As the repairs are nearly complete on the engine cowling, Brad Haskin's focus is now being transitioned over to the drivers cowling. But first, a history lesson is in order.
To the best of our knowledge, there was only 1 Circus Circus drivers cowling ever made. The original Squire Shop one burned up and was replaced with an exact duplicate from the same mold.
The 2nd Squire Shop cowling was destroyed from the crash in 1981.
The 3rd and final Squire Shop cowling was used on the teams display boat (which was the former U-55 Lincoln Thrift)
The original Circus Circus drivers cowling is the one we have and will repair/restore. It was used later on the U-77 Spirit of the Air Force and the U-2 The Squire Shop (final race of the 1981 season only) before being cutup and made into a plug for a new narrower mold.
There is even evidence on the cowling today that shows all versions of paint schemes,so we can confirm this is the one that originated from the Circus Circus.
Below, you will see the cowling that was narrowed, as well as made taller (eliminating most of the windshield areas).
The flashing on the bottom perimeter would later be cut off and bonded to the deck. This new cowling still exists today on the Circus Circus hull.
Here is the condition of the cowling once we obtained possession of it a couple years ago.
And here is how it looks today, as Brad Haskin and the gang have just started tearing back into it!
We got our first media exposure yesterday from our friends over at KNDU in the Tri-Cities, who posted online a short story on the restoration. Brad Haskin, Steve Compton, and John Watkins represented the team very well...............and I'm glad they got some much deserved attention and recognition for their efforts!
You can find the link to the story and video below, just copy and paste it into your browser. Also, there is the YouTube video below as well.
Hey guys, I through a quick compilation gallery together to show where we started and where we are today.
There is a very brief highlight of the progress we've made so far, which is still fun to reflect back upon.
The gallery shows the initial build back in 1979, the different hull configurations over its racing career, as a "retired" static display, the demolition stages, and progress on the engine cowling and stabilizers.
This weeks update was a journey into discovery, or should I say unraveling a mystery of sorts. Also, update #20 is now posted as well. Be sure to check out the photo and video galleries as well.
I mentioned last week that we had found the (long thought "lost") original vertical stabilizers from what appears to be both 1979 The Squire Shop and Circus Circus hulls. What we didn't know 100% though was which parts were originally from what boat?
during our research, we could make a argument for each set for each boat.....................so we knew this was NOT going to be easy.
The problem we had in front of us was that all the evidence we collected pointed to there being a "3rd" set of Norberg vertical stabilizer skins built...............but everyone we contacted about this mysterious "3rd set" claims there were only 2 built. We contacted former crew members from both hulls, and they all said they each only had 1 set built for each hull.
However, we had evidence in front of us that shows there had to be a 3rd set.........there was no other explanation we could come up with. We have the original 1979 Circus Circus skins for the vertical stabilizers in the museum right now.........so try to follow along with us on this one.
As we started sanding away some of the layers of paint on the Z-9 horizontal wing tonight, we were hoping to find evidence that this wing came from The Squire Shop. There are a few key features we were looking for that were exclusive to The Squire Shop's set.............but it became clear to us that this wing had to come from the Circus Circus. One key piece of crucial evidence that coincides with this theory is the existence of "another" set of vertical stabilizers, which appear to have also come from the Circus Circus. But how is that possible if there were only 2 sets built (one for each Norberg hull)?
This "other"set is still painted up in the Z-9 paint scheme configuration, which is an exact match to the previously identified Z-9 horizontal wing (Circus Circus), but that would make them a duplicate set...........right?
Here's the problem with that theory......................the U-77 "Spirit of the Air Force" of 1981. If we have the Circus Circus skins, then what did the U-77 use for their version?
Note: The U-77 bought the Circus Circus hull in 1981, repainted it, and then showed up for one race in Evansville where it did not start.
We know for a fact they didn't use The Squire Shop's set, because The Squire Shop team reused their set when they bought the U-77 as a replacement the the one they crashed on Lake Washington.
So here's our final analysis...................the Circus Circus either built a backup/replacement set (possible), the Spirit of the Air Force team built a new set, or Norberg Custom Boats had a spare set available (doubtful).
You be the judge.............perhaps someday we'll finally solve this mystery once and for all.
So here is what we have for photo evidence of all known hull versions these "cathedral" wings were used on.
1) U-31 "Circus Circus" (1979-1980) 2) U-2 "The Squire Shop" (1979-1981) 3) U-77 "Spirit of the Air force (1981) 4) U-21 "Miss Island Security Systems (1984) 5) U-7 "Miss Horizon Air" (1986) 6) U-2 "The Squire Shop" display hull (originally built as the U-55 Lincoln Thrift) 7) Z-9 "Miss Canada II (1991)
If you love a good mystery, then this is right up your alley...........hydroplane style.
The engine cowling repairs continue, and the team is starting to work on the frames. We get closer every day to building the jig and starting to put this hull back together again.
We're also working on a very promising lead concerning the original vertical stabilizers.............which to our surprise, do still exist!
We'll let you know if were able to track them down and add them to the restoration. These are the final key pieces we need to do a complete authentic restoration of the hull itself, and we will make every effort to acquire them.
Brad Haskin just revealed his footage of what may be the last pictures ever taken of this cowling before being scrapped. These pictures have been added to the "Treasure Hunters" page, where Brad explains in detail what likely happened to them.
Check out our latest update, with pictures and a video tour!
I added a new page to the website, for all you history buffs and "technical" fans out there. It's called "Treasure Hunters", and it is a page dedicated to those "lost" or "missing" parts from both the 1979 "The Squire Shop" and "Circus Circus" hulls.
Worth a look.................perhaps you can help us solve a mystery or two?
If you have anything to add to these "mysteries", shoot me an email. If you want to help us try to track any of these things down, contact us and we'll see how we can help.