If you don’t get the Vern Tardel Enterprises Newsletter, you should. It’s just an e-mail update of whats going on up at the ranch, including project cars, antique mechanical junk, and other titillating Flathead news. I though it would be worth sharing the build of the month, which is this amazing aluminum belly tanker. Read the whole skinny form the newsletter:
Build of the Month
“This month’s build is a Bonneville belly tanker. Vern was asked by a customer to rebuild a Bonneville belly tanker that the customer had purchased in Victorville, California. The vehicle was in pretty bad shape. It had been disassembled and stored in a shed.
To the left is a picture of how these belly tankers start. The availability of these airplane fuel tanks after World War II inspired a few creative hotrodders to apply what they knew about building speed machines to using these pieces of aluminum as a body for a vehicle to be run at the dry lakes. These early hotrodders recognized the aerodynamic shape that just screamed speed and design.
The request, and challenge for Vern, was to clean all parts, refinish, rebuild the Ford flathead, and get the belly tanker in running condition.
The tanker was rebuilt for display purposes and therefore a full dry lakes safety system was not installed. This would include the roll-bar, fire extuinguishing system/tools, and full head support and harness, and commonly a parachute for braking.
The specifics include an aluminum drop tank body and a rebuilt 1940 Ford V8-60 motor. The frame is a modified Model-T, which I am sure you all realize takes a good deal of modification and strengthening to handle the speeds and torque. The tanker has a quick-change rear end.
According to Vern, the original builder of this tanker had a number of interesting ideas and sound engineering about how to build a Salt Flats belly tanker.
The tanker aluminum body was left as bare metal per the request of the owner. This nice example of a dry lakes belly tanker is going into a collection in Marin, California.”
(NOTE: My apologies for small-ish pictures- They were part of the newsletter, so this is all I could get!)