But as fate would have it, we have just been provided with new information on whatever became of the “original” drivers cowling…………the one that burned a year earlier in 1980.
If you look at the pictures shortly after the team returned home to Seattle, you can see that the rear of the cowling itself has melted away from the extreme heat from the fire…………………and what you see is all that was left of the cowling afterwards.
As far as any of us knew (including interviews with former crew members), it was believed that this particular cowling was scrapped by the team and gone forever.
We were wrong…………………
It survived, and we can trace its path up until at least the early/mid 90’s. I was forwarded an email from Bob Senior yesterday from a gentleman by the name of Larry Riksford. Larry tells the story something like this…
“My friend Mike Miner and I acquired this particular cowling from a guy in Kenmore a long time ago. It was the cowling that burned in 1980. It was the whole front cowling & sides still intact, with several melted sections on it from the fire. The cowling piece was big & hard to haul around.
The guy Mike and I got it from had nothing to do with hydroplanes, but I think he did some work at Tad Dean’s shop. He then told us we could have it and to come pick it up. Mike and I then put in the back of a pickup truck and took it to Tacoma.
The melted cowling remains were stored in Mr. Miner’s backyard on top of a rowboat for quite a few years, and then it eventually found its way to Leslie “Bud” Green’s attic in his garage. What became of it after that I do not really know unfortunately?
Mr. Green had the cowling shortly before obtaining the hull (U-7 Thor Racing), and he had picked up a hauler from the Pacific Fish Company, which I believe was painted orange and white. Bud had hopes to haul the boat around with it at some point, but things didn't quite work out as planned for him. The cowling was stored in the back of this hauler. Eventually, the hauler truck was sold (to someone in either Burien or White Center)……with the cowling still in it.
That was the last the cowling was ever seen again….”
So there you have it folks, the cowling survived the fire and was NOT scrapped by the crew shortly afterwards. I suppose it’s still possible that it could still be out there, and even slimmer that we can actually find it if it does…………..but luck has a way of finding us on this project now doesn’t it?
A true "needle in the haystack".
So there you go, put your detective shoes on and see if YOU can help us in tracking this cowling down. It would look similar to the pictures below, so you will know if you see it somewhere.
This is the actual original cowling from the boat, so we would love to get it back if it still exists.
Good luck and happy hunting!