Buy This Harley-Powered Piece Of Hot Rod History

Image: Mecum

The 1950s were an incredible time of ingenuity in the motorsport world. Guys in sheds were building incredible contraptions that were capable of speeds never seen before. Take the Super Shaker streamliner seen here for example. It started life as a Cooper sports racer chassis, and then the original builder/racer Bill Burke put a Harley trike drivetrain in it, threw some quasi-aerodynamic panels over the bundle of tubes, and took it to 151.38 MPH. And that was in 1959!

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Burke was an original hot rodder, joining the SCTA as member #45, and becoming just the fifth person ever to exceed 100 MPH on the salt flats. He was allegedly the first guy to build a belly tanker, as well.

Burke was famous for building simple no-frills racers, and that’s well evident in the Super Shaker. He assembled the racer with standard Ford Anglia front suspension with a transverse leaf spring. At the rear was the engine, transmission, driveshaft, and rear axle assembly from a Harley Davidson 3-wheel service cart. Powering the whole thing was a Harley “Knucklehead” V-twin that was bored out, fitted with a stroker crankshaft, and the heads were reworked for a pair of larger carburetors.

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The whole car, all together, weighed just over 600 pounds, and the bodywork was crafted so there was just enough room for the drivetrain and Burke’s body to go flat out. In 1959 Burke and the Super Shaker won the F/Streamliner class, and it was subsequently featured in issues of Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Car Craft, and Sportscar Graphic.

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After shifting through a number of owners who did nothing with it, the car was sold in 2004 to Jerry Weeks Baker, who painstakingly restored the car back to its glory days over a four-year restoration. It was finished just in time to open the Bonneville Nationals in 2008. It has since been on display at Wally Parks NHRA Museum in Pomona.

Now is your chance to own this machine, as it’s coming up for auction on Saturday March 16th during Mecum’s Phoenix, Arizona sale.

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About the author

Bradley Brownell

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.