Inspired by speed: The Bell & Ross Vintage Bellytanker collection



By Su Fen Tan

Inspired by speed: The Bell & Ross Vintage Bellytanker collection

Before its association with salt flat racers, Bellytanker originally referred to the emergency drop tank fitted in the belly of fighter planes during WWII era. At the end of the war, American speed freak Bill Burke—who saw potential in using a Belly Tank as the body for an ultra-fast car when he was stationed in the South Pacific—built the world’s very first Belly Tank Streamliner racer, named Burke P-51.


This year, inspired by the early Bellytankers, Bell & Ross created a speed machine of its own—a retro-futuristic racer that combines both aeronautical influences (a brand signature) and watchmaking characteristics. Designed by Bruno Belamich, the case of a watch is reimagined as the car’s bodywork, while the glass covering the cockpit is a nod to an ultra-curved crystal dome.

Riding on its passion for extreme machines, Bell & Ross recently launched the Vintage Bellytanker timepiece collection. The range features two models: the BR V1-92 and BR V2-94. The former is a classic automatic mechanical timepiece, while the latter houses a chronograph movement.

Like the Bell & Ross racer, the collection catches attention with its retro-futuristic aesthetic. The colour scheme of the timepieces is a reflection of the vehicle’s design, with a handsome metallic copper dial that echoes the wheel rim colour and steel accents as homage to the vehicle’s bodywork. Both models are limited to just 500 pieces each. 

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