Beast of a Machine

Curtiss-Smith V-12
Among the many stunningly delicious boats at the Tahoe show was this monster-motor in Miss Detroit III, first piloted (to victory) by Gar Wood himself and then removed put into storage – and the hull lost to damage. Now resurrected in painstaking detail and at excruciating cost within a new hull – the original 1918 Gold Cup winner… They cranked it up just to let the rubes watch the valve tappets pop and hear the stomach-churning roar of the coffee-can sized cylinders. It was religious.
Thank-you Mr. Moneybags-Whoever for this as fine a service to mechanical-humanity as could possibly ever be done, in the water as in flight, amen. Those rich-racin’ rum-runners knew the biz, and a V-12 Liberty powered launch was there as well as a slew of other mahogany mega-fauna of the boatistic variety, including this Jaguar-powered wood-shop refugee:
mahogany mega-fauna
There were more miles of polished mahogany and exotic wood than in a dozen flooring show-rooms. Next year’s select-featured hors d’oeuvres will be the really big V’s, including a couple V-16’s I believe…
Just. Stunning.

About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

7 thoughts on “Beast of a Machine

  1. It sort of looks like hotrodding may have actually started with small boats. Don’t have to wait for good roads to be built, or design suspensions and brakes. Just stuff a big motor into a smallish boat, and race!

    In the early 70’s, my dad acquired a 17′ boat, with a 318 cu in Chrysler v8 4bbl. I think it was the first iteration of the water skiing performance boats. I was told it was designed for the Cyprus Gardens multiple-skier shows. Certainly seemed geared for towing a dozen skiers. Topped out about 55mph @5k rpm. Just me in it, from a dead start, by the time the throttle reached it’s limit, so did the boat. Fun to run around in. When you cranked the wheel over, it banked near 90 degrees, and turned RIGHT NOW. Get it up on plane, and it made no wake, but idle through the docking areas, and it would bounce every boat there. Huge wake then. Coast Guard raised hell with him when they saw dad run through the anchorage around 25mph. He turned around and proceeded to demonstrate the slow wake to them, and they decided he was correct, much to their disgust, and envy 🙂

    Builder was Correct Craft.


    • I get the feeling a lot of European value is determined by rich density – real-estate of every level, location, location..etc. This big old giant-pot visible-spring tappety-tappety rpm-maker is kinda to open-field for the crammed-in, thick layered complexity of a Porsche or Audi. Also you can hide a lot of faults by concealing it beneath layers and “complexity” – IMHO complexity is to engineering what tan-bark is to landscaping.


  2. It’s on YouTube, ya know. (Is there anything that isn’t?) As a general case, I’m a fan of taking old aircraft engines and using them to make things go fast. Probably the craziest realization thereof I’ve seen is the radial engine motorcycle.


    • Radial-motor bikes are just nuts! And of the “Curtiss-Smith V-12,” only this one was ever built, and it was made by stacking four Curtiss Model V-4 motors together, with further extensive modifications to the carburation method (updraft carbs) and intake manifolds…. In the 1919 Season the boat was re-powered by a Liberty V-12.


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