WWII P-47 Belly Fuel Tank….Street Rod?

Although it was built recently, the seller has certainly tapped into traditional street rod style on this one. It’s not a perfectly restored ’32 Ford, but I wouldn’t exactly call this a rat-rod either! The seller, who seems to be the creator of this unusual vehicle, has taken the belly fuel tank from a WWII P-47 Thunderbolt and turned it into a car. Turning something that is not a car into a functional vehicle is quite a feat, and this looks very well executed. Thanks to reader Peter R. for sending in this unique ride! This custom belly tank can be found here on eBay in California with bidding at $5,500 as I write this and no reserve! 

Talk about ease of service! Provided you aren’t too tall, the Chevrolet 350 installed in this car looks like a breeze to service. The frame is fully custom built, with Austin-Healey front suspension and a Chevrolet rear axle. The seller states that a 1957 Chevrolet was used for the title and various parts. Evidently, the frame rails hold the coolant and the car sits on coil-over suspension so that handling can be dialed in properly. This car weighs 1,200lbs and has four wheel disc brakes. Can you say “go-kart?” While I probably would have gone with something a little less modern for the rear wheels, this car has just the right stance for such a street rod. This isn’t a vehicle suited directly to my interests, but the power-to-weight ratio alone makes me want it!

This is a odd little car, but it is way cool. Someone who likes WWII era items might be interested in this simply because of what it started out as. The fuel tank is wearing its original paint, which adds a lot to the already astronomical cool factor of this car. This car has a full electric system including all appropriate lights, signals, and more. The seller states “once you learn to master this car, it is unbelievable the things you can do,” and that “‘fast’ is an understatement.” I believe it! This car looks like a rocket ship and I bet it drives like one! The ad says that this car was built for shows, but can be daily driven if you so choose. Due to the presence of signals and gauges, I would go so far as to say this car was designed to be driven.

Because it can be a little tough to tell in the photos, the seller has included this shot which shows this car in comparison to a truck and a motorcycle. It is quite small! Street-ready, street-legal, probably very unsafe custom go-kart: sounds good to me! I would love to see this little car (fuel tank?) in action. The way the seller talks about it makes it sound like this car can blow some doors off, and I sure hope it lives up to the hype! Be sure to read the eBay listing to get all the details.

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Comments

  1. F.A.G.

    How many clowns can u get in this one, Howard?

  2. Fred W.

    Looks like a blast to drive- I would dispense with the rear wheels and embrace the old school look.

    • Mike

      I am not much into the ratrod scene, but I agree. Get rid of those rear wheels and put something that looks more like it fits on the car. That bright shiny chrome doesn’t look right

  3. whippeteer

    Get some 40s to 50s appropriate rims on the back, a roll bar, and head out to the salt flats!

  4. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Bah! Like you said those ridiculous rear wheels have to go. Otherwise I love it including the later-model parts… to a point. If you’re starting with a WWII Belly Tanker, it should look like it *could* be from the 40s or ’50s. Belly Tanker cars have a firm place in rodding history, as evidenced here http://www.hotrod.com/articles/belly-tanks-the-ultimate-hot-rods/ Great find, Andrew!

    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Member

      Very cool! Good read you posted there. Having looked at that, I see that Joe Haska has a point that this car is much more of a departure from belly tank racers than I originally thought! Pretty cool little custom nonetheless.

    • C Carl

      Great pics in that article. I seen a mid eighties Thunderbird run just under 250 on the lake once. He was running a monster big block on alcohol. I’ve been sold on the shape of T-birds ever since.

  5. Paul

    I like it! Great fun ..

    • tugdoc

      Near 200 MPH on garden hose tires on old Ford wire wheels! Today we shouldn’t run tires more than 6 years old. I guess it’s the old iron men wooden ships thing! Fun to look at though, automotive history being made.

  6. grant

    It was very common, post WW2 for gearheads to make racecars out of old aircraft belly tanks. This is ultra cool.

  7. Jeffrey Johnson Member

    Looks like that Ferrari on the lift has a blown V8 in it!

    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Member

      I noticed that too!

  8. jeff6599

    Tanner, It’s me again! You might not call it a rat, but it certainly fits the requirements: Made up of components readily accessible to the builder, must have personalized/custom pieces, components, gadgetry and major components from at least three different cars/sources. Must be licensed.

    What do you think, Andrew?

    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Member

      I think you have a good point, and I agree!

  9. Joel S

    As for the Ferrari in the background, check it out on YouTube. Ferrari Hotrod and it comes up. This guy builds nice rides.

  10. jw454

    Yes, the rear wheels are a mistake but, that can be corrected fairly easily. What may be a bigger issue is the title. I don’t think you can just take a title from one car and say it’s the title for another “Car”. If you can, I’d be interested in knowing how that works.

  11. jeff6599

    If that frame is from the ’57 chevy, it is entirely appropriate to use the title.

  12. Doug Towsley

    Its a little more complicated than that, It is doable for sure and have done it myself in the past and currently with some prewar coupes, It also depends on state, but there are federal rules as well. My stuff is legal and done right, but there is certain things to do and not do, and certain ways to go about it. #HOW# you approach the title issue is critical.
    But just using a title from another car is a big no-no, Boyd Coddington was raided by the Feds and got in a lot of hot water over doing this and his methods were at least plausibly logical. But you cant build a completely brand new car and still title it as a 36 and the only thing original is the VIN tag.
    My current kit car project is being licensed and insured as a 1974 Datsun and its totally legal, Same with my ratrods are titled as 37 & 39 despite having modern frames and parts,

  13. Don H

    Craprod😂

  14. geomechs geomechs Member

    He did a decent job on this car. I’d have more expected to see a flathead V-8 in it along with 16 inch wheels all around; wider wheels in the rear. Ford front and rear axles with quick-change conversion in the rear. However, you go with what you’ve got. The builder of this did well. I wouldn’t be able to do much with this thing other than get arrested so I’m glad it’s too far away for temptation to interfere….

  15. Dusty Stalz

    This car is rad. Speaking of rads, I looked thru the pics but couldn’t see one. I wonder what is used for cooling. I dig this car and would love to take it for a rip with some goggles and a leather helmet.

    • whippeteer

      It is cooled by 12 gallons of coolant in the frame rails, but there doesn’t seem to be any form of heat sink. In the ad, the seller says that it hasn’t overheated.

    • MSG Bob

      Evidently, the frame rails hold the coolant, according to Andrew. At least, that’s he says in the article. I wonder what he uses for a fan and radiator myself.
      Edit – I posted this before whippeteer’s comment showed up. Bet that’s a pretty warm frame at the end of a long drive.

      • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Member

        Bob; although I wrote about this car a couple of days ago, I was just today wondering how hot that frame gets!

  16. Chris Kennedy

    I would put stock model A wheels all the way around and do something with the rear like, add a section that looks like the front ..

  17. Scott

    That’s the definition of a “fuelly”!!

  18. Rod444

    it needs these…

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Nice PS work Rod444 ! And I agree.

  19. DrinkinGasoline

    It needs some WWII Bomber Nose Art or some chalk writing:
    “From the U.S. with Love !”

    • Rod444

      How about a sassy Bombs Away Betty?

      • Moe

        I dig the bombs away Betty!

  20. C Carl

    I like the cherry bombs

  21. Robbie

    total rat from back to front.
    very kool

  22. AMXSTEVE

    I like the chromes however i highly doubt most of you would fit in it.

  23. Jay E.

    Wonder why they turned the tank sideways? The seam is usually horizontal, not vertical. Sort of disturbs the appearance of the belly tank. Tire and graphic photoshops improve the look a lot! Needs some zoomies like a P-51 instead of headers.

  24. Steve O

    Reminds me of the “custom” and “rat rod” bikes I see on craigslist. No real rhyme or reason. Just slap some stuff together and call it special. Pass.

  25. jeff6599

    Below the drivers left arm, and behind the red cherry bomb, that sure looks like a radiator to me. Not you guys?

    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Member

      Good catch Jeff! I went to the ad and zoomed in. I think you’re right about that!

  26. BMW4RunninTundra

    According to a YouTube clip, it has two mini radiators. One on either side of the frame, right behind where the seat is located.
    I like this thing, a lot! Unfortunately there is no putting 6’4″ 185lbs in this thing!! Plus I would only kill my self or end up in jail.
    Saw a car built out of a belly tank, out at BJ in Scottsdale a few years ago. It was powered by a four cylinder. Builder said it was plenty fast! He even had pics of the plane it came off. It was he and his Son that built it. The interior was all that era, cockpit set up. From the seat, steering yoke (?), to the gauges. Even the seat belts!
    I’ve tried to down load a couple of pics but the site will not alllow me to do so?

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