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The Magazine

What to do with a left over Belly Tank ?

1946 Bill Burke Belly Tank Recreation
During last Hershey we saw a socalled 'belly tank' for sale and wondered about the purpose. Race mechanic Will Silk explains: This tank is a 165 gallon drop tank, which was used on P-51 Mustangs. Be it that it's the smaller tank, the packaging was constrained a bit and therefore the driver ended up in more of a "rider" like position. Later tanks, were of the 315 gallon type commonly used by P-38 Lightnings on long jaunts across the Pacific. The large tank afforded better packaging in that the driver could set ahead of the engine and a true mid engine layout could be utilized. See for more history Barracuda Magazine.
Showing here is a Belly Tank Lakester. Those three words instantly conjure images of racing flat out across dry lake beds in Southern California and Utah. Before you is a recreation of the first ever Belly Tank Lakester, originally built by Bill Burke in 1946, barely a year after the end of World War II. Ninety years young, Bill Burke consulted on the program to recreate the car that started it all. In 2008 the process began and the results came to fruition in 2009 yielding the product before your eyes. For even more history on this amazing car, check Vintage Motors of Sarasota (text Will Silk; photos courtesy Geoff Hacker )

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