‘BELLY TANK’ RACER
One of the most eye-catching vehicles at the event looked as if it had started life on the salt flats of Bonneville in the immediate post-war years, but its history begins much closer to home – or so its owner thought. “I was told when I bought the tank that it was from a Spitfire, so because of that I built the car British,” says Geoff Wild. “It turns out that it’s from a 1943 P-51 Mustang!”
Despite its US provenance, Wild pressed ahead with his Britishthemed build: “The suspension is from a Standard Flying 12 donor, as is the rear axle. The engine came from a V4 Capri that had been standing in a garage for 30 years. We didn’t know if it was any good or not, and it was the same for the Volvo Amazon gearbox, which I mated to a Ford bellhousing. The Flying 12 also donated some of its propshaft, its wheels, hubcaps and crossply tyres.
“The whole build took me about a year,” says Wild, who is no stranger to drag racing and owns a pro-street Humber. “It’s fantastic to drive – I was quite surprised! The brakes are a bit waffly because they’re cable-operated, and I have to change gear earlier than I thought. You have to remember it’s a Transit-derived engine so was built for torque. I got beaten by a Chevy truck that had 330bhp, but there was a standard MGA that I left for dead.”