Hey gang, the team has been doing a lot on the hull and engines lately, though there's really not much to see that's clearly noticeable as of late. We have been dealing with part shortages and the less glorified detail work, but were progressing along well. The engine cowling should be having the mold made this upcoming weekend, and Brad is currently working on the vertical stabilizer skins. Before you know it, we'll be splicing in the driver cowling pieces we have to make one complete unit.
The team was recently notified about the existence of one of the Squire Shop's drivers cowlings, which we confirmed was from the teams display hull in the 80's (U-55 Lincoln Thrift hull).
We are doing our best to try and acquire it for the restoration project and we will let you know if we do. But for now, here's what it looks like currently. The "missing" back half exists as well, it's just not shown in the pictures.
Also, check out the "Treasure Hunters" page for our latest "original parts" updates, fyi.
Update #63 has been posted, which is just a few pictures from a couple days ago at the Hydroplane & Raceboat museums annual "Hydro Fever" event. It was during this event that the team "borrowed" a totaled engine from the Ed Karelson designed and built Miss Budweiser hull. This engine was used to help line up the engine mounts/rails to ensure proper alignment and accuracy.
The interesting part in this is that back in 1978, Bernie Little was supposed to be first in line for the new Norberg hull, but failed to make a down payment securing his spot. It was only after Bob Steil (The Squire Shop) and Bill Bennett (Circus Circus) has reserved their boats that Bernie was told he would be third in line behind them. Mr. little didn't like that one bit, and refused to be third place to anyone........and decided to by the Ron Jones designed hull instead...............which would become the "Griffon" Miss Budweiser.
So this is in fact the closest this Squire Shop hull has ever come to being a Miss Budweiser, since its engine was sitting in the hull's belly.......if only for a brief moment in time.
The team has been working hard, but progress to the casual observer looks like were moving slowly...........not true. What your not seeing in the pictures is all the small details that are associated with all the hardware and systems that are being installed out of view.
John has been working on multiple fittings, hoses, brackets.......you name it. Brad is still at it with the "cathedral" wing repairs, with Tim and Steve utilizing their talents and experience on rebuilding the Merlin engine. And the rest of the team is doing what they can.....where they can. The drivers cowling now up at the U-11 shop getting ready to be molded too.
I know......I know.......the updates have been a little slow on this blog, but that will be changing soon. Our restoration Facebook page has slowly been turning into the source for latest news, while this website is mostly used for historical reference and tidbits from The Squire Shop's racing career.
So on that note, the "Treasure Hunters" section has been upgraded with a ton more information. You will learn about all the external components to the 1979 Squire Shop hull we are incorporating back in to the project, as well as the fate of those we don't have at our disposal.
I encourage you all to take a look, I promise you will learn something you may not have known about.
Sorry for the delay guys, but I lost my camera data cable and was unable to download the latest rounds of restoration pictures and videos to my CPU. I just got a new cable and I updated the restoration pages to reflect our current progress.
As we wind down 2018, we look forward to finishing this project up in 2019................for the hulls 40th Anniversary this summer!
Today's update is to show you guys the fate of the U-65 Squire Shop II, which was originally built in 1974 as the U-55 Lincoln Thrift. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, our team was unsuccessful in its attempts to acquire the original 1979 trailer for our restoration project……….so we are forced to consider alternatives. One such prospect is the trailer that is currently under the Lincoln Thrift hull today, which is still the very one the team used when it was the Squire Shop II back in 1978.
You can find current pictures of the hull, the trailer, and the truck that is currently attached to them in the photo gallery (retired) section. I have a restoration update next week too, so keep checking back.
Here's something that was pretty well known at the time (1987), but may not be so remembered today. I'm talking about the Squire Shop's last hauler, which was used in the team final season in 1986.
Bob Steil decided to retire from the sport and sold the entire team to his crew chief Jim Harvey. While Jim was on route to the first race of the season in Miami (under new OH Boy! Oberto sponsorship), the hauler caught on fire and the hull and trailer luckily escaped serious damage. However, the hauler and all the tools, engines, and other equipment inside were a total loss. And to make matters worse, Jim did not have any of it insured yet!
Here are some pictures of that fire, which nearly ended Jim's ownership career before it had even gotten started.
This is by far the hardest and most depressing post I’ve ever had to make concerning the restoration project, as this has been the most exhausting and challenging obstacle I’ve been trying to overcome since we began this project back in 2013. I have devoted a TON of research and time to do my absolute best to make this happen, but it just wasn’t meant to be at this time.
Who knows what the future holds though…
As you know, the team has been pretty successful is acquiring as many original parts to the hull as we possibly could over that time frame. Unfortunately, there were individuals and factors involved that were out of our control and we came up short on one specific critical piece to the project yesterday (after nearly 1 year of tough negotiations and pure perseverance). I’m talking about the original 1979 Squire Shop trailer, which was built brand new by Service Welding and for the 1979 Squire Shop hull specifically. It has been “retired” since the early 90's and the current owner finally decided to part with it after numerous inquiries with them over this past year.
I will not disclose any specific details that resulted in us coming up short in acquiring the trailer, but I will say this………………..we were 99.9% close on making it happen. We struck a deal with the current owner to not only purchase the trailer, but their teams truck/hauler as well.
The plan was to refurbish both the truck and trailer to Squire Shop colors and graphics, which would have been the final key pieces to the restoration puzzle for us. We had secured a business partner to buy the hull that currently sits on top of the trailer as well as part of the deal (with funding in place), and we were working out the pickup arrangements as recent as a couple weeks ago. That however didn’t exactly happen as we expected, and at the end of the day…………….our business partner decided to buy everything for themselves and we ended up with NOTHING.
That being said, all we can do as a team is keep moving forward………………as we will use our frustration as motivation for future challenges. But right now, it really stings and we feel betrayed to say the least by the tactics used by others and what we thought were firm commitments already in place.
So what’s next for us you ask, we still need a trailer…………..right?
Well, we have to continue on and find an alternate trailer that will play the part instead. We have a few options in mind, with the original 1979 “Circus Circus” trailer at the top of the list. We have a pretty good idea where it is and we are in the process of contacting the current owner to see if that trailer is even an option for us to pursue further. The good news is that we don’t believe it's currently being used under a boat right now in the active fleet, so that surely helps in terms of the current owner entertaining the idea of possibly letting it go.
Time will tell, but I’ll let you all know once we’ve figure it all out. Ironically enough, that Circus Circus trailer was used as a Squire Shop trailer in its career at some point (1982-1986)……………..so it still “qualifies” per say.
I've posted update #53 and made a few changes and additions to the website. I've completely overhauled the photo galleries, mostly stuff from the actual teams racing history. Not only did I categorize everything so it's easier to find stuff, but I added a ton more content covering all eras from The Squire Shop's history.
You will also find pictures of the companies picnics, employees, and retail stores..............in case you want a trip back down memory lane.
As for the racing teams, I've added pictures from the Lincoln Thrift/Squire (1977/1978), the Miss Vernor's/Squire (1978), the Circus/Squire (1982-1983), and the Atlas/Squire (1984-1986). Over 1000 pictures have been added, so revisit the photo galleries and see what you've missed.
The "Honor Roll" is a feature that can be found in the restoration section, and it is our way of showing appreciation for some of the people involved in the 1979-1981 Squire Shop's racing teams past. We have selected 26 people who we wanted to recognize in a very special way, and on that page you will see how we did it.
I will add a diagram of the hull shortly that will show where each person's hull piece was located and installed. Be sure to check it out!
Until next time gang...
September 1981 (pickup and delivery of the former U-77 "Spirit of the Air Force" hull to become the new Squire Shop)