Bell & Ross
BR V2-94 BellytankerReference# BRV294-BT-ST/SCAManufacturer's retail price: $2,300.00Compare
- Limited Edition: 500 pieces
- Case: satin-polished stainless steel
- Size: 41mm
- Movement: hand-wound caliber BR-CAL.301
- Function: chronograph, date
- Water Resistance: 100m
- Dial: gilt with applied metal numerals and indexes
- Hands: luminous
- Strap/Bracelet: calfskin
Originating in the 1940s and 1950s, the term “Bellytank” initially referred to the emergency drop tank fitted in the belly of fighter planes. Bellytanker is now mainly used for the high-speed race cars manufactured directly from these spare tanks.
Their history dates back to the end of the war. Bill Burke, an American speed freak, wanted to build an ultra-fast car to take part in the races being held on the salt flats. He had fought in the South Pacific, and had grown to love the elegance of these fighter plane drop tanks, with their aerodynamic lines as if sculpted by the wind. To his eyes, they looked like the perfect foundations on which to build his speed machine. He was not wrong: their droplet shape ensured exceptional performance. At the end of the war many military components were sold off cheap. In 1946, he bought a drop tank from a North American P-51 Mustang for $35. He used it to build a bright yellow mini hot-rod. He fitted the tank that formed the bodywork, on a chassis, powering it with a powerful V8 engine. He took his prototype to the Bonneville salt lake races to test it.
Without realizing it, he had created the world’s first Bellytanker. The shape and design of this aerodynamic vehicle have ensured its place in the great aeronautical history of North America in the 1940s and 1950s. It is also enshrined in the annals of motor racing with the Hot Rod and the Streamliner. In the automotive world, it also rapidly acquired iconic status.