Miss America – boats and Gar Wood – boat racer

Gar Wood, the boat racer…his first racing boat was his Miss Detroit. He bought that boat.

Gar Wood set his first boat racing world record in 1920 in the first race boat he caused to have built, Miss America. The new boat racing record was at 74.870 mph.

Wood then had a series of race boats designed and built and named II through X versions of Miss America.

These racing boats took Gar Wood to five Gold Cup race wins. Gar Wood also won the Harmsworth Trophy nine times.

In his Gar Jr. II boat, Wood beat the train up the Hudson River and another beat the Havana Special train from Miami to New York by making the run in 47 hours and 23 minutes. The train took 12 minutes longer.

Gar Wood was the first boat racer to break 100 mph on water in Miss America IX. That was in 1931.

Gar Wood, in his Miss America X, was also the world’s fastest boat racer at over 124 mph in a timed straightaway.

What mechanical horse power did it take to do these speeds on the water back then?

Gar used about 2,400 Hp go break 100 mph.

Wood then got 3,200 Hp in the same boat to go over 112 mph.

Gar Wood, with 7,600 Hp and a new boat, got over 124 mph in a two way average. The “Two Miles Per Minute” record.

Miss America X was 38 feet LOA and all engines. In fact, she had four engines and just two seats.

All the Miss America race boats were designed by Napoleon or “Nap” Lisee. Gar Wood directed his designs to be built by various boat builders.

From 1916 to 1921, Gar Wood used his boat building company, Chris Smith Boat Co. (now Chris Craft boats) and Chris Smith to build his Nap Lisee designed Miss Americas. Chris Smith bought back the company and re-named it ChrisCraft Boats.

From then on, Wood used his Gar Wood Boats to make rich men’s runabouts from 1921 and on through the depression, mostly in 28 and 33 foot LOA sizes. Gar Wood Boats then changed down to paint finished  boats, mostly 16 footers, after the War and soon closed its doors.

Gar Wood retired from boat racing in 1933.

Gar Wood sold his boat building company in 1946.

Mr. Wood passed on in 1971.

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