As many of our regular viewers here at Woody Boater know, since early 2011 we have been following the remarkable restoration of Miss Canada IV – the famous, record setting Greavette multi-step hydroplane which was originally designed by Douglas Van Patten and built in the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario, Canada in 1949.
At his shop in Port Carling, Ontario (not far from where the boat was first built over 60 years ago) restoration expert Tom Adams and the Miss Canada IV restoration team are now entering the home stretch of this huge project. Which includes fitting the V-12 Griffon…
The task of re-installing (shoe-horning) the massive 3,000 HP supercharged Roll-Royce Griffon V-12 engine and running gear is one thing… but installing the engine and components so the vintage hydroplane can once again be used and exhibited in a safe manner is quite another thing. And that’s the commitment that Tom Adams and the Miss Canada IV restoration team have made to the project.
The Miss Canada IV restoration project and Canadian Premiere of the Harold & Lorna movie last summer has generated a great deal of buzz in the Muskoka Lakes region recently. Restoration team member Harry Wilson notes –
At a race boat history meeting in Gravenhurst last week, Joe Fossey produced this wonderful poster (shown above) from 1954, placed in Toronto Transit buses and streetcars to advertise the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) boat races that year. An interesting bit of history; this was the 1st-ever commercial sports event staged in Toronto on a Sunday. Intense lobbying of Mayor Nathan Phillips and City Council resulted in a change to existing City of Toronto by-laws in order to stage this event.
Oh, the glory days of racing… We are going to get them back, somehow. I can tell you that the meeting in Gravenhurst was at the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre, chaired by curator Ann Curley. We had a round table of some considerable talent, all throwing ideas out about the major race boat exhibit MBHC will putting together for the summer of 2013. Obviously, we will be using the official re-launch of Miss Canada IV on the July 6-7 ACBS Toronto weekend as a centrepiece. The theme of that show is great vintage raceboats. – Harry Wilson
Late last week we received this press release from Executive Director Jamie Smith to update us on the Miss Canada IV restoration project.
Miss Canada IV Nears Completion… Almost
By Jamie Smith October 28th, 2012
The Restoration Team has had a very busy summer and fall, as evidenced by my lack of communicating with our many “project friends”. I apologize and will try and stay more current as we work toward finishing Miss Canada IV and delivering her to Bobby Genovese next June.
The Restoration Team had planned on a one day in-water test in November. However the plan has been postponed to next spring so that the many challenges of installing the Griffon engine – running systems, gauges, wiring etc. – can be completed without the pressure of getting the boat into the water before the temperature drops and rain turns to snow.
It was a tough decision to postpone until the spring because we all wanted to see the boat run, hear the engine and know that our work was OK. We are so close to being able to run the boat, but as David Williams, our coach from the Hydroplane and Race Boat Museum counseled; “But please do not lose sight of the fact that this is a very powerful machine and even a small oversight at this stage can have deadly consequences … I’m not trying to throw cold water on the project, but I just want to make sure that you keep the very real risks in mind and that even as you work hard to hit your target date, you also keep safety your foremost concern”. Wise counsel indeed!
Some pictures from recent work on Miss Canada IV
This picture was taken in early October after the engine mounts were attached and the engine fixed to the original stringers in the boat. The engine had to be removed from the boat several times to allow items such as engine mounts, air box for the supercharger, coupling & shaft and exhaust manifolds to be fitted prior to final installation.
There is every reason to believe that the decking structure was built around the engine because the clearance of the hatches and the centre structure leave no room to spare! In fact the boat frequently ran without the hatches as suggested by the World Record attempt run and other pictures.
In my last communique I told the story about finding Five New Friends. Many of you dug into the annals of history to help identify those we didn’t know in the picture. Fred Petsura, a friend of Alan Cranfield, and Lorraine MacNab, wife of the late Ron McNabb and grandmother of ACBS Toronto member Tom Wright, identified them as follows:
Sitting in the front row, from the left, are Jeff Emery, Bert Hurst, Len Barnes, Bert Miller and Cecil Schell. Doug Van Patten is in white, seated beside Tom Greavette. The man standing on the left is Ron McNabb. We still don’t know
the name of the man standing on the right in the vest.
We now know whose handwriting appears on the envelope containing the remnants of the good-luck clovers. Tom Wright’s mother, Maureen, has identified the writing as none other than her great grandmothers who had a passion for four leaf clovers; Saidie Greavette, wife of Tom Greavette. Thank goodness for friends… another find!
More pictures from recent work on Miss Canada IV
More to come soon! That’s a promise – Jamie Smith.
For additional information, contact: Jamie Smith, Restoration Team Coordinator – [email protected]
The following online resources provide in-depth historical information, slide shows, the movie trailer and updates on the restoration of Miss Canada IV:
We are looking forward to the day when the ignition switch is turned on, the vintage gauges power up and the Roll-Royce Griffon in Miss Canada IV roars to life once again.