We’re happy to announce the record setting lakester recommended on February 4th has been purchased by one of our clients and is headed back to the U.S. for a total restoration. Stay tuned to SCD Motors as we follow this famous racer from its restoration to its return to the salt.
Record Breaker – Bonneville Lakester For Sale
This record setting Don Johnson and Shipley B Lakester is one of the few belly-tank racers to have survived-post war competition in mostly original condition and includes original trophies, period paperwork, and many of the parts needed to return the car to working condition. Located in Japan, the historic lakester is listed here on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $210,000.
Assembled from junkyard parts and the bomb-shaped external fuel tanks of World War II aircraft, belly-tank lakesters were the pinnacle of straight-line performance in the 50s and 60s. Strangely though, their record-setting performances rarely influenced their fate. Even into the 90s, original Lakesters were regarded with mild curiosity and many had their performance parts pilfered for other projects while frames and bodies were left to corrode with the aid of the Bonneville salt. Recently things have changed and lakesters now enjoy near half-million dollar sales ($440,000 for the 1951 Tom Beatty car at Gooding ’07), features at Pebble Beach, and appearances in Tommy Hilfiger ad campaigns.
Most notable for the 255.501mph speed record set in ’63 (taking the trophy from the $440,000 Tom Beaty car mentioned above) and the 263.350mph record set during the following ’64 speed week, the Johnson Shipley lakester also lays claim to the unique style and fascinating history that makes these cars crowd favorites at any venue. There is, quite simply, nothing that looks or sounds like a lakester and this car is sure to stop audiences in their tracks once it is returned to running condition.
The good news for any future owner is that lakesters are not terribly expensive to restore and the Johnson Shipley lakester comes with many of the parts required to do so, including an early hemi engine, Hillborn fuel injection, a 6-71 blower, the original firewall, the original fuel tank, a Halibrand quick change rear end, and Divco rear wheels. There’s certainly more work to be done, but parts that can’t be found in a junkyard or performance catalog can be fabricated for little money. As these cars were constantly modified during their lifetime and even during the course of one season, the hardest tasks will be choosing the moment in time to which the car will be restored, and researching the components it carried on that particular day.
There are downsides to cars with limited turning, marginal braking and nonexistent visibility, but when those same cars include the possibility of pounding across the Pebble Beach grass with a blown hemi shouting through unmuffled short pipes, we say seeing where you’re going is overrated. This is a great car at a great price and the next owner will likely do quite well with his or her purchase.