redline skinnies in the front and massive Goodyears out back. It’s a clean package. An M2 Drivers ’57 Chevy in dark green was one of my first M2 purchases. I always found the frontend a bit disproportional and haven’t added another to my collection since. The wagons, however, are really attractive and I’ve managed to wrangle up most of them.
The Moon Equipped ’67 Nova is a bright yellow bullet wearing a black striped hat. The front wheels are chromed and it’s the only one of the quartet to sport not only black steel wheels in the rear, but tires of an ordinary width. It’s also slightly more traditional in its markings, with ‘A/G’ and engine call-out on the front fenders. The former refers to the gas class it ran in, based off its displacement divided by its weight (A/G = 5.00-6.99 pounds per cubic inch, from what I’ve found). The lack of an ’S’ indicates it was non-supercharged. I don’t collect a lot of the ’67 Nova casting, for reasons I can’t articulate. The wheel setup on this one is my favorite of the group, however, but I lay blame for that on the plain steel wheels.
The magenta Mustang is the plainest of them all, and is better for it, in my opinion. The bold ‘427’ emblem on the doors loudly proclaims something special under the hood. It reminds me of a collection of 427-powered Fords that were auctioned by Bonhams at Greenwich Concours in 2019. The 427 is a badass motor and in turn, that makes this Mustang exactly that, regardless of paint choice. And the combination of the wheels and stance make the car almost appear as an altered wheelbase car. The graphics are finished off by the Ford logo sitting large and in charge on the rear flanks.
Finally, my favorite of the bunch – the 1966 Dodge Charger. The Mopar Direct Connection graphics instantly creates a…errr…connection to others with similar livery. The flanking ‘Mopar’ and ‘Dodge’ are aesthetically pleasing, and the typography of ‘Charger’ on the b-pillar accentuates the curve nicely. The almost cartoonish velocity stacks are my favorite representation of all the engines here. The fastback body also lends itself perfectly to the gasser style of a predator rearing back on its hind quarters. If I could only pick one to display, this would be it.
While I’m more keen to tell stories of diecast cars that are already in my collection, as opposed to giving a quasi-review of newer releases, I can see future M2’s gassers occupying space in my garage. I’m looking forward to the next release, which features a few more contemporarily themed side schemes. I sway towards realism and can only hope that Sean’s talents take that all the way to the end zone.