Thursday, August 06, 2009

Speed Week at Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats - A whole lot of flatness!

I'm guest blogging on this month. I'm excited for the opportunity because it gives me a chance to provide some additional information about some of the stories I've done for Make Magazine previously.

In this month's Make Magazine (Issue 19) I've got a piece on Speed Week, the gathering of speed enthusiasts that meets in Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover Utah to celebrate all things that go fast on the ground.

The Make Magazine piece focuses on Belly Tank Racers, which are fast cars made from the aluminum fuel tanks of military airplanes (they are highly aerodynamic so they are perfect for car bodies.) The men who make them, make them from scratch, and take them to speeds exceeding 200 mph. Now that's some fine work.

Here are some additional pictures of those way cool belly tankers.

This is Gary Calvert's belly tank racer.

Belly Racer's Engine

Here's the interior

Here's me inside it.

Belly Tankers are "open wheel" machines meaning there is no fairing or cowling covering the tires.

Working on Steve DiMartino's Jesse's Girl just before racing

Ready to race. The belly tanker gets a push start and then streaks across the desert.


kentkb said...

Cool Stuff Bill, the Belly Tankers are great DiY projects.

COOP said...

Here's a link to my photos from 2007 Speed Week, where I was crew for Bobby Green's Old Crow, a belly tanker running a B-block fourbanger with an overhead valve conversion and a blower.
Bobby also owns an original Bill Burke tanker that he is in the process of restoring.

We were joined on the salt by another original belly tanker (on its way to Pebble Beach!) the Tom Beatty tank. It was all-original and unrestored, and we even fired up the Olds motor in the pits.

Dan said...

Keep your eye out for Geoff Hacker's re-creation of Bill Burke's original bellytanker, previewed here:

Hung Throttle Podcast said...

Love the blog site. Do you plan to post agian during Speedweek? We have a buddy who is trying land speed racing for the first time at this event. Looks like great fund, whish we could be there.
Lugnut and Barney