Supercharged ’67 Shelby Mustang Looks Like Pure NHRA Royalty
Hailing from a NHRA racing class once known as ‘Gassers,’ this wild ‘Stang was king of its era and the last one of its kind.
As the old cliche goes, all good things must come to an end. The pay telephone, mass train travel, Sears, they’ve all entered the twilight of their lives. Usually, once-mighty movements fizzle out with a whimper. But sometimes, they go out with a bang. One of those things was the NHRA’s A/Gas Supercharged class, better known as “Gassers.” By the mid-’70s, Gassers were consigned to the history books. But in the late ’60s, this Hemi-powered 1967 Shelby Mustang was the king.
Before you get angry, understand that this isn’t a real Shelby with a Mopar powerplant shoved in. It’s a purpose-built drag car with a fiberglass Shelby-style body planted on top. But it sure made Ford look good in the late ’60s, when it was piloted by pro driver Bob “Bones” Balogh to countless wins at strips across the country. Today, it’s fully restored and looking just as it did during its 1969 heyday.
Final days of the Gassers
According to Hot Rod, by the late ’60s, Gassers were already falling out of favor with racers, as Funny Cars and Pro Stock cars rose to prominence. In a 1967 attempt to breathe new life into the class, the NHRA ruled that Gassers could be modern cars (cars like ’40 Willys coupes and ’50s Chevys dominated the class) were legal. Within a few months, team owner Tim Woods had the Shelby built.
From the start, the Shelby was less Blue Oval and more a showcase of period go-fast parts from across the automotive world. It had a boxed rectangular tube frame. A bored, stroked, and blown 467 cubic inch Hemi V8 backed by a 727 TorqueFlite automatic transmission sat up front. The rear end came from Oldsmobile and had 4.30 gears. The steering system came from a Corvair. The Shelby body was fiberglass and built by Cal Automotive. With slightly exaggerated proportions, blue tinted glass, and a massive blower sticking out of the hood, the car looks like the missing link between Gassers and Funny Cars.
Brief moment of glory
In 1969, the “Stone Woods & Bones” was one of the top Gassers in the country. Along with cars from K.S. Pitman, Jr. Thompson, and Ohio George, the cars toured drag strips around the country trying to prove that there was still life in the Gasser segment. It didn’t work. Despite running the Shelby against newer Funny Cars at Quaker City, Ohio, the car was retired at the end of the summer tour. It was sold off for $1,500 as a roller in the early ’70s.
In the ’80s, Ford collector Brent Hajek heard about the car through a friend. It was painted in a different livery, but it was a disused roller again. After some research, he discovered that it was the Stone Woods & Bones car, and set about restoring it. Today, the car looks just like it did back when Bones Balogh was working to keep Gassers alive back in the late ’60s.
And to make this ending even happier, the Gasser Shelby draws a crowd wherever it goes. Gassers are popular at historic events, and this Mustang – even though it doesn’t have much Ford DNA, is one of the most popular cars at any event. The Stone Woods & Bones car may have been the last high-point of the Gasser era, but today, it’s a legend.