Started by John Shelton in 2008, American Gasser, Inc. has grown rapidly to become one of the top respected reproduction gasser shops in the country. With quality standards far above those often found in the ‘kit car’ industry and strict attention to detail in addition to listening to the voice of the customer, the rolling chassis and turn key products produced at American Gasser have continually added customers to the list of ‘extended family’ across the country.
John opened American Gasser to follow a life long dream of working on hot rods every day. As a hobby there never seemed to be enough hours to fulfil his desire to build cars and then as all passion filled hobbyists know spend time with the family before time is all ‘used up’. To John, that meant it was time to merge the career and the hobby that his father enjoyed over the years. John and his father (also John) enjoyed performance engine building, car restoration, drag and circle track racing, car collecting, and simple engine swaps just for fun over the years. Like a narcotic, hot rodding was injected into John’s veins – therapy simply meant to perform the work rather than tease oneself with the hobby.
Work began in 2008 building “Gassers”, the one time legend of the drag strip now returned to popularity through the nostalgic drag racing series. John found an individual who dedicated several years to reproducing the 1940/1941 Willys Coupe Gasser and successfully launched the vehicle although had no desire to produce them on a production basis. John then incorporated his background as a manufacturing and mechanical engineer to make this car in a production manner with repeatable and efficient assembly processes.
Steve Dmitriev was the first full time employee starting in 2008 as the fabricator. Steve brings in a lot of experience in steel fabrication as well as structural building through construction. Steve’s abilities with fabrication, tig and mig welding, and overall attention to detail far exceed what is typical in a fabricator. Steve has performed custom chassis development as well as original frame restoration. Steve’s first frame restoration and construction led to magazine exposure in World of Rods.
In an effort to move more rapidly on the backlog list, Dave Jones, was hired in 2009 as a second fabricator. Dave has a extended history in race car fabrication as well as driver of both circle track and drag racing cars. Dave not only brings in a second set of hands to produce frames and rolling chassis but also a lot experience on turnkey drive train assembly. Dave built a street machine Corvette and has filled his trophy room with 7 Super Chevy awards among others in respect to his attention to assembly on finished cars.
John floats around the shop filling in with fiberglass fabrication, electrical system installation, mock up and final assembly, sales, and all other managerial duties to feed the guys as they weld and grind their way through the day. Steve (Bull, as known in the shop) works in the Bull Pin while Dave enjoys music over the sound of the grinder as he works away in his ‘mosh pit’.
Most importantly, the team insists that each day must be filled with efficient work and more importantly fun. Work hard, play hard. That is the motto when the reward comes at events attended where potential customers line up to see the final product and discuss opportunities for how they may get their own gasser. Delivery day is also a day we all look forward to as customers come with delight to receive their Willys.
To date, American Gasser has produced 30 reproduction 1940/41 Willys in all stages from rolling chassis to full turn key. Show cars, street driven cars, and race cars – all styles and versions. The shop has seen very few cars that are close to the same with various options and styles each customer desires in the car.
The first 1933 Willys will be released in spring 2010 and displayed throughout the upcoming show season. In the future, American Gasser would like to pursue interest received in the Anglia and Thames Panel Van gassers. The Henry J body is also available with plans to develop the frame in 2010. Stay tuned.
Trailer Toad LLC‚ Janesville‚ IA has started production of the latest version of the Trailer Toad 3500HD. The 2010.5 Trailer Toad 3500HD. Designed to protect motor homes from frame damage‚ body side wall damage and overloading of suspension components and tires. Overall handling and braking is improved as the coach has no additional weight on it from the trailer so it remains more stable. This is a huge improvement for Class C motor homes and pickups with slide‑in campers and extended hitches.
The patented 2010.5 Trailer Toad 3500HD is unique in that it is a weight‑bearing hitch with its own suspension‚ separate from the tow vehicle and trailer‚ steerable torsion-axle‚ dual stabilizer shocks and carries its own spare tire.
The latest improvements include⁚
1.Change from 5‑lug wheels to a more common 6×5.5 bolt circle wheel. These will match up with more trailers and spare tires will be interchangeable in emergencies. 5 lug hubs can be ordered if you want them.
2.Steering pivot has been upgraded to a 40c larger spindle and 6000 lb hub. Wheel hubs are now 6‑lug (6×5.5” B.C.).
3.Improved finish. Includes dipped aqueous primer and chip‑resistant powder coat. Custom colors are available, contact company for details.
Over 700 Trailer Toads are in use today protecting tow vehicles and improving the owner’s towing experience. No fabrication is required to install the Trailer Toad. Every Trailer Toad is American-made from the finest components and covered by a Limited Lifetime Warranty. For more details visit our website.
Trailer Toad LLC
Jok Nicholson – Jok@trailertoad.com
P.O. Box 448
Janesville‚ IA 50647