My Car Quest

July 18, 2024

1952 So-Cal Belly Tanker

by Mike –

Returning American soldiers from World War II wanted to build cars that went fast. This was especially true in Southern California where the Hot Rod culture was created by returning soldiers who had learned new mechanicals skills in the military.

So-Cal Belly Tanker

One of these cars stands out. An ingenious Bill Burke thought it was a good idea to take the aluminum fuel tank from P-51 and P-47 airplanes and turn them into land rockets designed to go very fast in a straight line on the dry lake beds of Southern California.

It turned out that the larger tanks from a P-38 were more suitable to hold a Ford V8 engine and a driver.

So-Cal Belly Tanker

The classic So-Cal Special shown here is the most famous of these belly tankers. Alex Xydias, the owner of the So-Cal Speed Shop, and Dave DeLangton collaborated on this ingenious race car.

So-Cal Belly Tanker

At the Bonneville National Speed Trials in the summer of 1951 the So-Cal Belly Tanker set new records with driver DeLangton. With a few engine changes this creation eventually reached more that 195 MPH in 1952. Read more here.

Click on the images for a larger view.

So-Cal Belly Tanker

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