Archive for the ‘Motors and Power’ Category

Gar Wood, Chris-Craft, and “Nap”

Miss Detroit II

Miss Detroit II

Joseph Napoleon Lisee was the hull designer behind Chris-Craft and Gar Wood race winning days. He was nicknamed “Nap”. He was a master builder, designer, pattern-maker, wood turner, and had a reputation as a  real perfectionist.

He was born in 1891, died in 1946. He started working for Chris Smith in 1905. He designed Smith’s 1916 successful Gold Cup raceboat, Miss Detroit. That racer was “a broken, battered hulk after the race, fit only for junk”. After the race, Smith lost a poker game and only had pennies in his pockets.

Gar Wood brought Miss Detroit from Chris Smith for $1,000 cash and a note for $800. Soon after Gar Wood also bought a controlling interest in the C. C. Smith Boat & Engine Company, what we now call, Chris-Craft. “Nap” as well as Chris’ sons; Jay, and Bernard came with the percentage ownership interest in the company.

“Nap” designed another racer (Miss Detroit II) to use the 250 HP engine from the hunk of the original Miss Detroit boat. That was also a successful single-step Hydroplane. She was 20 feet long.  Miss Detroit II set a speed record of 61.724 MPH. Jay W. Smith was aboard as the riding mechanic when the record was set. All of the Miss America hulls were a “Nap” design, including Miss America X, which set a record of over 124.42 MPH.

Gar Wood had “Nap” design the hull of the famous “Baby Gar’s”. They were a 33 foot long and had triple cockpit layout, brought to market in 1922. They were the cream of the crop of luxury runabouts.  A second, Baby Gar, at 28 feet in length was introduced in 1927. In 1930, a 22’ speedboat came along. By 1931 an 18 and 25’ models were added. By 1934 a 16’ sports racer was offered, primarily in the Clayton and Alexandria Bay area. A 40’ commuter was also offered.

Open cockpit or a Utility cockpit design came in 1936 in two lengths 18’ and 20’. By 1937 a 24’ model was available.  Later 19’, 22.5’, 24’ , 25’, 32’ models were added.

Chris Smith exited his ownership relationship with Gar Wood in 1922. He built a new factory and Gar Wood got the old C. C. Smith & Engine

company location. Smith’s sons (Jay, Bernard, and Owen) stayed with him.” Nap” stayed with Gar Wood. Chris Smith, born in 1861, died in 1939.

By 1930 the demand for Gar Wood boats outstripped the old plant. A new plant in Marysville MI was built from scratch. They could build 1,200 boats per year here. Demand for Gar Wood peaked just before World War II.

Gar Wood born in 1880 and died in 1971. He retired from racing in the fall of 1932, and retired from his business interests in 1940. He bought Fisher Island in Miami, FL in 1946 for his retirement home. He invented and tinkered until near his death.

After War II, the people that ran Gar Wood boats had noted industrial stylist, Norman Bel Geddes, restyle decks of the hulls of “Nap” to update them. Gar Wood boats closed in 1947.

Miss America X

Miss America X

Gar Wood Baby Gar

Gar Wood Baby Gar

Gar Wood Baby Gar engine

Gar Wood Baby Gar engine

1946 22.5 Gar Wood

1946 22.5 Gar Wood

1946 Utility Gar Wood

1946 Utility Gar Wood

bow photo 22.5 Gar Wood

bow photo 22.5 Gar Wood

 

 

Jimmy Stewart and the JS class in Boat Racing

Jimmy is the National High Points Champion in his APBA racing class. Over a season of racing, Jimmie won 3,363 points for his various race finishes. (The fella behind Jim’s achievement won 2,555 points.)

This is a very competitive racing class: 19 racers won points in this class one year. These racers come from MD, PA, NJ, FL, MI, NC, & VA. As you can see, this Jersey Speed Skiff class is well represented around the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.

Here’s a brief history about the Jersey Speed Skiffs (JS):

Along the Jersey shore in the 1800’s, fishermen either launched their human-powered (row) boats from the beach or an inlet to fish in the ocean and neighboring bays Then a sail rig was added and the popular way to go fishing in New Jersey remained a small boat. Think of a flat bottomed, cedar-wood planked boat using ribs to help define and stiffen the boat shape. Some cousins or early examples of a JSS boat were the Sea Bright Skiff, the Pound Boat, and Utility Skiffs.

In 1922, Harold “Pappy” Seaman built a 16’ boat with a Gray Marine Engine inboard engine. That started the powerboat JSS class idea. His boat went  21 MPH.

Fiberglass replaced wood in the 1960s. Bud Bender is the man known for fiberglass Jersey Speed Skiffs. Seabuddy met Bud at a past St. Michaels Antique & Classic Boat Show and Festival in Maryland. Today a skiff can break 80 MPH or more and they use a Chevy V-8 for power.

BTW, many of these early boats fished during the week and raced each other on Sunday. Pappy was from Long Branch where he built some 102 skiffs. The center of the sport seems to have stayed there in Long Branch, although there are boat races up and down the East Coast all summer long in both Vintage and APBA racing.
Jersey Speed Skiffs (APBA racing class JS) is a very active racing class within the American Power Boat Association, and race at sanctioned APBA events primarily up and down the East Coast. These racing skiffs run under very strict APBA rules that have not changed much since the early 1990s. Roll cages and safety harnesses are required, engines are restricted to 283 or 305 cubic inches with very strict specs, and the hulls remain at 16 feet with very strict specs.

Some hull shape design changes, more powerful engines and “tricks” enabled the skiffs to increase their speeds into the 30 mph range in the 1930s.

 

Post World War II, a few skiff races made it to the west coast. But, Red Bank was their home base. Speeds were up in the 50 MPH range, by now. In 1948, JS became an official APBA race boat class.

 

Fiberglass hulls made inside a mold came along in the 1960s. Roll cages were added, a little later, too.

 

Today speeds are over 80 MPH on the straight-a-way.

sister ship

sister ship

How to make a 24’ runabout out of two 20’ boats

Words © by Chris (Seabuddy) Brown

This classic 24’ inboard/outboard boat is waiting for a customer to specify a vee-drive shaft drive in the traditional inboard manner. All the other features and desirable traits of a runabout are in place. She runs, rides, and turns like a gem.

Sold 24' Runabout running

Sold 24′ Runabout running

The Cherubini 24’ was created by the company using their 20’ boat model. As a family, they have been building boats back to 1937. The current boat company goes back to 1975. Over this time they have worked their magic in many ways. This is an article about one of their magic moments in a long history of inspired boat building.

Hand crafted highly detailed and finished wood deck.

Hand crafted highly detailed and finished wood deck.

It looks like they bought the molds and rights to a water jet powered 20’ runabout from an out of business boat builder. They changed that hull to be a stylish, real sweet running I/O boat. Yes, other power is offered from the factory, but all the units seem to use inboard/outboard power.

Powered by stern drive, I / O Mercury Marine big block engine

Powered by stern drive, I / O Mercury Marine big block engine

 

I/O engine room

I/O engine room

I now want to drill down to how they created a 24’ boat. They took TWO examples of their sweet running 20’, cut them down the middle (but on an slant) added 4’ in the center, put this all into one boat and blended all of this using their boat building expertise into a 24’ boat. No flat spots, no seams, nothing that does not pass close inspection. I could not do this. Kudos to them.

Two aft sections and one bow of the 20' runabout, stacked on a trailer

Two aft sections and one bow of the 20′ runabout, stacked on a trailer

BTW, they went from a V-6 Mercury Marine GM block powered 20’ boat to a 496 cu. in. displacment, again Chevy GM block, Mercury Marine engine in the 24’. Both boats run much faster than most true classic boats. The 24’ can top 65 MPH with its big block engine.

prototype 24' runabout hull

prototype 24′ runabout hull

Has this type of thing been done before? Most say, yes. There are plans and drawings for the classic Donzi 16 and the Donzi 22 models. No drawing or plans for the Donzi 18 boat. The story goes that the 16’s bow and aft sections where cut and two feet were added in the middle to make the Donzi 18.

Prototype running under power

Prototype running under power

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is $39,900 for the boat, inboard motor, trailer, tower, bimini top, speed control, ballast, and music system.

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It is called by a new name, Wake Tractor. And it is coming in November. Wake Tractor is made by Bryant boats but marketed by a new company run by Ben Dorton. And as its own brand of boat company. BTW, his Dad, John Dorton, is chairman at Bryant Boats.

Manufacturer’s comment “It’s all about the wake,” John Dorton said. “The wake and the music.”

It’s powered with a inboard 5.7L engine from Crusader, one of Correct Craft’s companies. That is an inboard “ski boat” for under $40,000. That is a wow price.

She is said to have a rugged exterior finish, be easy to trailer, and have a durable interior. What is missing? Lots, but let us all wait until November to see. There is no question that the bow is clipped off to fit inside a garage and the seating is very different.

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Manufacturer’s comment…” the Wake Tractor opens up a whole new realm to enable people to connect via social media, Ben Dorton said, using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and video integration with monitors.

“We knew we had to make it become that tool to communicate with friends,” he said. “They can connect GoPros to the tablet at the helm and record the ride. And when they’re done after, they can share it with everyone.”

The Wi-Fi-based boat will be driven off a smart tablet, where all of the gauge readings will be displayed. It will have Bluetooth connected to the system so the stereo head unit can be eliminated. We need to keep those millennials to continue to love boating.”

“The Dortons also see the Wake Tractor appealing to Gen Xers, and even baby boomers looking for second or third boats. But the design is geared to the Gen Y group, John Dorton said.”

“We need to keep those millennials to continue to love boating.”

This 18’ boat has the hull of a 21’ in the water, so it gives that quality of a 21’ wake. And it is lighter so the 350 inboard engine works perfectly with the passenger / ballast load.

Manufacturer’s comment “The boat has simple ballast systems. And Ben Dorton says it has a great ride. “It’s not as good as a $120,000 X Star, but I can go out and do the exact amount of tricks and flips and spins as I can do behind any other boat,” he says. “The wakesurf wake is as good if not better than most of the $120,000 boats.”

The seating configuration is social, passengers can easily watch the driver, and riders are easily able to get in and out of the boat. “They can connect GoPros to the tablet at the helm and record the ride. And when they’re done, they can share it with everyone.”

The marketing will revolve around video, Ben Dorton says, adding that the group has tapped a young marketing firm in Tennessee that is also run by millennials. The website is going to look more like a social media site than a traditional website, with live blogging. “It’s going to be very interactive,” he says.”

Keith Black Hemi Engines

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A Hemi powered race boat gets respect. If it is a Keith Black Hemi engine race boat an entirely higher level of respect is given to the racer. In Hydroplanes and quarter mile race boats, a Keith Black Hemi is considered a top contender.

Keith’s first marine Chrysler V-8 Hemi was built in 1956. Black built this, his first Hemi, for his team of Black, Hallett and Greer for their 7 Litre Hydroplane. That boat, SEVEN GRAND, set a competition record of 86.455 MPH. Black’s Hemi made 375 Hp running alcohol through its fuel injection system.

Chrysler Corporation wanted to get more marine business for their Hemi engines. They made Keith Black the man to develop their marine Hemi. Black also made the engines for the Unlimited Hydroplane Miss Chrysler Crew.

Hydroplane Seven Grand

Hydroplane Seven Grand

He used two blown 426 Chrysler Hemi engines in the  Miss Chrysler Crew. Note, two Chryslers are only 852 cubic inches in displacement, against the 1700 cubes of the converted aircraft engines, used at this time frame in the Unlimited Hydroplane boats.

Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane

Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane

The Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane was a 40 % bigger version of the Miss Crazy Thing Hydro, which had one Hemi engine. Both boats were designed by Henry Lauterbach then of Portsmouth, Virginia. Henry designed a 29’ 2” long hull with a beam of 11’ 10”. Most other hydros were longer, up to 35’ in length.  U-77, her racing number, was also lighter by about 1,000 lbs. She also had a non-trip chine on the inside of the sponson. This allowed her to slide more in the turns. The engines and their Casale gearbox weighted in by about 300 lbs lighter, compared to an WW II aircraft engine and its gearbox. U-77, Miss Chrysler Crew won the UIM World Championship Regatta in 1967.

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With this inside track relationship at Chrysler, Black expanded into quarter mile drag boats and cars. The GREER-BLACK-PRUDHOMME  quarter mile land dragster in the early 1960s had a 236 wins to 7 losses. Greer, a successful machinist, and Black, the premier drag boat engine builder, proved the perfect match for PRUDHOMME to the young Van Nuys, Calif. driver.

Drag Boat w/ Black under a hat

Drag Boat w/ Black under a hat

 

Regal Marine / Volvo Forward Drive / save $35,000

regal forward

Wakesurfing will be the talked about tow boat sport next summer. Perhaps the right boats is one with a Volvo-Penta Forward Drive or spend about the $35,000 more in my headline above and get a Inboard Ski Boat. Both put the prop under the boat. There it is safely, far away from the water sports participants.

 

Seabuddy hopes that a boat buyer, when his family begs for a good Wake Surfing Powerboat for 2016, gets them to sea trial both a Volvo Forward Drive Boat and a Inboard Wake Surfing Boat. Should Dad say that the Volvo powered boat saves enough of the family fortunes that an extra new car can be purchased?

 

Here, I match the Regal Marine 2100 RX Surf Edition with a Volvo-Penta Forward Drive for a 50 MPH package, which makes it a faster boat than the inboard. Plus, instead of the engine/transmission, shafting, prop, strut and other underwater hardware from many sources, like the inboard does, all of this driveline comes from a single source (all from Volvo).

 

OF course, the $35,000 is a number I picked and until two boats are priced head to head, the difference is just a estimate.

 

Wake Surfing is done at 10-12 mph and surfing right behind the boat, riding the wave created by the boat’s wake.You only use a ski rope to be pulled up to this speed, then it’s a surfing ride only on the boat’s wake. No bindings on your board, no rope to pull, so one can do this for hours.

 

The Volvo Forward Drive is essential to make the right wake and do so safely or you need to get an inboard ski boat. The Volvo puts the props far forward under the hull, about 26’ compared to most outdrives. That is a big difference. Plus, Volvo makes the props “Pull” the boat, not “push” as with other drive trains. This matches up with a IPS Volvo system that has been out for years now. The exhaust does go back, under the water with the Cat cleaned up exhaust going into the wake. In the Regal this model also has an extended swim platform. Anyone in the water around the stern is well away from the props.

 

Get the 300 Hp Volvo-Penta engine that Regal picked with the prop set and reduction gears to get the best performance. Seabuddy understands that they studied, tested, and specified for the best performance around Volvo’s three reduction gear choices and six stainless steel prop set choices, that are just for this new Forward Drive. By the way, each set has a front prop and rear prop and are shaped differently from other Volvo DuoProp sets. They have their own part numbers.

 

On a sea trial try the around the marina and float maneuvering behind the driver’s seat and say “this package is easier to control” than what I am used to. All that drive her admire how well the package moves around in the water.

seabuddy's photo from the Miami Boat Show introduction last Febuary

seabuddy’s photo from the Miami Boat Show introduction last Febuary

 

uncovered at the Miami Boat Show last Feb.

uncovered at the Miami Boat Show last Feb.

 

 

 

Marine Racing Duesenberg W-24 Engine

Horace Dodge, Jr. liked fast boats and Unlimited Class boat racing. He hired the Duesenberg Brothers Racing (Augie and Fred) in 1925 to design, build and deliver two of these W-24 marine engines. The W shape was made up from three double overhead camshaft straight 8 engines all going to a common crankshaft. There are the right, center and left banks of 8 cylinders to this engine.

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Mr. Dodge Horace Dodge Jr. (son of one of the Dodge Bros.) wanted this new boat racing engine for his racing activities. Besides racing he also was a production wooden boat builder (starting in 1923). His production boats were called Dodge Watercars. His first factory was in Detroit, MI. But, he is known for his Newport News, VA factory that he had built to his design specs and that opened in 1930. That business closed in 1936. Its building is now the home to the Mariner’s Museum.
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Two Duesenberg W-16 engines were delivered in the summer of 1926. However, the success of these engines came much later. That racing engine last win was with Dan Arena who drove one of his boat designs (Notre Dame) to First Place in the 1940 President’s Cup. Along the way, these engines had different owners, were installed in several racing boats by those engine owners, and had several famous racing engine experts work on them, various carburetor set-ups (both in number and throats of each carb), and supercharging. Starting out at around 450-475 Hp in the later 1920s, the final supercharged engine made 850 Hp at 5,000 RPM in 1940.

Engine specs for the W-24 Duesenberg were 623 cu. in. with a bore of 2.875 inches by a 4 inch stroke.

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First Niche Chris Craft

Words © Chris (seabuddy) Brown and photos CBMM
Chris Craft Corporation said this quote “Chris-Craft has the name, the prestige, the public acceptance. It has consistently advanced from the beginning and maintained the continued success for its merchants. Chris –Craft has been the leader, is the leader, and will continue to lead” in the early 1930s..
By 1936-1937 Chris Craft introduced what Seabuddy labels’ the first niche Chris Craft Runabout; the 19’ Special Race Boat. It had a cut down (lower) hull profile with less freeboard fore and aft. Plus, Chris-Craft boats used thinner dimension framing as well as thinner planking in the bottom for this 19’ Special Race Boat model. These changes made a big difference compared to their other 19’ by 6’2” sized runabouts that were made by Chris Craft boats for the masses. For instance, while there are different engine choices, it is perhaps fair to say that one of these boats were 20% faster.
Funny thing… Chris Craft made 51 of these boats, the same number of 19’ Chris Craft Cobras it made in 1955. So, this first niche Chris Craft Runabout is about a rare a boat as there is in the Chris Craft line-up ,just like a 19’ Cobra is! Note, they made some 760 plus units of this 19’ 0” by 6’ 2” hull in their standard models.
The Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the ACBS clubs St. Micheals Classic Boat Show had both of these rare boats, fully restored in its annual June event. They were displayed on the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum grounds over three days in 2015. It was a signature show! Seabuddy hopes that you made it to the show or plan on putting this show on your calendar in the future years.
Now, there is a new construction wood boat available for a custom new build with a period correct engine for the made-to-order newly built hull or a buyer can direct that a modern V-8 Seabuddy has seen this boat, it is a real head tuner. Please see… http://www.vintagewatercraft.com/classic_boat_construction.htm and scroll down on the left to the “1937 Special Runabout (19’)”.
It was only in 1930, that Chris – Craft Corporation was the boat building company’s new name that Christopher Columbus Smith started business back in about 1874. The name had changed many times to allow for various partners in the years between these dates. It (the name) was the family’s idea and a way to sell 1/3 of the company to Wall Street. That partial stock sale never happened. The family ran the company and kept it private until they sold the entire corporation in early 1960.

Aston Martin cars getting into the Boat Business

Words ©Chris (Seabuddy) Brown, photos by Aston Martin, et al

The very first model will be a 37’ sport boat This boat will be introduced late in 2015. It will be named the AM37 and the Aston Martin name and logo will be on the boat.

Quick facts- there are some heavy hitters in the boat business in bring this boat to market. Henk de Vries, Director of Feadship is on board. As is Mulder Yacht Design. See Mulder’s 76 MPH yacht Moonraker.

Moonraker, Mulder Yacht Design 76 MPH yacht

Moonraker, Mulder Yacht Design, 76 MPH yacht

And do not forget Aston Martin.
Here is a quote…The AM37 combines the highest degree of technology and innovation in a genuinely unique manner that is sure to delight those who understand the Aston Martin credo of ‘power, beauty and soul’.

Aston Martin is a 103 year old car company that won Le Mans outright with Carroll Shelby in 1959.

aston martin racer wins le mans

Aston Martin with Carroll Shelby wins the 24 hours of Le Mans

And they won their GT 1 class in 2007.

aston martin at le mans wins gt 1

Aston Martin at le mans wins gt 1 in 2007

They are a small car company, but they have $312 million in new funds to expand from investors. The investors and management want to company to expand, particularly with its influence with women. There are naming deals for Sunglasses and Travel Accessories.

Aston will get future engines and electronics from Mercedes Benz. Mercedes may have Aston Martin make their very limited production Mayback models, as it is believed that Aston is better suited for limited production, than a big company like M B..
There is talk of an Alabama Aston Martin plant, near the Mercedes one.

37 Aston Martin sport boat, AM37

The AM37 will be made in the UK is seabuddy’s current understanding, but not inside the Aston Martin Gaydon, Warwickshire UK headquarters.

Aston Martin AM 37 sport boat

rendering of the Aston Martin AM 37 sport boat

Engines will be gas of diesel. Currently the thought is to power the gas engine closed deck sport cuddy cabin boats for a 60 MPH WOT top speed and the Diesels for a 50 MPH top speed. So, they are not Go-Fast boats. Rather, think Riva Aquarama, undated to today’s technology.

dash and helm of AM 37 Aston Martin

Helm of Aston Martin Sport Boat

One more thing, look at that powered hard surface three piece cockpit cover!

hard cockpit cover

Hard cockpit cover on AM 37 by Mulder Yacht Desgin for Aston Martin

Cobra Chris Craft and Shelby Cobra 427 together at Classic Boat Show

Words © Chris Seabuddy Brown, photo by CBMM
A Chris Craft Cobra set to towed by a Carroll Shelby Cobra 427 at a Classic Boat Show. It was the winner of the Best of Show-Land Display at the Classic Boat Show. Only at a classic show would such icons of land and water, or keels and wheels, if you prefer would seabuddy see such a thing on a Saturday afternoon.
Boaters know the Cobra’s as the most collectible models of mid-fifties. Restored Cobra boats are the envy of most fans of the classic Chris Craft line-up. They were made in only one year and only in very limited quantities. These two models are rare Chris Crafts. They were style leader models, made to attract buyers to dealer boat showrooms and major boat shows of the Chris Craft models. These other roughly 150 boat models were each priced at a profit. Chris Craft was still privately owned by the descendants of Chris Smith (who had died in 1939 two weeks after being found in the Chris Craft boiler room bleeding from his nose) and many family members still worked in the business.
Chris Craft Cobras used gold finished fiberglass to fashion a big fin behind the seat that dominates the styling of both sizes of these boats. This was an early attempt by the world leader in wooden boat construction to use the new boat-building material. The fiberglass was made in one plant and the otherwise planked mahogany wood boat was made in another. Several fiberglass parts did not match up with their boat hulls when mated on the final production line, the trial and error of fitment was one of the first learning lessons.
The boats used some car parts like the steering columns and their steering wheels are said to be1949 Chrysler parts. Cars and their brand-leading styling like the Mercedes Gullwing, GM Corvette, and early Ford Thunderbirds with limited seating and more style than function are often mentioned with the Chris Craft Cobras. These models are runabouts. Get in, sit-down, and enjoy. One does not walk around in a runabout.
Now, for the other snake in this write-up.
The 289 Shelby Cobra had used the British AC Ace car that came to market in around 1953 which began with a 100 HP engine ant then later with up to 120 HP six cylinder engine. The first small block Shelby’s used Ford’s then new 260 cu. In. V-8 engines for 75 Cobras and then 289 cu. in. engines (about 525 cars). There were several changes in these cars over the production run including rack and pinion steering, inboard and outboard mounted disc brakes, wheel hubs, and various details like radiators.
The Shelby Cobra 427 was the big block Cobra that Carroll Shelby created. That car had a new chassis and coil springs (instead of the transverse leaf springs of the Ace and the Ford small block cars). That new frame and suspension were developed with Ford’s cooperation, (Klaus Arning and Bob Negstad at Ford and this suspension is similar to the Ford GT-40s) and it is best identified by the wide fenders and an even bigger radiator opening. The engine was both a 427 and a 428 Ford engines. The 427 was the more desirable “side-oiler” engine.
Both Cobras are show stoppers!

chris craft cobra shelby 427 cobra

rare Chris Craft Cobra ready to be towed by Shelby 427 Cobra