Bill Burke’s Super Shaker
Flip back to your January 1960 copy of Hot Rod and you’ll see Belly Tank legend Bill Burke sitting on the salt of Bonneville at the 1959 Speed Week in a tiny yellow car called ‘Super Shaker’ on the cover. I use the term ‘car’ lightly, as Burke’s creation was more of a 4-wheeled, mid-engine motorcycle-meet-sportscar streamliner, and very typical of his racers in it’s unorthodox and forward-thinking approach to speed. The unique little bullet is coming up at auction in a few months, and the auction website gives a fantastic description of this little-known racer:
“The Super Shaker was typical of Burke’s creations: a lightweight, purpose-built, no-frills appliance designed to accomplish its mission of outright speed with maximum efficiency and a touch of flair. The chassis was a ladder-type design with two main longitudinal hoops of 2-inch tubular steel and 1-inch outrigger braces to mount the body and floor pan and support ancillaries such as oil and fuel tanks and a hand-operated tire pump—like those typically used in Midget racing—that was adapted to maintain fuel pressure.
Front suspension was standard Ford Anglia with split wishbones, a transverse leaf spring and center-link steering; a Harley-Davidson Servicar rear axle assembly with open differential and mechanical brakes was bolted directly to the frame and chain-driven by a stock Harley-Davidson transmission using only second and top gears. Originally displacing 61 CI, the Clausen-built Harley-Davidson Knucklehead V-twin engine was bored and stroked and fitted with a modified cam and heads reworked to maximize flow from two specially tuned Riley racing carburetors. Topping it all off was the car’s distinctive yellow livery featuring Burke’s number 888 and “Super Shaker” logo.
A shiny little bomb of immense potential, the Super Shaker rode on an 84-inch wheelbase with a 42-inch tread and weighed in at just over 600 pounds dry, barely large enough to package mechanicals and the lanky Burke, who drove it to 151.38 MPH in the F/Streamliner class at the August 1959 Bonneville Speed Trials. This fascinating piece of work appeared on the covers of the January 1960 issue of “Hot Rod” and “Rod & Custom” in August 1960, in “Car Craft” December 1959 and the February 1960 issue of “Sportscar Graphic.”
Burke set the Super Shaker aside to pursue membership in the 200 MPH Club with a revolutionary Ford Falcon-powered streamliner he irreverently named the “Golden Commode” and later dubbed the “Pumpkin Seed.” Burke’s first fully enclosed streamliner, the car set a new two-way Class D record of 205.949 MPH.”
More at Mecum’s page here.