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The So-Cal Special

So-Cal Speed Shop is an Icon for the hot rod world and arguably one of its best known creations is the So-Cal Special. After World War II there were a lot of surplus war items and returning GIs were innovative, creative and ready for thrills. Hot Rods and Drag Racing were the outlet for many. Building a car from scratch was no challenge for these warriors.

The Belly Tanker started life as axillary fuel tanks on the bottom of P-38 Lightning Aircraft. It wasn’t long before these aerodynamic shapes were rescued from salvage yards and converted into race cars. In 1952 Alex Xydias and So-Cal Speed Shop built this Bonneville tanker that ran three different Ford V-8 Flatheads in three different classes. Alex set two records and attained a top speed of 198.34 MPH while setting the Class C Lakester record.


They won 6 awards that speed week. They also walked away with the “Best Appearing Car and Crew” award. All in all, making it one of the “Most Honored Cars In Bonneville History.” In 1949 it graced the cover of Hot Rod Magazine.

Hot Rod Magazine January 1949

For 40 years it remained untouched. It has now been meticulously restored for Bruce Meyer by Pete Chapouris and the new So-Cal Speed Shop. The original engine and restored engine were both built by Bob Meeks of Edelbrock. To see restoration photo of this car Click Here.

We have visited the So-Cal Speed Shop on several occasions and even had the opportunity to see this fabulous piece of racing history during its restoration. You can see more by Clicking Here.

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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  1. Wait, guys. You’ve got the car built in ’52 but featured in Hot Rod in ’49.

    Being it’s California that’s possible, I’m only saying I can’t make it work.

    BTW, does anybody put out a scale model kit for this car?

  2. Good morning , I recently started creating wooden toys for Toys For Tots . My goal for 2019 is to donate 100 cars to the cause . Would you folks be okay with me making a Lakester based on yours ? As of right now I have 48 cars in various stages of completion .
    Thank You

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