1933 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan, September 1, 1933

The Gold Cup Goes Back East
El Lagarto proves too fast for the defending fleet and wins the famous American classic in impressive style

bullet Gold Cup Goes to Lake George
bullet The High Lights and the Low Downs of the Detroit Regatta
bullet El Lagarto Wins Gold Cup
bullet Gold Cup Goes Back East

Driving in faultless style George Reis of Lake George, N. Y., piloted his famous old veteran El Lagarto to victory in the Gold Cup races at Detroit, Sept. 1. Reis won two straight heats in record time and then loafed in second place in the third heat to win the trophy on points.

Nine boats were assembled at Detroit for this blue ribbon event but only seven of them faced the starter, Delphine VIII and Miss Philadelphia being withdrawn at the last minute. Even at that it was easily one of the finest fleets which have ever competed for the famous old trophy and all the boats seemed extremely well matched.

The start of the first heat was rather straggling with El Lagarto leading the way, closely followed by Imp, driven by Jack Rutherford and Delphine IV, piloted by Bill Horn, last year's winner. Then in order came Delphine VII, driven by Mrs. Delphine Dodge Baker, Delphine VI, with Commodore F. G. Ericson driving, Delphine IX with Horace E. Dodge at the wheel and Hotsy Totsy with Vic Kliesrath.

El Lagarto shook off Imp shortly after the start and opened up a big lead. Before they reached the upper turn Imp developed engine trouble and was out. Delphine IV and Delphine VI started to battle for second place with Delphine VII fourth and Delphine IX and Hotsy Totsy away back. El Lagarto had a lead of nearly 200 yards at the end of the.first lap with Delphines VI and IV running neck and neck. Hotsy Totsy dropped out in the second lap due to failure of her oil pressure, leaving but five boats in the race. For the next three laps the boats held the same order but Delphine VI had cut down El Lagarto’s lead to seven seconds and it looked like a battle until Delphine’s engine threw a connecting rod on the fifth lap and put her completely out. Delphine IV took up the chase but couldn't catch the flying leader about 300 yards behind El Lagarto at the finish. Mrs. Baker, driving Delphine VII missed one of the buoys at the upper turn on the sixth lap and so was disqualified for the heat leaving third place to Delphine IX which was driven by Horace E. Dodge.

Only four boats started the second heat. El Lagarto again beat the field across the starting line but her margin was very slight over Delphine IV, with Delphine VII a close second and Delphine IX trailing. In this heat Horace E. Dodge relinquished the wheel to Benny Hill. The feature of this heat was the battle for first place on the back stretch of the second lap. Delphine IX actually caught El Lagarto just before the lower turn but the Lake George boat opened up and beat the Dodge entry to the stake catching Delphine in her wake so that the Dodge craft was forced to slow down to prevent capsizing. It was a two-boat, race right to the finish with El Lagarto always able to keep about the same distance ahead despite the frantic attempts of Delphine’s driver to get by. In. the fourth lap El Lagarto, which had been maintaining a steady speed of just under .61 miles per hour, boosted the speed to 62.355 miles per hour, the fastest speed she has shown to date. Apparently Delphine IV was out to her limit for her speed showed unusual consistency throughout the last three laps, varying less than one second for the five miles. El Lagarto slowed down her mad pace hut finished well in the lead. Delphine IV finished in second place and about half a mile ahead of Delphine VII. Delphine IX had dropped out in the fourth lap when the oil pressure of her engine had dropped past the danger point.

The third lap was a mere formality. El Lagarto with the race in her grasp merely had to finish third or better to take the cup on points. Bill Horn, at the wheel of Delphine IV, with nothing to lose, went out after a record and made the 30-mile heat in 29 minutes 53.84 seconds, giving him a grand average of 60.206 miles per hour for the entire 90 miles, the best time ever recorded for 625 cubic inch class boats.

Delphine VII led El Lagarto for the first lap but slowed down in the second lap and finished miles behind. Delphine IX. Horace E. Dodge's British-built defender, went down and out in the third lap with a broken connecting rod.

El Lagarto, winner of the Cold Cup, is an old campaigner. She was designed by John L. Hacker and built by the Hacker Boat Co., Mt. Clemens. Mich., for Ed Grimm of Buffalo, who entered her in the Gold Cup race of 1923.

Her engine was me ready In time for this race and she made her initial appearance in the International regatta held by the Buffalo Launch club Sept. 13-15, 1923, under the name of Miss Mary. She won two heats in the race for the Interstate championship. Next year she competed in the Gold Cup race at. Detroit, but failed to finish a single heat. In 1929 she was bought by George Reis who re-powered her with a six-cylinder Packard Gold Cup engine and "shingled" her bottom. In 1931 she startled the boating world by almost running off with the Gold Cup, but an accident put her out. She came back, however, by winning the Red Bank National Sweepstakes and the President’s Trophy, In 1932 she was beaten in the Gold Cup race by Delphine IV but almost turned the tables on that boat in the President’s Trophy race when she won the first heat and was leading in the second heat when a crankshaft let go and putting her out.

This year she again won the Red Bank National Sweepstakes race and crowned her career by taking the famous Gold Cup. She is powered by a six-cylinder Packard engine 5 inches bore and 4½ inches stroke, with Joes reverse gear, Delco ignition and Champion Spark plugs. She used Duplex marine engine oil. In the first two heats of the Gold Cup race she used a three-blade Hyde propeller of 17 inches diameter and 27 inches pitch and in the last heat used a Federal-Mogul Equipoise propeller of the same size. Horace E. Dodge's Delphine IV, which although finishing second established a new record for the Gold Cup distance. is also powered with a six-cylinder Packard engine of Gold Cup type using Joes reverse gear, Champion spark plugs and Duplex marine engine oil. She is equipped with a three-blade Michigan machined-pitch steel propeller of 17 inches diameter and 28 inches pitch, marking the first entry of the Michigan Wheel Co., into Gold Cup competition.

Delphine VII, which finished third in the Gold Cup, is a new boat this year. She was designed by George F. Crouch and built by the Horace E. Dodge Boat & Plane Corp., for Mrs. Delphine Dodge Baker who drove her in the Gold Cup events. Delphine VII is of the single step type and a very capable performer with splendid possibilities. Mrs. Baker displayed remarkable courage and skill in her handling of this boat and demonstrated her right to the front rank of the nation's drivers. Delphine VII is also powered with a Packard Gold Cup engine with Joes reverse gear, Delco ignition and Champion spark plugs. Like Delphine IV she uses a Michigan machined-pitch steel propeller and Duplex marine engine oil.

Delphine IX, Horace Dodge's British-built boat was a source of keen disappointment. She is a beautiful job of boat building and reminds one very strongly of Miss England II; in fact she was designed by the same naval Architect, Fred Cooper. Her Duesenberg engine, however, failed to stand up to the grueling test of a Gold Cup contest The race for the Dodge Memorial Trophy, which was figured to be a repetition of the Gold Cup struggle between El Lagarto and Delphine IV, was somewhat of a disappointment in that El Lagarto did not enter and the three heats turned out to be a parade between two of the Dodge entries both of which outclassed the veteran Hotsy Totsy. Detroit newspapers printed a story that Horace E. Dodge had insisted that the engine of El Lagarto be torn down after the Gold Cup race so that inspectors could check it and make certain that it came under the 625 cubic inch class limitations and that George Reis, complying with the requirements, was unable to get his engine in running shape again in the time intervening. This report, however, was immediately denied by Horace E. Dodge who stated that he had made no such request and that he had expected El Lagarto and other boats to compete in the Sunday races.

Naturally Horace E. Dodge was tremendously disappointed at the failure of his fleet to successfully defend the Gold Cup. He spent his money unstintingly to keep the race in Detroit and to say the least it wasn't very sporting for his home town papers to accuse him of such unsportsmanlike conduct. To our way of thinking it is much more reasonable to suppose that George Reis, pointing for the President's Trophy at Washington, and knowing that he would have a real race on his hands, decided to pass up the chance to win the Dodge Trophy and save his boat.

Be that as it may, the Dodge Trophy race merely turned out to be a pretty two-boat race between Delphine VII, driven by Horace E. Dodge and Delphine IV, driven by Bill Horn. In the first heat Delphine VII set the pace from start to finish and completed the 25-mile course in 25:08.25 to finish three seconds ahead of Delphine IV.

Hotsy Totsy, back in condition again after her mishap in the first heat of the Gold Cup race, did not show her expected speed and finished a mile or so behind the other two.

In the second heat Delphine IV stepped out and showed an average speed of 60.191 miles per hour and led Delphine VII across the finish line by about eight seconds. Hotsy Totsy was again third and even further behind than in the first heat.

The order was reversed in the third heat with Delphine VII taking the lead from start to finish and Delphine IV giving a very pretty exhibition of fancy wake riding and galloping. Hotsy Totsy did not start in the third heat. To the credit of the Dodge boats it must be said that the two Delphines IV and VII, both of which were built in the Dodge plant, showed remarkable consistency and reliability and seemed able to run wide open at all times. Two finer boats would be hard to find.

Gold Cup Summaries


Boat and Owner


M. P. H.


El Lagarto, George Reis




Delphine IV, Horace E. Dodge




Delphine IX, Horace E. Dodge




Delphine VII, Delphine D. Baker




Delphine VI, Horace E. Dodge

Did not finish

Hotsy-Totsy, Vic Kliesrath

Did not finish

Imp, Jack Rutherford

Did not finish

*Disqualified for cutting buoy on fifth lap.


El Lagarto

29 : 50



Delphine IV

29 : 56



Delphine VII




Delphine IX

Did not finish


Delphine IV




El Lagarto




Delphine VII




Delphine IX

Did not finish

El Lagarto 1161 points; Delphine IV, 1122 points; Delphine VII, 648 points. Delphine IV made a total race average of 60.277 miles per hour, a new record.

(Reprinted from Power Boating, October 1933)

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