Bill Burke and Don Francisco's P-38 Bellytank

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To the right is the nose of Jack Avakian's tank, the second front engined one built by Bill Burke. Photo from the Trompers collection.

The Bill Burke and Don Francisco P-38 Belly Tank is known as the first P-38 Belly Tank Streamliner racer. Bill was racing on the dry lakes long before the war started. While stationed in the South Pacific during WWII he saw potential in using a Belly Tank as the body for a dry lakes car. Shortly after returning home from the war he built his first Belly Tank Streamliner. In 1946 he raced his brand new car. This was his second belly tank Streamliner, his first one was built out of an P-51 Belly Tank. Bill's P-38 tank had a rear Flathead V8 engine, it became an early Dry Lakes Record Holder.

In 1947, it ran 139.96 mph. The Merc flathead was equipped with Weiand heads and intake manifold, a Weber cam and Spalding ignition. Bill would soon hook up with Don Francisco and the car would become known as Sweet 16.[1]



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