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January 29, 2019

By: Jonathan


Hot Rod Pioneer Bill Burke’s Super Shaker Aims To Shake Up Auction

It is impossible to talk about the history of hot rods and Bonneville land speed records without mentioning the name Bill Burke. A pioneer on the hot rod scene Burke was responsible for some of the fastest, and coolest, cars of the mid-twentieth century and a part of the community throughout his 97 years.

Not just a fabricator, Burke became involved with Hot Rod magazine as early ad manager and also later for their sister title’s Motor Trend, and Street Rodder. This was all, of course, after he’d landed a Hot Rod cover a time or two with his unique creations. One such cover creation was this 1959 Bonneville Streamliner Super Shaker which Burke built and drove.

Landing the cover in January 1960 this Super Shaker was purpose built and that purpose was to go fast at Bonneville. The body was cast from a Cooper sports car, but done so entirely of fiber glass to keep the weight down, 600 pounds dry to be exact. The car was powered by a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead V-twin engine, but not just any Knucklehead V-twin, this one was also purpose built for Burke by tuner  C.B. Clausen. A man who was also no stranger to running Bonneville, but Clausen preferred his two wheel Harleys in doing so. Incorporating Harley components into the Super Shaker even further was the use of a H-D rear axle assembly bolted to the frame and driven by a H-D transmission. The front suspension was a Ford Anglia.

The custom would ultimately hit 151.38mph driven by Burke in August 1959 Bonneville Speed Trials. While it’s driving days were less after that finding fame in print it has been impeccably kept and restored when needed and returned to Bonneville to open the 2008 Bonneville Nationals. This piece of history now looks to add to its legacy again when it crosses the block at Mecum’s Phoenix auction in mid-March.

[Photography courtesy of Mecum Auctions.]


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