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1947 Ford “Belly Tank” Racer


This 1947 Ford belly tank racer was built by a young woman during WWII. She had dreams of racing it one day, but unfortunately she was never able to fulfill her dream. For some unknown reason, the car was sealed up in a secret room in the basement of a mill. There it sat for decades until it was discovered in 2007.


It’s a good story, uh? Well, that is because it was made up by some guy for his college thesis project. Randy Regier is an artist and obviously a car guy, so when it came time to do his final project, he came up with this. He created the story and pieced together the car.


It is period correct though, so there might actually be some value here besides the apparent artistic worth. He even went so far as recreating the secret room where it was unearthed.


This creation was purchased by a collector after its museum debut and was apparently lost for a while, so this could be considered a replica of a barn find that then became a barn find. Bizarre…


The body was crafted from a real aircraft drop tank and the engine is a 1947 Gray Marine straight six. It was originally fitted to a boat, but was good for 112 horsepower. Being a marine engine, it spun the opposite direction, but the Model A axle was flipped by an attentive builder to compensate for that fact.


A ton of work went into this project. We appreciate the creativity and all the authentic details, but we would rather drive it than showcase it as a work of art. The seller claims that it could be made to run with some work and we think that is when the fun would really begin. Take a look at the eBay auction here.



    Interesting but even if I wanted it what would I do with it?

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  2. Catfish Phil

    Time was, you could pick and choose all the parts you needed to build your custom or hot rod at the junk yard. Maybe there was a pile of military surplus stuff, too – like drop tanks. That time was way before me!

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Me too, but somehow this guy pulled it off a few years ago.

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    • Charlie

      I don’t know about your area, but for a long time, the scrap yards in our area were divided by the roadway separating them. On the one side was all the cars, trucks and yes, even boats ( this is where my dad got two of his boats from) , and on the other side of the yard were all of the old washers, dryers, stoves, military scrap from the local arsenal, steel foundries, aluminum manufacturers, etc.

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  3. BillR

    I read this through twice and I am still confused. Don’t drink on an empty stomach guys.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      We were confused too when we first read the seller’s description. The car was built as a college thesis project to tell a fictional story about a woman who wanted to race. Read through it again, visit the links provided, and hopefully it will make more sense.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      You might check your spam folder Bob to make sure they aren’t getting stuck in there.

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  5. Lee Hartman

    Interesting that they call it a ’47 Ford, but the only Ford parts on are the wheels and axles, and they are from a Model A.

    Aside from that, though, it is a great work of art, and very convincing.

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  6. scot

    ~ it isn’t clear to me whether he intended to defraud the public or if this is a theater presentation.

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    • Charlie

      I don’t think he intended to scam anyone, For one of my college courses, I can recall making a suitcase diorama out of an old used suitcase and then having to write a fictional story to back it up. This kid created a fictional story around a woman and her car, and like staging a movie film or stage play, he built the storage, almost like a movie sound stage or playhouse stage area around it all to give it a sense of credibility. I think he did a great job.

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  7. karl kretschmar

    1947 Ford “Belly Tank” Racer? The only piece on this car that’s Ford is the Model A rear axle.

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  8. stp

    truly amazing! a 1947 car built during WWII.

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  9. Chris A.

    We’ve seen a lot of post WWII belly tank lakesters, but this is the first time I’ve seen something that is supposed to be a front engined belly tank racer. A time traveler, sorta “Back to the Future” idea that just doesn’t jell for me. 1940’s style car stories? Ken Purdy or Peter Egan come to mind. Oh, and Henry Manney III if I’ve had a few.

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  10. Dolphin Member

    Well since it’s a fictional story for a college thesis project by an art student I guess we can expect that some liberties will be taken with the ‘history’ of the car and its fictional owner. Like the engine, a Gray Marine six, which weighs twice what a hot rodded flathead Ford V8 weighs and would put out a third the power at a quarter the RPM—not exactly a good powerplant for setting a new SCTA speed record at (dry) lake El Mirage. But it’s a fictional car, and the Gray Marine was probably free, so it worked in the project.

    What amazes me is that it’s been bid to over $5,000 in the (real) eBay auction with more than 4 days left to run, and it hasn’t even hit the reserve yet.

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  11. Paul

    Cool sort of steam punk, I like it.

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    • Paul

      The guys need to be wearing welding goggles and top hats.

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  12. Erik
  13. Paxxton

    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but this is silly, just silly. If you are contemplating buying this car don’t plan on driving it, ever. The model A axles are incompatible with these springs. Fords REQUIRE transverse springs. Only a bunch of know nothings would have put this combination of parts together.

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  14. Peter


    You don’t mean to be a “wet blanket,” and similarly, I don’t mean to be a “Doubting Thomas,” but your statement is a bit overly-inclusive, when you say:

    “Fords REQUIRE transverse springs.”

    Obviously, you meant Model A Fords, but that’s not what I’m nitpicking.

    My question is: why can’t a competent WELDOR use a WELDER to attach the appropriate spring perches to a Model A axle, that (admittedly) was originally equipped with spring perches/mounts for a transverse spring, so that it can accept longitudinal (leaf) springs?

    And if this Gray Marine engine really doubles the weight of a flatty V-8 Ford, (and the Model A came with a four-banger, originally) then higher capacity springs would be “REQURED” (to use your word) to carry the additional weight.

    So, why can’t those higher capacity springs be longitudinal, instead of transverse, as long as one is prepared to (and capable of) fabricating longitudinal spring mounts?


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  15. paxxton

    I must have been in a hurry when I wrote that. Fords up until 1948 used transverse springs front and rear. Yes, if you want to adapt those springs to the Ford axles your could design some brackets/perches to weld to the axles. You would need to do that front and rear as the rear axle is tapered and so the leaf springs would not be able to mount directly to the axle housings A.K.A. bells.

    As far as the heavier engine, yes you would need more spring. Just add some leaves to the transverse springs, problem solved. This just reminded me of a street rod chassis I once saw which had clearly been the project of someone who had just learned to weld. No concept of how the parts were supposed to work in any dynamic sense, just a jumble of parts welded together.

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  16. Peter


    I gotcha–and I hear you, about your comment, below:

    “This just reminded me of a street rod chassis I once saw which had clearly been the project of someone who had just learned to weld. No concept of how the parts were supposed to work in any dynamic sense, just a jumble of parts welded together.”

    I’m only a novice weldor myself, but I guess I know what I CAN’T do, so I would not even attempt the mods we’re discussing. So I can understand the feeling you expressed above–there’s much more to FABRICATION and DESIGN than just “the puddle,” i.e., welding.

    I do think it’s good to TRY new things, but I’m with you–one needs to have a sense of how things are supposed to work in a dynamic sense, as you say–especially where safety is involved.

    Thanks for the clarification.

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