The 1957 Chevrolet 210 "Mr. Gasket" Tribute: A Classic with a Stunning Secret under the Hood

Crafted between 1955 and 1957, with annual enhancements, the Chevrolet Tri-Five has become a quintessential emblem of 1950s design.

The coveted Bel Air, particularly in its Sport Coupe and Nomad iterations, is a prized collectible that can command six-figure sums. Yet, the Tri-Five's allure extends far beyond its status as a collector's gem.

As a quintessential symbol of the 1950s, the Chevy full-size didn't just grace the roads but also conquered the race track. Numerous Tri-Fives were drag-raced with great success, as Bill Jenkins achieved remarkable victories across various classes. In the 1960s, the Tri-Five became a favorite among the gasser crowd.

These stylish full-size vehicles were also a frequent presence on NASCAR ovals. While Chevrolet didn't secure a series win until 1958, after the Tri-Five's production ended, many renowned drivers of the era favored the 150s and 210s. The legendary "Black Widow" dominated the 1957 Grand National Series season, even after NASCAR quickly banned fuel injection.

Produced in collaboration with The Southern Engineering Development Company (SEDCO), the "Black Widow"—a stripped-down 150 utility sedan with an upgraded V8—was made in a limited run of just six units.

As one of the most sought-after and valuable Tri-Fives, it's an undeniable gem. However, the 1957 two-door sedan featured here may not share the same fame, but it's an impressive tribute to a "Mr. Gasket" dragster.

If you're not familiar with Mr. Gasket, it's time to get acquainted. This prominent name from the 1960s refers to a performance parts company founded by Joseph F. Hrudka in 1965. Initially created to support Hrudka's drag-racing career, Mr. Gasket developed an innovative gasket designed to endure high temperatures, making it ideal for racing.

The gasket's instant success earned Hrudka a staggering $600,000 in 1967.

By 1969, Mr. Gasket's sales skyrocketed to $3 million, and by 1971, Hrudka's worth reached an astounding $6 million—starting from an initial $5 investment. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Gasket products were wildly popular in drag racing, and the company's logo adorned numerous vehicles, perhaps even surpassing the iconic Hurst in its heyday.

This Tri-Five, though not an authentic "Mr. Gasket" racer, serves as a testament to the enduring appeal of the 1957 Chevrolet as a captivating project car more than six decades after rolling off the assembly line. Though not a glitzy Bel Air (despite sporting some additional trim) or a pillarless Sport Coupe, it exudes a classic '60s vibe with black rear steelies and a minimalist, garage-style livery.

Far from being all flash and no substance, this Tri-Five boasts a powerful and thunderous V8 under the hood. Eschewing the original engine, a custom 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) small-block Chevy powerhouse was installed, packed with aftermarket internals for an extra kick.

While specific horsepower figures remain unknown, this Tri-Five's roar suggests it could potentially outpace numerous golden-era muscle cars on the quarter-mile.

Revitalizing a 210 Tri-Five in this manner offers a fantastic alternative to relegating it to the scrapheap or using it for spare parts. Feast your eyes on this beauty in the video below, and don't forget to crank up the volume to fully appreciate the resounding small-block V8 symphony.

Incidentally, Mr. Gasket is still thriving in 2023. Now a part of Holley Performance, the company continues to produce gaskets alongside an extensive range of aftermarket parts, including hardware, fittings, engine components, and transmission parts.

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