There is no place like Bonneville. Racing, or watching, Speed Week is one of the most amazing automotive events and magical to all that attend. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t write or verbalize what it is really like to be there. No other racing location is Bonneville. And no place has the same vibe and personality. It truly is one of the most special places in the racing world, both currently and historically. So when you find a cool story, about people building and racing cars just for Bonneville, you want to share it. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with the Blonde Bitch Belly Tanker. Built specifically to run at the SCTA-BNI Speed Week at Bonneville, where no money is given and trophies are pretty small, this may be the ultimate family centric motorsport venture for the Welker family.
The Blonde Bitch is an XF/GL, X meaning Vintage Engine, F for engine size, G for Gas, L for Lakester. So it is a Flathead V8 powered, naturally aspirated on gasoline, Lakester. The difference between a Lakester and a Streamliner is the fact that the wheels are out in the open on a Lakester. Covering them makes it a Streamliner. Lakesters are arguably much more traditional than Streamliners, although both have been around for a very long time on the salt.
This car was built at home, to be as traditional as current safety requirements will allow, but was done by Andrew Welker who is an engineer by trade so he does get kinda fancy. We’ll allow it, because his work is amazing and we can’t get enough of the photos of the build. When we first found out about the car, which unfortunately isn’t racing at Bonneville this year, we were planning a write up using bullet points from Andrew along with all the information from the family’s website on the car. But then Andrew sent us a really cool email that tells so much of it, so well, that we can’t keep ourselves from using it.
Here are all the specs on the car, and then Andrew’s email to us. There are a few photos in this story, but a complete photo gallery can be found at the bottom of this page with ALL the photos from the build, along with a video from inside during a 165mph plus run. Prepare to spend some time checking them all out, as they are awesome.
Made from two bottom halves of WWII era navy aircraft drop tanks.
Diameter – 30″
Length – 13′ 6″
284 cid 1946 Ford flathead V-8
Block Ported & Relieved
Bore – 3.313″
Stroke – 4.125″
1.6″ Pro-Flow Stainless Intake & Exhaust Valves
Potvin Eliminator Camshaft
External wet sump oil pump by Aviaid with full flow filtration and custom oil pan
Ignition – Vertex magneto
Fuel system – Hilborn mechanical fuel injection
McLeod billet aluminum flywheel
McLeod Soft-Loc clutch
Engine cooling by 2 custom aluminum radiators and 2 brake duct cooling fans
Transmission: 1946 Ford 3-speed (1st and reverse gears removed)
Front axle: Model A ford
Rear axle: 1946 Ford car with Halibrand quickchange center section
Rear – Dunlop 7.00-18 vintage racing
Front – 5.50/6.00 – 18 vintage racing
Front – 18″ x 4.25″ wide
Rear – 18″ x 6″ wide
Here is all the info, and the story behind it, as written by Andrew Welker himself.
- I had frame rails and sheet metal parts laser cut and bent at a local machine shop
- Roll cage bent on my manual bender and everything tig welded by me
- Engine machine work done by Scwalm’s Babbitted Bearings, all port work and mods done by me
- Body shell polished by my father in law, who was very dedicated
- Red head bubble formed in aluminum by Zach Suhr, flanges and flush aircraft rivets done by me (something I felt I needed to learn)
- Blonde Bitch name was to from respect of WWII airplanes and nose art. There’s a B-24 named the Strawberry Bitch, but my wife is blonde. My wife did the artwork for on the car. Always fun when someone would ask “so who’s the Blonde Bitch?” being funny and my wife just waves at them.
- Tank – Navy MKVIII 300 gallon often referred to as a Hellcat tank but used on various Navy planes
- Transmission – G-Force G101A 4-speed, shortened to fit into existing space
- Front axle – custom built
- Wheels – 18 x 6” rear, 18 x 4.25” front, custom made to my drawings