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.