Welcome to “Belly Tanks and Streamliners”

At Bonneville in 2009 With Bobby Green and Crew and The Bill Burke Tribute of Tank #1 (1946)

Hi Gang…

Welcome to “Belly Tanks and Streamliners”.   A website focusing on vintage wing tanks, streamliners, and artifacts related to racing on the dry lakes from the late 1930′s thru 1955.  And some rare hot rodding material too!

The more you get into hot rodding, the more you get interested in history.  That’s what happened to me a few years ago, as I started learning more about the fiberglass sports cars of the 1950′s – which are really thinly disguised hot rods with elegant sports car bodies (see www.forgottenfiberglass.com for more information).

So….take this interest a few more steps to the extreme and you’re looking at trying to understand more about the origins of hot rodding, and what was happening in the late 1930′s and thru the early 1950′s.  There’s not much written about these early years, and that’s what intrigued me about this timeframe.  That is, what could we find out, and how can we share it with others who might enjoy it too.

Gus Maanum Did Some Wonderful Illustrations in the Late 1940's of Belly Tanks, Streamliners, and Hot Rods Racing on the Dry Lakes

This ultimately led to documenting the early history of hot rodding, custom cars, sports cars, belly tanks, and streamliners from an era that is considered the foundation of the hobby.  With help from good friends worldwide, I hope to share relevant pictures, stories, magazine articles, and film/video about this era and the achievements of these men and women.  Some of the material I hope to cover both in stories on the website and reference material posted for review include:

  • Vintage pictures and stories about belly tanks and streamliners from the prewar to postwar era – thru about 1955
  • Key magazine articles focusing on the build and running of these same vehicles from 1946-1955
  • Publications and shows put on by SCTA, Russetta, and others showcasing vehicles from this era
  • Drawings by Gus Maanum, Richard Teague, and others capturing the spirit of racing in these years
  • Year by year identification of the winner of the Hot Rod Magazine Award known as “The World’s Fastest Hot Rod”
  • Information about the early timing associations including SCTA, Russetta, and more
  • Spotters guide on how to identify different early tanks from one another
  • Interviews with some of the early belly tank builders and racers
  • And more…

Recently Found and Restored by Mark Brinker of Houston Texas, Chet Herbert's 1952 "Beast III" Graces the Lawn at Pebble Beach in 2010

I’m still working on creating the background material for the website and this will get posted in the future so you’ll notice if you click on the links on the website, many pages are blank.  That will change over time.  Additional stories will help flesh out these areas, and those of you who want to be notified of new stories can “subscribe” on our website by clicking on the “Subscribe to Us!” link on the right side of our home page (www.bellytanks.com)

I hope you enjoy this new resource on the web and welcome any and all help in documenting this era for all of us so interested.

So….as Bill Burke told me about his memories of driving the first belly tank on the salt in 1946….

Shake….Rattle…..and Go!

Geoff

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Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger version of the picture

About Geoffrey Hacker

Geoff Hacker is an automotive historian and is researching the history of belly tanks and streamliners from the early postwar era with his good friend Rick D'Louhy. Both are also working on a book called "Forgotten Fiberglass" about the history of early fiberglass sports cars in America (www.forgottenfiberglass.com). Read more about Geoff's background on the "About Us" link of the Forgotten Fiberglass website. He can be reached at geoffrey@bellytanks.com

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