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1941 Willys Gasser - "Silver Dollar"
Stored since 1965, this Willys is truly a time capsule. The original owner and racer, Mike Bamber, built this truck in 1957 to compete in the A/Gas Super class. Built in his garage with "a few friends and a lot of beer", Bamber kept only the cab and doors in their original steel. Taking tips from his neighbor, Bamber made molds of the original parts and made fiberglass copies of the bed, fenders and hood, and he says the bed and rear fenders only weigh about 50 pounds. The hood was later replaced with a Cal Automotive hood, which has its original sticker. Because of the engine setback in the truck and Bamber being 6 foot 2 inches, the gas pedal is on the passenger side of the truck, while the brake pedal is actually a lever with a pedal welded to it. The original engine is unfortunately missing, but the engine that resides between the fenders is a replication of the 1965 combination that Bamber used, a 283 block and heads, Falcon radiator, a Larry Bowers GMC 6-71 blower, Hilborn 4 port injector and Corvette valve covers with dragster-style breathers. Since the original scoop was also missing, Dennis Webb reproduced the scoop flawlessly. Santa Ana Speed Center's Larry Rowenhurst bored and stroked the motor to 355 ci. Jose Palito reproduced the distinct headers that are on this truck.The original engine was built by Bamber with help from Dragmaster, who also supplied the tube front end. The vintage B&M Hydro transmission is still present and recently rebuilt by Four C's transmission in Santa Fe Springs, CA. The original leaf springs and Oldsmobile rear end are still in place along with the American Racing mags and M&H Racemaster 10.5-15 slicks. For better weight transfer when this truck was raced, Bamber filled a 4" round tube with 150 lbs of lead, used it as a bumper and filled the stock gas tank with concrete (no longer present). Bamber also had a 150 lb tractor battery and a full toolbox, and fine tuned weight by removing tools. Unfortunately in 1966, a young girl, just learning how to drive, crashed into the barn where the truck was stored, along with a 450 ci Hemi that Bamber was planning on installing in the truck, damaging the engine as well as the truck . Rather than fixing the truck and engine, Bamber decided that it was time to quit racing. Forty years later, Chris Unger, a close friend of Bamber's eventually bought the truck and pulled it out of the barn, exactly as it looked forty years before. In one of the photos of the truck, Bamber is racing the Speed Sport of Fisher and Greth out of Tucson. In this particular race, the Silver dollar took a hard left in front of the Speed Sport, while the Speed Sport avoided him to the right. They ultimately finished the race in the wrong lanes, neither of the cars lifting. We recently had Red Greth in the shop to look over this truck, and he remembered the race, and also signed the photo. This truck retains all of its original lettering as well as its blue plexiglass windows, complete with "241" written in shoe polish from the last time it raced at Lions Dragway. This 1941 Willys Gasser is a incredible part of Hot Rodding history!

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