Just Don’t Call It A Rat Rod…
You Dig?

Very few cars are built purely for driving with absolutely no regard for aesthetics. At one end of the scale you’ve got something like the bog-standard Toyota Corolla, which are churned out for people who don’t care about cars and just want to get from point A to point B. Then you have something like this ’55 Chevy Gasser, which you may recognise from the hit TV show Sin City Motors, built by the team at Welderup in Las Vegas.

This is an over the top, over-powered, in your face, expertly fabricated, piece of rolling art. Just don’t call it a rat rod…

Welderup Sin City 55 Gasser

I feel quite passionate about this Chevrolet, because as more and more people seem to have to name and pigeonhole a car build, this build is doing something new and old at the same time. It’s as though, if you can’t name something then it can’t be understood, and we’ve all heard them – from resto-cal to the term gasser itself. And that’s why calling this two-door a rat rod would be a mistake. Although the term is meant to be something that’s pretty messed-up looking but all together under the skin, I think it’s got a little bit out of hand.

Welderup Sin City 55 Gasser-9

I’m not detracting from rat rod culture, but I think it lost it’s way right about the same time the name was created. Back before that a rat rod was something you beat on and drove the hell out of. You’d fix it up as you went along and it looked the way it did because you generally couldn’t afford anything better, or didn’t much care for it. But with the identity came acceptance. All the trademark modifications were there to be copied without understanding why they existed.

Welderup Sin City 55 Gasser-2

So why is the Welderup Chevy different? Because its authentic touches – like the quick-change rear end – hark back to days spent at the drag races when you might need to change ratios between runs. Steve Darnell and his team have been doing this long enough to know why it’s there rather than just bolting it on because they saw somebody else do it.

Welderup Sin City 55 Gasser-21

The same goes for the pie crust slicks: low pressure for traction. You can imagine the white wall crinkling up as the wheel tries to rotate inside it; the Wieand-blown V8 throwing the power to the rear; the weight transfer making the skinny fronts giggle as they momentarily lift off the ground.

Welderup Sin City 55 Gasser-4

But this isn’t a straight-up gasser homage – it’s been turned up to 11 on the dial and has hints of Hot Wheels about it. Ignoring the sharp edges, you could imagine picking up a toy car that looked like this at the supermarket when you were a kid. Because that’s what you played with, right? You didn’t sit in imaginary traffic in a plain jane white Toyota Corolla, did you? Now imagine if the body was soaked a nice shiny coat of paint – that would change things completely, and almost seem boring in comparison. Not worse, just different and less characterful. More conventional even, and that’s not what this build is.

Welderup Sin City 55 Gasser-12

I guess you might think the overall affect is too much, too in your face. But compare it to a Liberty Walk kitted R35 or maybe even a GT2 Porsche 911… Both of those serve a purpose and so does this – it just so happens that the Chevy is built to grab your attention and to have a good time. I like that there’s an honesty to that, a ‘Yeah, we’re showing off’ kind of ethos.

Welderup Sin City 55 Gasser-18

If you free your mind up you might even admit to wanting some seat time looking out at that blower. Gunning the engine and feeling the body rock on the suspension around you, a near death experience is just a shift of the gear selector and a prod of the throttle away. You have to know what you’re doing to pilot something like this, which reflects on the guys that built it.

Welderup Sin City 55 Gasser-3

So for me this isn’t a contrived styling exercise, designed to grab your attention and nothing more. No, it’s a completely considered project. This is fabrication meets a history lesson with a hint of child like ‘what if’, coupled with the skills and vision to make it a reality that can thunder down the road.

As you can see from this short film, the Chevy is 110 per cent badass. From the ‘puke’ tank on the front to the original rear lenses, I like the fact that it mixes it up in the name of having a good time. I’m not trying to start an argument here, but if you don’t ‘get’ this, maybe you should take a look around more. You could be missing out…

Bryn Musselwhite
Instagram: Speedhunterbryn

Cutting Room Floor
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Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Oh I dig, love the style. Your the best Bryn.


this is the best looking gasser I've seen on speedhunters. This one seems the most purpose driven.


I agree, that is no "rat rod". Well executed and purposeful build. That would be crazy on the street!


the_escape_road I'd love to have a couple of days with it, just enough to not get used to it. Still be a little scared every time I hit the throttle.


The exhaust over the front left wheel is pure machismo.

So as the whole car.
However, i know the genre is like this, but it would be nicer if this had a proper paintjob. Not some candy colors, just a solid one.


Love gassers, this particular one needs more and bigger Ed Roth decals.


I didn't really read the story, but cool rat rod.


I wanna drive that to the grocery store


not hating but i just dont feel it...looks like a racy donk...


I am feeling this... daily driver? YES


That thing is so impractical that it's pure genius.

Steveland Cleamer

I wouldn't change a thing, except maybe a pretty Latina girlfriend in the front seat...am I allowed to say that? I swear it was the car the made me.....


I've been telling you guys for ages to head over to WelderUp! Bryn, did you see Steves D Rod?


I really do love me SOME gassers. This thing sucks just because of the stance. I am all for nose high straight axle stance but when you raise the back it look likes $#!%. They should have done the right thing and radius the rear wheel wells, lower it in the rear and kept that junk from looking like a 4x4.


I just can't get past the high ride height on the ass... It looks more like a monster truck than a gasser.  Really offputting on an otherwise cool build.


this car would and still is considered a street freak...they were popular in the 70s..the pie crusts (pie crusts were old technology by 66-67 roughly) are wrong for it and they didnt wrinkle when ran at low pressure...wrinkle wall slicks came later...quick changes were also not popular in drag racing...they were initially designed for circle and landspeed racing...not bashing it but it gets old seeing and reading wrong info...just my 2 cents...


sean klingelhoefer Shouldn't you be shooting a magazine feature? x


I dig it a lot.  I like it better than most of the crappy trucks and cars at SEMA this year.  I'm not a car person but at least this thing has soul.  It's also not super cookie cutter either, which is really what drew me to it year or two ago.  There's some things that are wrong but hell who gives a rats ass if it gets driven.  I like the fact it was just built for the sake of attitude.  It's every bit about the ride height.  Stance is every everything and this thing has it.  Too many guys sell out to the norm and regular same ole crap.  This car has been on the scene for awhile but really hasn't got a ton of coverage.  Some but not a lot like some cars.  I was glad to see an write up on it.  I like it street freak or not.  I was and have always been into the street freaks of the past.  You should do a write up on the Dead Mans Curve Car Club.  They have some awesome street freaks or gassers.  Some that will make your mouth drop.!


The hobby: Getting worse all the time.


kinda lame.  takes something good and goes too far.
this is how its done


I dig it.


@Moldy In your opinion, yes, but this is something different. I'm a big fan of the Roadkill '55 and it's more like something I'd drive. But this is more about shock tactics, in your face drama.


HelenDotson Care to expand? This is just a tiny, tiny part of the modified car community as a whole. Is this worse than a 100 '55s sat in garages around the world that people will do something with 'some day'... I don't think so.


pistol pete 12 Great tip off, glad you like Pete. Thanks!


@chris chabre Hi Chris, trying to think why I recognise your name? Thanks for picking up on my inaccuracies. As interested as I am in all types of car culture, sometimes the finer points aren't well, my finer point! You're quite right of course this is more of a street freak, I always associate them with straighter paint I guess, maybe with some 70s graphic touches and more period wheels to the time like Cragers etc. Slicks and rear end, point taken.

Life is an education and it's the stupid man who stops learning :)


JohnCulbert Drama and shock!


Capital E Take the gasser label away and then look it!


LukeEVOVIII Yup, they were all lined up. Great place, got a shop tour we may run at some point too.


@Steveland Cleamer You can say what you want. And you did! :)


LavarBowers It kinda does! You don't have to like everything :)


After a week of showcar builds (and i know they have their value too), to see something build just for fun win the showcar attention is just the laid back and relaxing thing i needed for the weekend
I drive a drift car, but my 5yo self would love this car!


I post here and there, i also use to build hot rods as a fabricator at Rolling Bones hot rod shop. Ive raced at Bonneville, and frequent a few forums...Like you, my interests are varied throughout this lifestyle we live. I have always said the day I stop learning is the day i die...


@Moldy Kinda lame? Seriously?


I would give a lot to be able to sit in the driver's chair with the nose pointed down a drag strip. This is great


@chris chabre Ahh that could by why I recognise it, maybe I read an article on something you were involved? HAMB member? Thanks for getting involved :)


Speedhunters_Bryn Capital E I should have said "in my opinion this thing sucks" But hey different strokes for different folks keeps the world spinning.


I am a HAMB member but under the name "CSHABANG" I also rarely post there anymore as Ryan and I seem to butt heads often. haha


This is not a gasser. Nor is it a rat rod. It's not even a street freak. It's what we've come to know as a "shock rod", because indeed, the only purpose it really has is to attract the attention of e-ve-ry-one. And this thing achieves that and then some, I'd say.


mbretschneider My 5yo self would be sat alongside you giving high fives!


Speedhunters_Bryn HelenDotson  I don't think @HelenDotson really knows what they're talking about. I honestly don't know what could even be perceived as "bad" about this build. @HelenDotson probably prefers a candy apple red 32 ford roadster with a flat head and billet wheels like every other boring old fart.


JohnCulbert  I agree. Wonderful tri-5 gasser... just needs that sweet buttox to squat down! I don't know about you, but I love to see the nose in the sky.


Speedhunters_Bryn mbretschneider Then gimme another Dr. Pepper from the box, turn up the stereo and let us hit Toys R Us and the dragstrip!


This is why we can't have nice things......


Yes as a former gear head I always appreciate a well built 55 Chevy. And yours is a good looking street rod. But I'm. interested in what is under the hood and what kind of tranny it's got i can already see that it's got a decent rearend. Come on spill it.


I prefer the radiused fender, lower sitting look myself. The hood treatment is pretty cool though, would it hold up at speed?