Have you ever been fascinated by those glorious old Unlimited Hydroplanes from the 1950’s & 60’s with their huge fire breathing V-12 aircraft engines and lightning fast speed as they challenged for the prestigious Gold Cup back in the day? Well now is your chance to actually own one of those monsters thanks to our friends at eBay.
Earlier today we received an e-mail from fellow Woody Boaters Marten and Theresa Anderson to let us know about this classic hydroplane that is currently listed on eBay – But if you want it, you have to act fast, because the bidding ends on Monday morning.
According to the eBay listing, this rare Unlimited Hyroplane was purchased from Builder and original Owner Bob Gilliam about 20 years ago and has been in covered storage since then. It was originally raced by Bob Gilliam under the name of FASCINATION and although she appears (from the sellers photos – below) to need a complete restoration, it’s certainly a “One-Of-A-Kind” vintage hydroplane with some documented history.
I should mention that you also might need to find a vintage 3,000 HP Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12 engine to replace the one she originally used back in the day, but the our friends from Canada who are restoring MISS CANADA IV have proven that those old Rolls-Royce Merlins & Griffons are still available out there (for a price).
THE COCKPIT WAS CRAMPED, but a somewhat pudgy Bob Gilliam managed to settle behind the wheel of his brand-new hydroplane, prepared for her maiden test on Lake Washington. The name painted on the boat was KOLroy I, but FASCINATION was her name in spirit. Sponsor KOL was the hot rock’n roll radio station in town.
In 1961 in a preliminary Seafair Trophy heat, Bob Gilliam pushed FASCINATION past Bill Muncey’s Miss Century 21. (Unsponsored, Gilliam had returned to his favored name.) For a lap and a half, he held Muncey at bay with his bubble-gum and bailing-wire boat. U-88 never won a Gold Cup, but it never lacked believers. – Lesliefield.com
How about this idea while we are on the subject of FASCINATION… If you act fast (fascinatingly fast), you can grab this vintage Unlimited Hydro tomorrow from eBay, take it over to your favorite wooden boat restorer, place an order for a vintage Rolls-Royce Merlin from England and with a little dough and a little cooperation from your restorer, you could have this classic Unlimited Hydroplane ready to debut at the big “100 Years of Racing” show hosted by the Toronto ACBS Chapter in Gravenhurst, Ontario this July. It would be a FASCINATING experience and you would be considered a hero by your fellow Woody Boaters at the lake!
Here’s the link to the FASCINATION listing on eBay for all the info on this One-Of-A-Kind vintage hydroplane. Right now the highest bid is at $2,194.00.
Thanks to our friends at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Seattle, WA and Kirk Pagel for providing the vintage 1961 photo of FASCINATION on Lake Washington.
Good Luck – Texx