top of page

What is a Belly Tanks, or most exactly a Lakester..

A Lakester is a car with a streamlined body with four expose wheels.

But where come from this strange body?

The answer is the Sky!

From the air to the road, the little step made by passionate speed riders

During the World War II, some US fighter plane couldn’t simply hold enough gas for some of the missions they were require to fly.

That’s where drop tanks, or Belly thanks, came in.

Belly thanks were supplemental gas tanks strapped to WWII fighter planes to provide extra fuel, which in turn provided additional flying range.

When the tank was empty, the pilot would simply jettison it.

After the War, racers found another use for them.

America’s Gearheads began transforming this fuel cells into a car racing by fitting them with a Model T frame, wheels, a V8-60 flat-head Ford engine with twin Stromberg 81 carburettors, an Eddie Meyers intake and an electric starter and then…

From the sky a stunning speed racing hot-rod was born for racing on dry lake beds in California.

It’s also how Belly Tank racers got their other name “Lakesters”

One of the most famous Belly Tankers belonged to Alex Xydias (founder of the iconic So–Cal Speed Shops, owned today by Bruce Meyer)

The top speed of his car attained was 198Mph/ 318km/h

Today it’s not so easy to see Belly tanks laying around, but they still do exist and they’re being help by passionate people that understand the importance of them.

Belly Tank Racers were the platform that a generation of mechanics, designers and drivers used to set land speed records and spark the imagination of many of today’s Gearheads.

After this briefly refreshing historical moment it’s the time to give you some interview I did along 2 racers and one Team I met during the Normandy Beach Race

Normandy Beach Race Editon2019 with Mia Strandgaard Sorensen "Souris de Course" from Danemark :

- Where come from your passion for the Belly Tank?

Mia : I think we just felt in love with the design and that it was a bit of an unusual car. There is only two Belly Tank in Denmark ATM

- Where is from your Belly Tank?

Mia : Our Belly Tank is from the US – We bought it from Marc Nelson in Santa Cruz.

- How many race have you done so far and where?

Mia : We have race Romo motor Festival and the Normandy Beach race.

We were supposed to race a ton this year but unfortunately 99% of event were cancelled.

Normandy Beach race Edition2020 with Ollie Geis from UK :

- Where come from your passion for the Belly Tank?

Ollie : My passion for Hotrod’s comes from my dad and his dad. We are members of the Detonators Car Club.

- Where is from your Belly Tank?

Ollie : Our Belly Tank was built from scratch using WWII p-38 lighting drop tank at Eagle Autos my dad’s workshop.

The build the completed in 3 months

Our inspiration for the tank came from post war Bonneville salt flat racers.

- How many race have you done so far and where?

Ollie : Ouistreham, the Normandy Beach Race was our first beach race and we’re hoping to do more in the future.

Normandy Beach race Edition 2019/2020 with the Team Land Speed Belgium/ Bare metal Garage :

- Where come from your passion for the Belly Tank?

Alexan : Honestly, the first enthusiast was Raphael Vanlathem, thanks to him that we were able to set up this project, the Film "Burt Munro", its passage through the Salt Lake of Bonneville, and his daring have a lot to do with it.

More than 8 years ago now, he decided to contact some of us to build a team, some stayed, others left under construction, which allowed us to design the Belly tank with which we ride today.

- Where is from your Belly Tank?

Alexan : Our Belly Tank was purchased in Florida, via eBay.

Then shipped to Los Angeles, where the Company Frog Specialities was responsible for the delivery by boat to Belgium

- How many race have you done so far and where?

Alexan : We did the Normandy Beach Race 2019 & 2020

Our Team Pierre & Raphael Vanlathem – Pascal Carpentier & me Alexan Artunoff

Many thanks for your precious words Mia Ollie & Alexan (Belgium Team) but also big thanks to all the Team of the Normandy Beach Race who offer us the Stunning Terrific organisation and Moments.

All PHOTOS from The Normandy Beach race

Edition 2019

Edition 2020

Poster by Lorenzo Eroticolor

207 views0 comments
bottom of page