Six Shooter [1905]

Oldsmobile 35-Ft. Power-Boat

The following article is about a speed launch, built by the Oldsmobile Co., Detroit, Mich. But a few years ago this concern was actively engaged in the manufacture of marine engines, abandoning the field it seems but temporarily. Their success in the automobile field and the quality of their output augurs well. Her dimensions are: Length over all 35 ft., load water line 34 ft. 6 in., breadth extreme 4 ft. 6 in., depth amidships 2 ft. 3 in. She is built with a double skin, the inner one being 1/8-in. thick, and the outer one 3-16-in. mahogany. The frames in general are 1/2x3/4-in., with some heavier ones in the neighborhood of the engine. The keel is of white oak in one piece, and the engine floors and beams are also of oak. The engine logs are continued for some distance aft of the engine and are reduced with a gradual taper, thus giving the vessel a stiff bottom.

The decks are of mahogany 3-16-in. thick, the forward deck line being continued in the form of a light movable cover to the after end of the engine. The forward cockpit contains the engine and a seat at the after end for the helmsman and engineer. She is steered by an ordinary automobile steering wheel.

The after cockpit contains seats for passengers.

The engine is of the 6-cylinder vertical type, having intake and exhaust valve side by side. Crank case is of aluminum and to the upper half are bolted caps for all main bearings. These bearings are of bronze as are also the bushings for the wrist-pin end of the connecting rod. The lower half of the case is an oil pan only and extends fore and aft, completely enclosing all main bearing caps in such a manner that the leakage from the end bearings is thrown off into the pan by means of pressed steel rings. The 6-throw crank is of nickel steel, carries at the front a fly wheel and at the rear a flange bolted to the short section of shafting carrying the transmission.

The bearings are of generous proportion and are lubricated by a constant flow of oil supplied by a gear pump, driven from the cam shaft. So nicely are the reciprocating parts balanced against each other that at 1,000 revolutions the vibration can scarcely be detected in the boat. Cylinder dimensions are 5-in. bore by 5-in. stroke and the power developed is easily between 50 and 60 h.p. The cylinders are fitted with the auxiliary exhaust, so long a familiar feature of the Olds gasolene stationary engines. This device has been used by this company for a number of years.

One carburetor supplies the gas for all cylinders. The ignition is of the high-tension type, using accumulator and spark coil. The entire control of the engine, composing the throttle, the spark advance and the electrical switch, as well as the lever for operating the "go ahead" and "back up" is placed convenient to the hand of the driver. The entire arrangement resembles greatly that of the modern automobile and the operation is as simple as that of any runabout.

Unfortunately the first vessel on these lines was burned just as she was completed, so that the present one did not come out until November last. Owing to the lateness of the season, it was impossible to get any good speed trials, as the time was devoted to getting everything about the engine tuned up. The boat, however, has done something better than 20 miles, and is expected to improve this when everything is in shape.

This trim little craft is the property of Fred L. Smith of the Olds Motor Works.

The hull was designed by Prof. Herbert C. Sadler, of the University of Michigan, and the engine designed and built under the direction of H. E. Coffin, in the Experimental Department of the Olds Motor Works, Detroit, Mich.

(Transcribed from Power Boat News, May 20, 1905, pp. 113-114.)

{Howard Coffin would go on to become one of the founding fathers of the Hudson automobile in 1909. GWC}

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. --LF]


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Leslie Field, 2000