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  1. #331
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Bull View Post
    The Speed Craft name that i remember was a boat made in Bowie, Tx. and owned by a very nice fellow named James ( for the life of me i cannot remember his last name) something. His 16ft boat was a copy of the 16ft Allison. We had two of um. The first was a black boat that came apart under me in a closed coarse race. After repairing the boat we took it to another race and it came apart on the opisite side and went down again. After a few weeks i got a call from the builder (James) and was told some interesting info. The dealer that sold us the boat failed to say that the boat was never intended to be raced in a circule race that it was purposly built as a kilo boat. He then made me a very generous offer. If we would pay for the materials he would build us a boat capable of running closed coarse races. When we went to pick up the new yellow boat i saw in his shop an outboard hydro with an Evinrude CCC on the back. It looked just like the rotted boat in your picture. James drove the hydro himself.
    The new boat was in fact worthy of rough water racing and i won many races in it.

    Tom Drodz.....What a talented designer/builder he is. I drove for Louis and Brad Collins in the very early Mirages for three years so i was around Tom from time to time. Louis would tell Tom and Brad what he wanted and between the two they would build a plug. Louis would call me in Shreveport and say to come over so we could test a new bottom or pad or intire center pod or whatever they had changed. They were both very talented and complemented each other. Tom could build anything including dirt track race cars with motorcycle engine`s in them from scratch. Tom`s shop wasn`t far from the Mirage Shop and was right on the water witch made it ideal for testing. Louis or Brad could tell you way more about Tom than me and Louis post`s on here from time to time.

    This is the second boat out of the mold of the second generation Mirage Mod-VP on Marine Creek Lake on a cold winter day in January. Louis told me that it should be fast and it was.

    Attachment 159546

    DB (AKA Bobby Sanders)

    (OK, After thinking about it for awhile i Remember it was James Wilkins that had that hydro). He told me he ran it in the 130mph range.
    Thanks for the great input Bobby. What year do you think you saw the hydro in the Speedcraft shop? Don bought the In a Hurry in '83 or' 84, You may have already read it, but when I took the In a Hurry to Tommy Drodz in '84 to have it copied as the Toy, which of course Tommy built us a completely different design, he told me that In a Hurry was originally built in 1968 as a round nose kneel down hydro, and in '76 he modified it to a sit down pickle fork (or whatecever you wanna call it) hydro. And if you look at the front middle fork, you can tell it would have been in the correct position for a round nose, that was just slotted or cut back. I now remember Bowie TX on the boat or trailer, and my guess is that someone built the boat (1968) and James bought it after Tommy modified it and just put his Speedcraft name on it. Does this make any sense to you? It fits the mystery pretty good and I appreciate your input. Is there any way to contact James or his family and perhaps get a photo of the hydro when he had it? BTW it ran smoother and safer than the Toy or the Sting ever did. Quicker too, if you beleive the ADBA clocks in Oak Ridge in 1984.
    Thanks again,

    Barron


  2. #332
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    Sounds like the same boat to me. It had to be in 1983 when i saw it. That`s when we picked up the yellow Speed Craft. I saw James after that at Marine Creek Lake with the hydro and that had to be in the spring of 83. Russ Rogers and several other`s that post here From Ft.Worth area and are friends of mine so i`ll ask them if they know how to reach James.
    BTW, Many years ago in the early to mid 80`s another friend of mine (Billy Harrison w/White Lightning and Bobby Chapman up) was suppose to line up with you and "The Toy" at some point. I remember him telling me about it before it was to come off. Do you remember if ever happened?

    DB

  3. #333
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    Barron, was "The Sting" originally red?

    The black boat Tom Kunzeman was killed in was a Sun Valley Hydro. Kunzeman also owned a Sun Valley he set a record in and was probably the reason Don wanted Tom to drive his for that event??? The white boat in post #202 was an Intimidator built by Jack McBright here locally. I haven't talked to Jack, but James seems to think only 3 were built. After David Proctor was killed at Marine Creek in his Intimidator in '83 (David suffered neck injuries from the crash and died a few months later, 10/15/83) Larry Boyd aquired the molds from Jack and built 8 "Sun Valley" boats. (Larry Boyd confirmed this morning). According to James Wilkins atfer a phone conversation this morning, James did in fact rework the "In a Hurry" boat named "Gettin It" for Mike Green and later Mike built a fiberglass copy named "Tuff Enough". (Green's Marine in Denton TX).

    Barron, give Larry a call (817-293-9568) maybe between the 2 of you, the memory will come back and we'll get a ton more info.

    James Wilkins had a "Butts (Tim Butts) ArrowWing" with the triple C/6 pak. Give James a call 940-627-4242

    James has invited me up to share a ton of photos and memorabilia that to me is invaluable info.

    I was a "free lance" photographer from the early 80's to early 90's and my race buddies would invite me out for testing or the races so I obtained thousands of images (literally boxes and boxes full) and as many negatives that never had an image printed. I attended every race with VIP status but was to bashful to approach the drivers to let them know I had pics. I've been wanting to build/start a wedsite with these (and others) and have actual interviews from drivers and owners from back in the day to present day. (Jon Wright, the only one left in Unlimited). My passion is the Unlimited Outboard guys that went "all out" and risk everything knowing the consequences. Not that guys like Eddy Hill with the historic "First in 200 mph" status don't intrigue me, cause I've had a few conversations with him as well, and hope to some day plan a lengthy visit for a complete interview. I know I could have bought a Pro Mod boat with what I've spent on my outboard hydro and be competitive as hell, but that don't do it for me. I'm not a "cookie cutter" personality and with todays technoligy just about anyone can "buy" a competitive race boat with a car engine and have at it.

    James sent me some pics but they're small so I'll get "the real deal" and get em on here. In the meantime this will have to do:


    Ronnie

    Kaase Outboard Hydro/Bottle Fed 300 Drag

  4. #334
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    When Don bought The Sting, it was mostly white with some yellow, orange and red stripes. I have a photo somewhere, I'll try to find it. It was a few years old in 1987 and my understanding was that it was an Intimidator, and the Sun Valley's came later. Someone put some bulkheads and stiffened it up for Don. It looked like good work, whom ever did it.

    Is that a 'Butts' in the photo's you posted? I remember landing at Dallas-Fort Worth and driving a few hours with Don to look at a used boat that looked like a 'Butts', but I felt it was too small for the power we were planning on, so we drove back and then decided to have Tommy build The Toy.

    The Butts was in someone's garage attached to a modest house, but I don't remember where.

    The 'In a Hurry' of course looks totally different from the Butts, and I would love to see a photo of it before we aquired it. I remember rigging it in our shop at night and having to cut the transom down about an inch and plugging up the trim cylinder hole in the transom. Would an OMC have been longer by an inch or so? Anyone? I just set the transom height for the prop shaft to be level with the sponsons and it ran great.

    I would really like to see this expanded on if you could get James and others involved.

    Thanks
    Barron

  5. #335
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    Barron, James has pics of the "In A Hurry" when he did the work. Give him a call, maybe he'll get on here and add some info.

    The "Butts" with the triple C was built specifically for that power.

    If we could get Larry Boyd and James Wilkins to tune in, and another wealth of hydro/drag racing information would be Earl Mooreman.

    Oh, by the way, I roasted 2 speedmasters in 6 weeks . The 1st one was the original unit Gary Price had on the Kaase when he raced it so I assumed it was old and tired and gave up easy. The second was new in the box that lasted about 20 or so runs while breaking in the motor and then 3 passes with nitrous. The last and fatal run was with a 10x17 with a bunch of cup and a bunch of nitrous.

    Ronnie

    Kaase Outboard Hydro/Bottle Fed 300 Drag

  6. #336
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    Ronnie, I thought speedy`s were supposed to last longer than that. Maybe something else is wrong.

    DB

  7. #337
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Bull View Post
    Ronnie, I thought speedy`s were supposed to last longer than that. Maybe something else is wrong. DB
    It depends on which version and how much power goes thru it

  8. #338
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    Quote Originally Posted by warrior74z View Post
    1979 Some top brass at Mercury dealer meeting. I remember the gent on the right ended up president, but can't recall his name. Can someone name all these guys? Is one of them Ham Hamburger?

    I think the one in the middle is Joe Vernelson of Greenville Marine, Greenville,NC. The one left of middle might be Harris of Fountain Power Boats. Joe in his 40's and Harris in his 20's.

  9. #339
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    To the far left, that could be John Hull, and the far right is Alex (Charles Alexander) who was VP of Engineering about that time frame if I remember right. Alex later became Merc President.

  10. #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernie View Post
    To the far left, that could be John Hull, and the far right is Alex (Charles Alexander) who was VP of Engineering about that time frame if I remember right. Alex later became Merc President.
    You definately got Hull and Alex right.....

  11. #341
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    FYI... runwathchabrung...He will be missed!

    http://www.legacy.com/reflector/Obit...onID=122108056

  12. #342
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    Quote Originally Posted by 240Aqua View Post
    FYI... runwathchabrung...He will be missed!

    http://www.legacy.com/reflector/Obit...onID=122108056
    Condolences to the family. Remember the good times.
    God Bless You All

    Barron

  13. #343
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    Memories

    Barron, this is a fantastic thread. I hope it,as well as the information continues. I think back to the local Mercury dealer "Valley Outboards" in the 60s & 70s with fond memories. Your racing stories and memorabilia kept me going for three hours..Thanks,Peter.

  14. #344
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    Thi may be the coolest thread I've seen to date!! Love the ols pics!!

  15. #345
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    Fantastic thread! Thank you for sharing all these memories!

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