View Full Version : Bill Burke Dies

Commander Eddie
12-04-2015, 09:47 AM
We lost Bill Burke at 97. Attached is a link to the article in Hemmings.

12-04-2015, 10:28 AM
R.I.P. Bill.

It's because of the brilliance of his styling and design that I've been interested in Studebakers for the past sixty years.

jack vines

12-04-2015, 11:34 AM
Sad to hear, but motivational as well....
To have had the honor to rub on, work on, play with, and continue the legacy of one of his many cars is meaningful to me.
His passion for racing drives the current version of the car...


and 26 pages of history and the current update...


Commander Eddie
12-04-2015, 11:57 AM
Jeff, thanks for posting the additional links. In the first one, the photo of the car in its "Bucket List Dream" livery was taken by me when I was at Bonneville during World of Speed week in 2010. My brother, Dan, was driving it at the time. The full list of records broken by this car was listed on the driver's side rear passenger window. It got a lot of attention that week, as well as some valuable assistance from Dave Bloomberg's crew (Avanti Kid). They were fantastic. So, Bill is gone but much of his legacy survives.

R3 challenger
12-04-2015, 01:17 PM
Ron Hall and I had the privilege of meeting Bill Burke the first time we ran Ron's R3 Avanti at Bonnevile. That was in 1988 (see the January 1989 issue of TWs for a report, and the March 1987 issue for our first visit to Bonneville). What a fine gentleman Bill was. Ron spent a lot of time on the telephone with Bill seeking advice for our first attempt; Bill was always helpful and kind. He will be greatly missed.


Chris Pile
12-04-2015, 02:36 PM
I met him on the starting line at Speedweek in 1998. We chatted for awhile, and then he joined some other "49'rs" for some pictures. Only later did I realize I had been talking to a salt legend.

12-04-2015, 03:16 PM
I thought the Bill was the security guard at Paxton when I first saw him. Later when talking to him at lunch, I found out that he really didn't work there either, but was another friend of Joe's. He was a freelancer for Sports Car Graphic mag. at Peterson Publishing. People that worked there at Paxton thought we were relatives since we looked so much alike.

12-04-2015, 07:01 PM
This was on the 'net today...


(snippet copy - see link for entire article)

Hot Rod Pioneer Bill Burke Has DiedWritten by Thom Taylor (http://www.hotrod.com/contributors/thom-taylor/) on December 3, 2015Father of the Belly Tank Lakes Racer, and Much More

One of the founders and innovators of hot rodding has died. Bill Burke was synonymous with land speed racing, Bonneville, the formation of the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), and even HOT ROD Magazine. In his 97 years he innovated a variety of race cars including configuring surplus WWII aircraft auxiliary fuel drop tanks as land speed racing bodies—better known as belly tanks. He died November 26, 2015.
Burke’s “Pumpkin Seed” fiberglass race car landed him in the 200-MPH Club in 1961. While working for HOT ROD in 1962 he built a 1963 Studebaker Avanti, and with help from the Granatelli brothers added Paxton supercharger bits to set at least 15 records through the years including a long-standing 239.208 mph in C/CBFALT set in 1979.

http://image.hotrod.com/f/93247791+w660+h495+q80+re0+cr1+ar0+st0/bill-burke-hot-rod-magazine20120325-0649-lead.jpg (http://www.hotrod.com/news/1512-hot-rod-pioneer-bill-burke-has-died/#photo-01)


Colgate Studebaker
12-05-2015, 01:27 PM
Sorry to hear of Bill's passing, as I read Jeffs post, I realized that the Burke Avanti is sitting in his shop, and I've seen and touched it. I actually had goose bumps as I thought of it. That is how special he was and his cars still are. Bill

12-05-2015, 02:59 PM
Thanks Jeff for posting all the links.
RIP Bill Burke.
97 is quite the accomplishment and I'm sure your involvement with Studes and racing in general had lots to do with it.