Back in 1978, Dave Knowlen designed the future "cathedral" wing hydroplanes that became the 1979 "The Squire Shop" and "Circus Circus".
But did you know.......
Bernie Little was actually slated to be the first owner of these new designs from Norberg Custom Boats, and it was originally designed to run with a Rolls-Royce "Griffon" engine.
If I remember the story correctly, it goes something like this...
Bernie had agreed to purchase this new Knowlen designed hull, but he didn't put any money down on it. Mr. Knowlen was still shopping his design around, and Bob Steil decided to buy the new boat and became the first customer. When Bernie found out, he immediately contacted Mr. Knowlen and his business partner Norm Berg and stated that he still wanted the boat..........but that he wouldn't come in second to anyone. Dave informed Bernie that he would be 2nd in the build order, so he withdrew. Shortly afterward, Bill Bennett of Circus Circus Casino's bought a Norberg hull as well, and now Bernie would be third in line if he decided to buy one.
Bernie ultimately went with the "Juggernaught" Ron Jones designed hull instead........and the rest is history.
However, there is proof out there that Bernie was serious enough that a deal was almost reached...........see the pictures from the 1979 Miss Budweiser team program to see for yourself.
Progress may appear to be going slow at this point, but it what you don't see is really moving forward. We are currently getting ready take all the main structural pieces we glued together and start building the hull frame. You see see some real progress here in a couple weeks. Don Mock and his Atlas teammates have been working on the plug for the new horizontal stabilizers..............they even built a wood caliper tool to measure it.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to write a story summarizing up how the 1979 "The Squire Shop" hull restoration project began and where we are today...............no easy task. For those already familiar with this website, that information was already on there.............but UNJ wanted to compile it all into one complete story to showcase on their website for even more exposure and appeal.
I was happy to do this for them, and here is what I came up with. This is the feature story of their 2017 January issue (just released yesterday) and you can find both the online and printable FILE versions below (or on the above tab in the menu).
A couple of weeks ago on December 10th, the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum celebrated 2016 with their annual winter Meeting & Holiday Dinner. The museum recognized each restoration team "crew chief" for their contributions, and "The Squire Shop" team was no different. I was in attendance and was called up to the floor to represent in place of our crew chief Tim Ramsay, who was unable to attend.
Bob Steil even flew up from California to be there, and he was pleased with the progress the team has been making so far.
After taking the past two weeks off for the winter holiday, we're back and ready to keep going!
A few of the team members decided to keep working during the break, and they are ready to begin restoring the boat. It is possible that we may finish up with the hull construction by this time next year, so keep your fingers crossed!
The team has started building the jigs for the engine stringers, and you can compare them to the originals in the pictures below.......then and now.
We will start with building the bottom of the hull first (upside down), as this is the traditional way of building doing things.
If you have ever wanted to learn how to build a vintage hydroplane, now is the time to do it....................come on down and join the team!