Gasser Barn Find: The Surprise Package 1957 Chevy Bel Air D/Gas – 426 Max Wedge Mopar Power

Gasser Barn Find: The Surprise Package 1957 Chevy Bel Air D/Gas – 426 Max Wedge Mopar Power

(People live barn finds and you all proved it when we ran this story about a ’57 Bel Air gasser powered by a Chrysler Max Wedge engine. It was found in a dusty barn and we all fell in love with it. We have an update coming soon! Refresh your love affair by checking out the photos!) Lauren & John McKee have recently purchased the coolest barn find in America. This is the “Surprise Package” 1957 Chevy D/Gas machine that is exactly how it was last raced in the early 1970s complete with a 426ci Max Wedge Chrysler engine, B&M Torqueflite transmission, and 8 3/4 Chrysler rear end! The car is an absolute time capsule that has both Chad and I literally sweating bullets as we sit here and look at it. The car has lived most of its life in the PA area and terrorized the gasser ranks at Numidia Dragway during its heyday. Lauren and John purchased the car from the original ower/racer who campaigned it. He is moving to the comfier confines of Florida soon so he had to part with the car which he’s had for something on the order of 40 years!

Even cooler is the fact that the engine in the car was a spare from one of the the legendary Jerry Stein’s “Teacher’s Pet” cars. The car is a real 1957 Bel Air and was a factory equipped V8 model. The amazingly cool hand lettered graphics on the car appear to be weathered but completely intact and perfect in our eyes. The period decals from the likes of Pete Jackson, Lunati, Mr Gasket, B&M, and others are awesome, and the car came with a Numidia time skip from back in the day as well.

We do now know Lauren and John’s immediate plans for the car but seeing that they have a great appreciation for its history and its configuration we don’t think any major changes are in its future. We have all of our fingers and toes crossed that they’ll get it back into running order and hit some nostalgia races, even if just to show the car off. Making laps would be complete and utter icing on the cake. And we like cake!

We have a gallery of about 20 photos that Lauren and John shot of the car’s recovery, some period black and whites, and plenty of details as well. This is one of the coolest “barn find” cars we have ever seen and we can’t wait to get a closer look at it sometime down the road!

Hit the link for a gallery of photos featuring the barn find “Surprise Package” 1957 Chevy Bel Air packing Max Wedge power!

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29 thoughts on “Gasser Barn Find: The Surprise Package 1957 Chevy Bel Air D/Gas – 426 Max Wedge Mopar Power

  1. scott liggett

    One of the coolest barn finds in a while for sure.

    And, those people who get all pissy about cross breeding brands of cars and engines dont know crap of racing history. Nearly every gasser was a crossbreed. Get over it.


    That ought to fan the flames about Finnegan’s Hemi Shoebox…

    Personally I love the idea of putting a different brand engine into a Chevy since people put Chevies into everything else.

  3. E. Frank LuQue

    Hair on my arms stood up with excitement…Finding something like that is just the “CATS MEOW”. Get it running, throw some fresh tires on it and ride.

  4. Vall

    “And, those people who get all pissy about cross breeding brands of cars and engines dont know crap of racing history. Nearly every gasser was a crossbreed. Get over it.”
    Glad you feel thay way Scott! I like crossbreeds in gassers!

  5. Willy

    It’s not a D/Gas car though. With a 426 ci motor it would be A/Gas, as the weight limit on A/Gas for that motor was 3830 lbs or less (8.99 lb/ci or less), and I am pretty sure that car weighs less than 3830 lbs. Even if it did weigh more, that would put it in B/Gas, definitely not D/Gas.

    Let’s assume it weighs 3600 lbs, for D/Gas at 11.50 to 12.99 lbs/ci (lets use the 11.50), that car would have to have no larger than a 313 ci motor (allowed would be 277 ci to 313 ci). If it was actually raced at D/Gas, it was not raced with that 426 ci motor.

    1. Willy

      I suspect this car was originally raced as a D/Gas car with the original 283, or maybe even a 327 ci motor. I’d guess the Mopar 426 came later….

  6. Dave Mullin

    To the guy that doesn’t think it looks like a gasser, it’s a Gasser by all definitions and the new owners should bring it out to race at one of the NDRL events in 2013. They would be in good company.

    Check out the schedule on the NDRL web site.

  7. Pat Dilling

    Here are the Gas class weight breaks I found for 1970. I would say it is a legitimate D/Gasser. Especially given the graphics on the side with Mopar inside the Chevy Bowtie.

    1970 rule book has gas class as follows:
    A/G 5 to 6.49
    B/G 6.5 to 7.99
    C/G 8 to 9.49
    D/G 9.5 to 10.99
    E/G 11.0 to 12.49
    F/G 12.5 or more
    G through I gas were for flat heads, inline six bangers etc. Modified heads allowed
    G/G 6.0 to 7.99
    H/G 8.0 to 10.99
    I/G 11.0 or more
    J/G was for pre 1960 flatheads, 6 bangers etc. wth stock heads
    J/G 11 or more

    What a great find.


  8. Tom Zickefoose

    I got to meet John and see this car in person. I’m not necessarily a straight line guy but was still awed by the originality of this car and the ingenuity employed in the building of it.. It is truly a blast from the past. Thanks for saving it!!

  9. Gary Smrtic

    Awesome! A forward thinking Chevy guy, who, before every race engine was comprised of all aftermarket parts, decided he wanted a driveline that’d run and stay together. Outstanding.

    I worked at a speed shop in the early ’70’s, and the owner had a standing order with the local Chevy dealer, who’d deliver a dozen Chevy axles to the shop every Monday morning for all the Chevy racers who would break theirs on Sunday. Funny stuff!

    Jerry Stein is a character, and he could make a max wedge run…ask him about making a run at a record meet at Island Dragway with his crew chief, Monk, in the trunk…

  10. Gord schwarz

    Unfortnatly they will wash it and sell it at auction BJ for big bucks to go back into hiding again personaly I would like to see it run but it will not happen

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    1. Don Babb

      I have a car in my barn just like it.. A good solid Calif. car, complete, V-8 standard shift. I will lose a little money and sell it for $6500. You can add decals as you desire. 541-582-8966 Southern Oregon

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