Client: Road & Track Magazine
Production: Studio Elm
Of all the crazy cool, held-together-with-gobs-of-spit-and-prayer contraptions I’ve had the pleasure of photographing during Speed Week at Bonneville Salt Flats, the belly tankers are my favorite. I think if Dr. Frankenstein were into car racing, these are the speed monsters he would have created. In their first life these belly tankers - or lakesters as they’re often called - were fuel tanks on World War II fighter planes.
After the war, however, with hundreds of these fighters mothballed, resourceful hot-rodders - noting the aerodynamic potential of these fighters’ fuel tanks - cut them in half and welded two lower-portions together, creating these utterly unique open-wheeled land torpedoes. The P-38 Lightening’s fuel tanks were a particular favorite, being perfectly sized for an engine and drivetrain.
The ingenuity and madness it took to make these beautiful Frankensteins makes me smile. Fantastic stuff.