Gar Wood Seeks Speed Boat Record of 250
MIAMI, Fla. -- Gar Wood doesn't expect to be behind the wheel when it happens, but he wouldn't be at all surprised if Gar Jr., one day in the future, drove a Miss America XV or XVI over the waters at 200 or 250 miles an hour.
Sitting on the porch of his palatial home here today, the world's speedboat king said his second record speed of nearly 125 miles an hour -- which he hopes to break on the placid waters of Indian Creek here next month -- would some day be doubled.
"A speed of 250 sounds fantastical, yes," he said, "but no more fantastical than 125 would have sounded when I took up boat racing. Why, I remember the first time I ever drove a boat in a real race. It was in Dubuque, in 1910, and the spectators nearly jumped into the water to congratulate us when we did 10 miles at an average of 30 miles an hour, for a new world's speed record. I remember when I stepped out of that little boat, shaking like a leaf, that I said to myself:
"'Gar, they'll never go any faster than that.' And it seemed impossible, too. I remember just like it was yesterday how scared I was when we went through a bridge on that run. It seemed as though we were flying. Yet, Miss America X that I'll drive next month will drift almost 30 miles an hour, and there are stock cruisers that'll make 75."
Wood's Miss America X, which is now in Detroit getting the finishing touches, weighs more than 10 tons, and its four mighty motors will develop approximately 7,600 horsepower. Thirty-eight feet long, and 10 feet broad, it's far and away the biggest racing speed boat Wood has used. He doesn't know how fast it will go, but Miss America IX, with less power, and racing in the fresh water of River St. Clair, made nearly 124. So he is confident that the new boat, with more power, and running in salt water (which is not so light as fresh water, thus offering more buoyancy and a better bite for the propeller) will better the mark.
Wood is inclined to belittle the dangers of high-speed racing on water; says there is no real danger save when running in shallow water.
"And the danger in shallow water is not the danger of hitting a sandbard or anything, for Miss America X, when the throttle is open, and she is hitting well above a hundred, doesn't draw quite an inch of water. As a matter of fact she could race in a suacer if you could find one big enough. The danger of shallow water is that if something went wrong, and she dived, she wouldn't have room to plunge and would crack up on the bottom. And at that speed, the bottom would be just like a stone wall."
(United Press, February 2, 1935)
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