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Hydroplanes with Hopped up Hot Rod Engines

I got my first ride at over 100 MPH on water in 1971, and my life changed forever. I grew up with my dad racing Indian motorcycles for the factory and then later Jalopy's. My uncle Ollie Silva the win

Miss Bardahl 1984 I purchased the Miss Bardahl in 1976 with the intent to race her. We located Griffin Rolls engines in England and ordered 10. We had everything but a special gear box. Hydroplanes run a gear box that over speeds the propeller. In the Barhahl the over speed is right at 3.5 to 1. The engines turn 3000RPM, and the propeller spins at over 12,000. The size of the propeller is a 12" in diameter, and the pitch is around 19". You can work with the pitch to achieve different speeds, or say more acceleration off a corner. At the time the only gear box that was available where some surplus boxes that came off the old Tahoe Mist hydroplane. It was owned by Bill Harrah of the Harrah Hotel and Casino fame. He sold the equipment to a guy named Fender. When we finally got in touch with Fender he told us he had just sold the gear boxes to Berny Little of Miss Budweiser fame. We called Berny and he wouldn't even talk to us. He hung the phone up on us. So much for these so called celebrity types. What would you expect form a former car salesmen. Without the gear box we couldn't run the boat. So I stored the boat until 1983, and at that time donated it to the Unlimited Gold Cup Hall of Fame and Museum. It was the first boat donated to start the museum. I was made an Honorary member and also made some life long friends. The problem is nothing is forever. My friends that started and built the museum have all died. The assets where donated to the Race Boat Museum, and the first order of buisness was to sell my Miss Bardahl. I had first right of refusal to re purchase it, but they forgot to mention to me they where selling the dam thing. As it sets today the Miss Bardahl has been re built and is running at Vintage hydroplane events on the West Coast. One of the original crew members drives her and gives rides. In the end it all turned out OK. With the exception of the asset. The Miss Bardahl is worth in the vicinity of $500,000.

21 May 2011
Johnny Sweet, Feb 4, 2011
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