What does the term “Period Correct” mean to you?
If you google the term Period Correct a definition does not pop right up. There are a couple discussions on forums, a clothing company etc. but that is about it.
My definition would be this: An object that is from a distinct time period that is in whole a combination of components that came from and are representative of that time.
For our purposes we will use the automobile as an example, most specifically the coupe and sedan racers from the “Gasser” period. We can agree that the Gasser period started in the 50’s and continued on through 1967. Yes there were Gas Classes after 1967 however most believe that when NHRA allowed Ohio George to run a unibody Mustang with a Willys frame, the term Gasser died. Now in any form of racing, especially in the early years, time moves quickly and changes were a plenty. In the 50’s Gassers cars were more street cars than race cars. As competitors kept trying to beat each other, they discovered what combinations worked best and how to tune them. As the cars got faster the track surface and tire compound became an issue. It was discovered that setting the engine back and raising the front of the vehicle to get as much weight to the rear of the car as possible could combat the lack of traction. These are the iconic Gassers that most of us fell in love with. Each season the street part of the street division would fade a little more. The advent of the wrinkle wall slick changed the game in 1966 and very quickly racers discovered that aerodynamics played a more important role. The iconic nose high stance started to disappear quickly.
So for me, one needs to pick a period, before they can claim period correct. That period needs to be specific as each season saw many changes. Once the period is decided upon, many facets of the build should be adhered to for a period correct build/organization/event. It should look like, act like, and be complete with everything from that time. Any deviation from this would change the build/organization/event from “Period Correct” to Nostalgia. We will get to Nostalgia in another article.
The most period correct racing that I have witnessed would be reliability runs back in the 70’s with my dad’s model a Ford club. They were very strict on the restoration of their vehicles. I thought that The Race of Gentlemen was very Period Correct when I went to Pismo Beach. I have since learned that they too allow modern style transmissions square tube frames and such now. The Factory Appearing Stock Tire muscle car racing is pretty close. After that, there are no events, groups out there that are period correct. Some of the more noteworthy examples of not being Period Correct: Sorry ladies, back up girls are awesome and add to the overall production of the show, however, backing up a funny car would be correct, but not a gasser. Disguising new parts/technology by painting or keeping from plain sight is not period correct. Running Heads Up and leveling the playing field to keep the racing close is not period correct. Bolting on pie crust slicks on a 1966 and older car does not make it period correct. Running alcohol is not period correct. Handicap and index racing is not period correct. Adding weight, reducing blower drive ratio to protect a series from having a dominating combination is not period correct. Overall appearance is not enough to call it Period Correct. Those are my initial thoughts. I hope to keep this civil and folks give some thought to this and by all means post your opinions. I will not tolerate any Group Name, event name or car name in the comments. This is about the term Period Correct only and not about who does what. Thanks for taking the time to read this and participate!
Gasser Madness is an internet web site dedicated to a period of Drag Racing that spawned the hey day of the sport. Byron Stack started the site, and I along with numerous Gasser affectionatos would reference this site! Byron left us in 2012. Bill Pratt took over the daunting task of restoring what could be found for the original site. What you see at Gassermadness.us is his accomplishment of restoring Byron’s work. Bill’s time is consumed with Draglist.com and he consulted with me about taking over and building on Byron’s work. My name is Don Moyer and I am also the race director for Gasser Magazine. I am currently working on a new website for Gassermadness that will continue to display Byron’s work while supplying the Gasser fans of the world all things Gasser! So put your safety harness on and buckle up, Gasser Madness is alive and well!