World Record for Prop-Driven Hulls to Miss Thriftway [1960]

Northwest mariners who thought of using February as a yawning, stretching, rib-scratching period of lazy awakening from winter hibernation found themselves jolted into the dawn of the 1960 boating season by the thundering roar of the unlimited hydroplane Miss Thriftway.

On February 16, driver Bill Muncey, owner Willard Rhodes, designer Ted Jones and the Thriftway crew lowered the boat into Seattle's Lake Washington. Naturally, the application of this cold substance to the hull bottom of any young lady would make a noisy alarm clock of her, but Miss Thriftway reacted in typical hydro fashion.

First she wept. (In the still morning air the pulsating whine of an unlimited starter sounds like the misery-laden keening of a sick baby.) Then she rumbled into her low-pitched roar of Rolls Royce life, assumed a planing attitude and woke the world to the fact that she could travel 192.001 mph through the timing traps of a measured mile. This speed broke the previous mile record of 187.627 set in 1957 by Jack Regas in Hawaii Kai on the same water.

The Kai's kilometer record of 195.325 didn't fall, however, for reasons too detailed for inclusion in a short report. The explanation involves such a discussion of straight-away record-run strategy, prop set-up, gear ratios, north-to-south, versus south-to-north runs, placement of the kilo within the mile, placement of the mile itself, and time-clock and the speedometer reading, that the plausible sounds implausible, and a cowardly retreat from the present muttered confusion is the greater valor at this point.

A Detroit unlimited owner has already publicly questioned the legality of the run, knowledgeable observers have doubted aloud that the boat was performing to capacity, others imprudently have depreciated the run, and the much-anticipated 200-mile mark was not even nudged. The result of the above shrouds the run in sour clouds of anti-climax and leaves one wondering why carefully planned and executed achievement must invariably include the taste of the ashes.

Nevertheless, a new world record for propeller-driven hulls now stands. Congratulations are due Rhodes, Muncey, Jones and Miss Thriftway's crew. Squawkers are advised that the 192.001 is a free target, courtesy of the Thriftway team.

--- Eileen Crimmin

(Reprinted from Motorboating April 1960)

[Thanks to Valerie Collins (Boatkitten) for help in preparing this page. —LF]


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