1963 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan, July 7, 1963

Miss Bardahl Wins Coveted Gold Cup

Ex-Wing Boss Heads Powerboat Fund Drive
Miss Bardahl Wins Coveted Gold Cup
Musson Captures Gold Cup Race
Bardahl Cops the Gold Cup

Gold Cup Heat Results


Miss Bardahl, the green giant from Seattle with Ron Musson at the wheel, took the famous Gold Cup back to Seattle for owner Ole Bardahl by winning three heats in Detroit July 7, then coasting home second in the final heat.

It was like the Yankees failing to repeat to have the several-time winner Miss Thriftway watered down to the extent that, after winning her first heat, ended up the day in sixth place. Highly touted Bill Muncey had a rough afternoon.

Miss Bardahl was in command all of the way in a field of 12 top boats that emerged from 16 trying to qualify. Musson finished with a race average of 105 mph which would have been higher if he had been pressed. In 2A he averaged 109.489.

If you have never seen the worlds largest firehose stream, you’ve never seen a roostertail. The object is to stay out from under one, or at least not meet it headon. The rules say, in effect, no firehosing. But sometimes when you aren’t up there in front and you have to commit your play for the lead or resign yourself at the boat to a bumpy tail chase, you have to take your chances. That is the choice Bill Muncey made in 2A, the first face-to-face fuel between the fleet’s two fastest, Bardahl and Thriftway. Thriftway was trapped behind Bardahl and Tahoe Miss. There was something of a hole in the devastating stream and spray of water. He shot for it. Water by the gallons and the tons sloshed into Thriftway from the combined forces of the other two props. It was a thorough wetting. Thrifty went dead. The engine was changed for the next race, an act now allowed in the new streamlined Gold Cup rules which also cut the heats to 60 miles from 90. Later, with the new engine, he could never get the defending world champion going well. He had some other poor starts and less devastating roostertail wettings.

How They Finished










Gale V




Tahoe Miss




Notre Dame




Miss Exide












St. Regis




$ Bill (tie)




Blue Chip (tie)



US I and US5 did not score

The duel in the Detroit rain that shaped up thrillingly during qualifying, never came off. But the trials will still stand in the books and in memory as terrific preliminaries to the main event. Muncey opened up the qualifying with a new Detroit River record of 113.207. Bardahl took the course and upped it to 114.893. Muncey, now qualified, took Miss Thriftway back onto the course on another day and raised it to 116.463, considered all the more remarkable because of the new tear-shape of the Detroit course with one turn very tight.

There was no question that Miss Bardahl was a finely tuned boat for this prize-of-all Gold cup, nor that Musson ran a fine race. He did what he had to do and very well. In heat 2A he went all out for the lead and ended with a lap clocking of 114.650, never looking back for the threat that really wasn’t there after the first turn. The start is often the thing and Musson had fine starts all day, much to his credit. Each heat that they won, the field was licked before the Green Dragon had gone far.

It should be added that this was the $36,000 prize Gold Cup. Last year’s winner no longer takes it to his home club port. It goes up for bid. Detroit took the bid this year. With the cup coming home to Seattle for another year, will Greater Seattle make the big bid for 1964? That is the question.

(Reprinted from Sea and Pacific Motor Boat, September 1963, p.21)

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