Yes, Virginia, There Was -- And Is -- A Miss U 
|Miss U |
I spoke with Dave W. [David Williams, Director, Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum] this evening [25 October 1996] about a project we started last spring. Dave asked me to help him locate and contact Armand Swenson--the designer, builder, and owner of the Miss U hydroplane built in 1957.
Armand was one of many "backyard" builders and designers of the 50's and 60's with the dream that their design would be the next revolution in boat racing. The boat was built for $2000 from donations of $1 from Seattle area residents and cash from University area merchants hence the moniker "Miss University District".
Although scale models of the boat ran well in testing, the full sized boat was underpowered (300hp) and failed to qualify for the 1957 Gold Cup.
For many years Mr. Swenson tried to gather interest and financing to improve his boat and prove his design was competitive -- without luck. Moving to California he went into a successful business as a gunsmith and would occasionally show up at the San Diego race. After many phone calls and letters we received a letter from Mr. Swenson's wife. Armand had passed away last January but she still had Armand's "dream boat" and donated the boat to the Hydroplane Museum along with some memorabilia related to the boat. This weekend one of our volunteers will pull into our parking lot with the Miss U in tow.
We are excited about this boat in that it represents the dream many of us "with a better or different idea" have shared--and part of what has brought about the constant evolution of race boat design.
(Reprinted from the Thunder Letter, 1996)
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