1952 So-Cal Belly Tank Lakester

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SoCalBellyTank-vi.jpg

Alex Xydias and his So-Cal Speed Shop built the fastest unblown flathead-powered car in the history of Bonneville… a 1951 record that still stands!

The So-Cal Speed Shop belly tank was built using a 315 gallon surplus P-38 centerline fuel tank (belly tank) as its body. Using the streamlined belly tank was a natural to this Air Corps veteran who knew that Lockheed had spent lots of time in the wind tunnel with these tanks making them aerodynamically “slippery” and they were available as war surplus for $5!

In August of 1948, Alex installed a “souped-up” Ford 156 cu. in. V8-60 that he and hot rod pioneer Vic Edelbrock Sr. built. He towed the car to El Mirage dry lake and set a class record of 130.155.

Initially the car was run as a streamliner, but the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) created a special class for these fuel tank cars calling them “lakesters”.

Later at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Alex and his So-Cal Speed Shop team used the V8-60 to set a class record at 145.395. They swapped out the V8-60 for a larger 259 inch Mercury flathead and set another class record at 181.085. They then put in a 296 inch Mercury flathead and set yet another class record at 195.77 setting a one-way speed of 198.34 mph.

45-vi.jpg

c3cd72478691467ca1560b11aaa3b0-vi.jpg

I picked up a "lakester" body, tires/wheels and parts from "Early Resins"

EarlyResinBellyTank-vi.jpg

Parts is parts...all cleaned up and ready to play with:

SoCalBellyTanker_aa-vi.jpg

scratch-built chassis:

SoCalBellyTanker_ab-vi.jpg

Decals shouldn't be a problem, except for the white #28...can't find the correct font and don't have a nice straight-on photo to scan image of, any help would be greatly appreciated

thanx

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Posted · Report post

Never seen a build up on one of these,Curt. This one will be worth watchin for me! Thanks! :D;)

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Coolness!!! I've had one of these ('though not a replica build) on my to-do list ever since Ron at Early Years Resin first offered his belly tank parts two years ago. I have the original, larger, body. He since has corrected the oversized original to a proper 1/24-1/25 scale tank which it looks like you're using. Gotta get me one and get started on mine later this year....

Are most of those parts from Early Years (i.e. the louvers and the headrest, for example)?

Edited by Bernard Kron

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Posted · Report post

Too cool, Curt!!

Which of the elves is going to tackle this build?? :)

Later,

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Posted · Report post

Wicked! I like the looks of what you've started. :)

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Posted · Report post

This Should be FUN!!!

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Posted · Report post

This is great, Curt. Looking forward to following along!

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Posted · Report post

Don't have pics of the So_Cal Tank, but a cool period drawing that might help you for future whatever:

064.jpg

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Posted · Report post

Don't have pics of the So_Cal Tank, but a cool period drawing that might help you for future whatever:

064.jpg

Thanx

There are a lot of photos of this car online...more than enough to make building it fairly easy

Curt

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Posted · Report post

I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

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Posted · Report post

Got my attention with this one Curt, should be very cool.

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Posted · Report post

Should be a good'n!

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Posted · Report post

Looking good!

Keep it up!

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Posted · Report post

Great start! I always wanted to build a "lakester".

:wub:

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Posted · Report post

Curt ... this is going to be a great build. I have always wanted to do one myself.

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Posted · Report post

Moving along..

I need to build some cool So-Cal Lakester wheels

speed_shop_belly_tank_lakester-vi.jpg

here's the rig I made to get the 60 degrees spacing of the screws holding the flat covers to the wheels along with the wheels and tires:

SoCalLakester_ba-vi.jpg

the rig w/template and a couple of wheels completed:

SoCalLakester_bb-vi.jpg

all done...ready for primer and alclad chrome:

SoCalLakester_bc-vi.jpg

front suspension, chassis, flathead engine/transaxle and rear suspension so far:

SoCalLakester_be-vi.jpg

SoCalLakester_bd-vi.jpg

SoCalLakester_bf-vi.jpg

back to the bench,

thanx for lookin'...

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Posted · Report post

Glad 2 C U Rockin' on this one!!!! B):)

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Posted · Report post

Wonderful progress so far. Great subject matter. Can't wait to see more.

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Posted · Report post

Decals shouldn't be a problem, except for the white #28...can't find the correct font and don't have a nice straight-on photo to scan image of, any help would be greatly appreciated...

28.jpg

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28.jpg

Tommy

by golly...I think this will work

thanx

curt

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Posted · Report post

Gotta follow this one.

The 1st race car I ever sat in was the Tom Beatty belly tank, which was a contemporary of this one and set a lot of its own records.

http://www.bellytanks.com/?p=283

Tom was a close pal of my dad's and later my best friend's family were Tom's landlords for decades. I have a video in my head of sitting on small portable bleachers at El Mirage Dry Lake in the summer of 1958 watching my dad and Tom's helper "Fat Eddie" button Tom into the car and push it off with Tom's 40 Ford panel truck. Then watching the dust trail as it ran down the lakebed. I could tell ya LOTS of Tom Beatty stories...

Also a few years ago, my wife's cousin Henry Gonzalez was manufacturing a resin kit of the SoCal car.

Here is a shot of me at El Mirage in the cockpit of the Kelly & Hall Belly Tank in '06.

RichardInKellyHallBellyTank_6-06_24.jpg

If you look at the show-hall photo of the SoCal car above, the little "Kong" lettering on the side is for the "Kong Ignition" system famous on racing flatheads. Kong Jackson was a close pal and racing partner with my old close friend (and Tom Beatty's landlord) Ray Basso.

So...Yeah...I gotta lot of interest going for this one.

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Posted · Report post

Curt, the link that Ron posted shows those numbers much better, so I reworked it a little and this one is much closer. Hope this helps.

28a.jpg

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Curt, the link that Ron posted shows those numbers much better, so I reworked it a little and this one is much closer. Hope this helps.

28a.jpg

Tommy

yes, just what the doctor ordered

perfect

thanx

curt

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Posted · Report post

This is a sweet project. I have most of these parts. I need to get started on mine along with a 100 other projects give or take thirty or so......

MIke

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