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  1. #1
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    Just got word Bob Switzer passed.....

    Got this from Tom. Knew Bobby well in the 70's, built my boat, and last saw in 2006 went went back east a visit! RIP Bob..thanks..


    It's with a heavy heart to all the Switzercraft fans and family that I have to make this announcement that Bob Switzer, our hero and friend passed away on Friday December 29, 2017. There are not enough words that I could say that can decribe this loss, to his family, to us his fans, and to all the lives he touched worldwide. A memorial will be held on Thursday January 4 at the McHenry Country Club in McHenry Illinois at 3 p.m. My deepest condolences to Bob's entire family, it... has been an honor to meet many of them and become friends, but most of all to Carol his beloved wife who stood by Bob all his life and specially during those race years where she had to endure watching him race, a feeling that some of my relatives know too. Bob it was the greatest honor to befriend you and Carol and meet your family and the Regatta will never be the same but by the Grace of God I will keep it going. God's Speed Bob and as it is said time and again in Propellar Magizine "Race in Peace" -Tom Arambasich and the Switzercraft Reunion Regatta Friends

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  3. #2
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    R.i.p. Bob switzer

    I am truly sad to hear of his passing, we always enjoyed his pop in visits at Hustler sport center in Mchenry Il. and he would share a story or two when there. I believe he enjoyed his retirement years to the fullest and always had something on the list to do!
    I have a 1972 ss170 that i have been debating full restore for a few years and just needed the motivation to do it!
    if i can spare the time and money this year, it will be done and dedicated to him.
    RACE IN PEACE BOB!

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  5. #3
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    Prayers,for Bob and family! It was an opertunity of a lifetime,to have been able to chat with Bob at the reunion of 2016.

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  7. #4
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    I guess the only thing I can say about Bob, Dave, and Carol is "glad to cross paths in life"!
    My fondest mem of Bobby was back late 70's. Friend mine (passed too) had a W/E party house on (we lived Chi burbs week) Pisitakee. I had a SS17, 74, new XS ass end, Carl Larson next door us had a GL 20 with a 200 Rude. I was a solid 73 mph. and Carl a solid 83. So we are at the lake house (channel off the old "happy Ours resort ..gone condos now) and here comes Bobby, Carol, and the doggy in the brand new GL 21, with a 235 Rude! Wish I had a pic or vid that day! He was a "real deal", brilliant, intense, heck of a nice guy with always help ya if needed. It was in his "2 stroke blood" Him as Dave were great innovators, and if it floated? They probably built it! Hell a great person...sorely missed but "thanks for the fun times HE created"!

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  9. #5
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    And he sure left a "legacy" done life...RIP Bob..

    The following may be "The Greatest High Performance boating story ever told".............


    "The Day I Flew a Boat" by: Robert Switzer

    It all began with a phone call, (person to person) to me, Bob Switzer, from Carl Kiekhaefer, President of Mercury Marine. The date was July 17th, 1962. The meat of the call was a request for Switzer Craft to build a boat for twin Mercury 100 H.P. outboards that would exceed 100 M.P.H. on water.

    The call was impressive. Imagine ... out of hundreds of boat builders, we were called to do this project. We immediately began designing our first effort based on the pattern of the Switzer Hydro Cat (commonly referred to as the "Switzer Wing"). In 1961, the Switzer (U4) wing was a major breakthrough in the twin engine Stock Outboard Pleasure Craft Class U. (Unlimited engines but required to be a minimum of 15 feet in length.) The first Switzer Wing was built in 9 days, just prior to the Winnebago Outboard pleasure craft event, where the Switzer Craft Wing finished first overall, and the next two classes were also won by other Switzer models. The U4 was the first Cat to exceed 80 M.P.H. with only a pair of 76 cu. in. 80 H.P. Outboards. (see below)

    Our first new design developed to meet Mr. Kiekhaefer's request was not a complete success. At speeds of over 85 M.P.H. the bow had a tendency to kite or "bow up" (a feared maneuver of every driver).

    In late August, we tried a new hull concept, mounting the engines mid-ship in a hull much like the Hickman Sea Sled. It featured square simple lines and a shovel nose. We hoped that the engines forward could control any bow lift tendencies. Much to our regret the trial runs showed that the thrust of the propellers forward and under the hull clamped the back of the boat to the water and drag was too much for our twin 80 H.P. Mercury's to overcome in the initial plane off.

    Time was slipping away, the leaves were turning into their fall colors and we estimated approximately five weeks of open water to test on the Fox River near our plant. A decision had to be made... Do we call Mr. Kiekhaefer and postpone the project until spring, or do we keep going "right up to the wire" as the saying goes. The decision was made! Keep going!

    My brother, Dave Switzer was the designer in charge of the construction phase of this project. He knew that now the pressure was on to design and build that 100 M.P.H. boat in minimum time. Russell "Pop" Switzer, a pioneer in light aircraft and sea planes since World War I, injected some new ideas he had long thought were necessary to control a boat at flying speeds. Dave welcomed these new ideas and also accepted a weight distribution change that I had recommended. We also concentrated on making a cleaner air-flow version of his original U-4. Several days later the materials were flying into shape and the U-6 hull was finished in record time. With time running out fast it was rigged for the first test runs.

    The time was now! We proceeded to the test area on Nov. 29th, 1962, only to find that there was a 1/4" of ice on the river, stopping all progress. The weather reports promised warmer weather for the next day. All was held in readiness. November 30, temperature 45 -Sky clear -water open and calm. Time, 10:00 A.M. we launched the U-106. I got into the enclosed plexiglass cockpit (much like the capsule boats of today) , checked out all instruments, fired up engine #1, check, #2, check, water pressure and cooling systems OK, tachometer reading steady, fuel pressure normal, closed the aircraft type canopy over the cockpit, bring the engines to warm up speed and taxi to position for a wide open run.

    Now, increasing speed to 50 mph -60-70 -80 and now at the speed range where the previous design started to kite I used the foot throttle over-ride and steering with my left hand, I put my right hand on "Pop" Switzer's stabilizing control lever which operated the elevon (wing tail flap) controlling the last 2 feet of the center section between the twin hulls. At 85 M.P.H. the bow lifted slightly off the horizon - too high for safety, I pushed the lever forward to position 1 ( of 4) and the horizon line returned to normal. Now, at 90 M.P.H. a slight bow lift again, lever to position #2, now the bow was normal in good trim again. Suddenly, at this moment many things seemed to occur. While my 17 pitch (Record props from Switzerland) were turning almost 6,000 R.P.M. my neck snapped back, the Hull lifted off the water about 2-4 inches ... no vibrations from water contact. I felt like I was in a sea plane just after lift off of the water. The R.P.M.'s suddenly dropped back to approximately 5,000, and at the same time the speed increased to the shrill sound of the two engines harmonically balanced. I glanced down at the Keller calibrated speedometer, reading 96-97 -98-99 -100 with those 76 cu. in. 80 H.P. direct reversing engines revving at nearly 7,000 R.P.M. I knew we had just what Mr. Kiekhaefer asked for. Now, almost tranquil from the experience of "The Day I Flew a Boat" with a full boundary layer of air between the hull and the water and seeing houses go by like a picket fence. I realized that the straight away water was fast running out. So, deceleration of the U-6 was started with the same caution used in increasing the speed. The stabilizer control was returned to various positions as the speed was reduced. When the boat speed was between 80 and 85 there was a loud sound and vibration from the hull re-entering the water almost like driving from the highway to a washboard gravel country road. Taxiing to the launching site where all the Switzer Craft crew were on hand for the verdict I could hear all the questions. How did it handle? How fast did it go? What was it like? .....And, you know the answers.

    The Hull was then returned to the factory for final preparations to be delivered to Mr. Kiekhaefer at Lake X where she was fitted with a pair of 99 cu. in. 100 H.P. engines with stacks and double pinion speedmasters. She went on to reach speeds in excess of 120 M.P.H. This same hull driven by both Johnny Bakos and Dave Craig startled many of the onlookers and the Helicopter pilots that could not keep up with her to allow the photographers to film her, as she won the Gold Coast Marathon from Miami to Palm Beach and return on the inland coastal waters, with a record average speed of 81.78 M.P.H. that may still stand today!

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  11. #6
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    prays sentding....it is time to pray for the people of this the last time

  12. #7
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    RIP Bob

  13. #8
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  15. #9
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    So sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I met him for the 1st time about 5-6 years ago at a Lake Geneva ACBS event and we had great discussions about some of the early boats they made. The 67 Shooting Star I had will always be the most fun boat I owned over the years - especially when I replaced the original 1100 SS with a 15000 XS.

  16. #10
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    Very sad! Lots of history with him!

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  18. #11
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    Awesome story - thanks for posting that.

    Is "thunderball" and any others of the like still around anymore ??

    MDS

  19. #12
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    Sorry to hear this. RIP Bob.

  20. #13
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    Very Sad RIP.

    Dave
    1980 Cougar 19 tunnel,90 2.4L Bridgeport EFI in middle of restoration.
    1988 BAJA Sunsport 186, 96 225 Pro Max
    79 12' Auminum, 95 Merc 9.9
    RIP Stu
    "So many idiots, so few bullets"

  21. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jk67switzer View Post
    So sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I met him for the 1st time about 5-6 years ago at a Lake Geneva ACBS event and we had great discussions about some of the early boats they made. The 67 Shooting Star I had will always be the most fun boat I owned over the years - especially when I replaced the original 1100 SS with a 15000 XS.
    Was that at the Abbey in Fontana Gordy's marine was Switzers number 1 dealership for years

  22. #15
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    I checked my files and yes, the ACBS International meeting at Lake Geneva was held at The Abbey Resort in 2011.

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