The Barn Find Racer

As much as it’s about the smells of nitro fuel and burning rubber, the California Hot Rod Reunion is about history.

The event is a fantastic throwback to an era when big-time drag racing was one of the most exciting things going on in American automotive culture.

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Each time the Reunion comes around, you get the chance to see rare and historic vehicles that tell the story of drag racing as it was during the golden years. And if you want a history lesson on why vintage drag cars are so damn cool, just take a look at this machine known as Superstition.

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The car is owned by Brennen Van Sistine of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and rather than being a modern build in the style of a vintage gasser, this is the real deal. Superstition is a genuine historic race car with a well known history of racing across the midwest during the ’60s and ’70s. When Brennen found the car in completely original condition, he knew he had to make the cross country trip to be part of the Hot Rod Reunion.

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It’s always a treat to see an old drag car that’s been preserved like this one, but what makes Superstition even cooler is that it’s built from one of the most iconic American classics of all time – the 1957 Chevy Bel Air hardtop.

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And while it says Chevy on the outside, this race car has been powered by Pontiac V8 engines all of its life. At the moment it has a blown 400ci pushed way back towards the rear of the engine bay. And yes, it still runs!

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The cockpit of the Chevy is all period correct of course, with minimal safety equipment and plenty of old school homebuilt attitude.

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Every little part of the car seems to tell a story, from the faded lettering on the body to the original decals that cover the windows. It’s just wonderful.

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When asked what he plans to do with the Chevy, Brennen isn’t quite sure what the future holds. He certainly doesn’t envisage doing anything that will detract from the authentic charm, and told me he’d be quite happy to see the car wind up in a museum somewhere. We’d say this piece of drag racing history is certainly worthy of it.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media

More Gasser related stories on Speedhunters



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Love old 60s drag cars as thats the era my father got me into when I was just a kid. Id grt it mechanically sound, clean her all up and go make some noise...But thats me...and IDC how much a car is worth...its still a car haha


Love me some gassers




If I was Brennen, I'd give it a nice light detailing, leave as much patina as possible without the real neglected look it's got now. Throw clear on the pieces needing it, or would it be to shiny? Is there flat clear? Whatever. Do as little as possible to get it street legal, street gears, hidden led brake, turn signals (they're really tiny right?). The reactions from people on my daily grind would be amazing, not to mention this icon was part of my matchbox childhood. Most days my 87 BMW blows people's minds, imagine this thing at a gas station? You'd meet more gear heads in a week, then any car would attract in a life time. If you like cars, and talking to folks, and making friends through cars, I am, this is super cool, damn near perfect ride.


PeterJ I was going to comment on how the I'd be a little stuck with what to do with the car, but you pretty much nailed it.


Give it a good mechanical refresh, ensuring it will run good.  Then find a replacement front grill that matches the patina of the car. that's about it.


Had to look up "envisage".  I could envision what it meant, but I wasn't sure...


Imagine this thing on the street.... So much want


PeterJ That would be awesome!


the car was very good 
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