Today Mecum Auctions updated their 2012 Kissimmee Auction website to include a very well written description of Miss America VIII and her Twin Supercharged Miller V-16 Racing Engines, which is scheduled to cross the auction block on Saturday, January 28th around 7:30 PM in Kissimmee, Florida. Here’s an excerpt from the Mecum Auction website…
Miss America VIII – The brainchild of Garfield Wood and designer Napoleon “Nap” Lisee was built in 1929 to be the fastest boat in the world, and was considered by many to be the very best. Prior to his passing, Lisee was quoted “the Eighth was the finest boat he [Gar Wood] ever built, barring none… That’s my masterpiece – the Eighth. It’s even better than the Tenth.” Gar Wood himself once said in remembering “Miss America VIII” – “She’s the best boat we ever had.”
Gar Wood’s men fitted the custom-built, supercharged 1,113-ci V-16 engines from Miller, with his sights set on more speed. Weighing much less than the Packard V-12s, the radical Millers saw testing in “America VIII” on the Harlem River in the fall of 1931, where it was clocked at 104 mph. Nothing short of revolutionary, the Millers were designed to rev to 6,000rpm when the racing Packards, like most high-performance engines of the day had a maximum rpm of 2,500. The comparatively lightweight Millers were putting out an estimated 1,800-hp each. These Miller V-16 engines were the last to power “Miss America VIII” for competition with Gar Wood at the wheel.
Recently reunited after 70 years apart, the hull and the special engines designed for it are hitting the Mecum Auction block in Kissimmee, Florida is an unprecedented event. Perhaps more miraculous than the fact that this extremely famous one-off race boat and one-off engines have survived the last 82 years, is the level of restoration the two have received. While the hull is not quite completed the engines are finished and sound incredible! Over 75% of the hull in “Miss America VIII” is the original wood, for a wooden race boat, this is remarkable.
A brief history of “Miss America VIII” and the introduction of the radical Miller racing engines, along with a series of photos is now on Mecum’s website, which you can see by clicking here. Very cool stuff.
(Miss America VIII images courtesy of Mecum Auctions)