HELLZAPOPPIN II – A Radical John Goodhue Designed Race Boat From 1949
In the May 1949 issue of MOTOR BOATING they published a review of the upcoming race boat season, highlighted by the prestegeous Gold Cup series. The story started like this –
New Speed Boats Building for Greatest Racing Season.
With the start of the racing season rapidly approaching, the rumors are flying thick and fast about the new boats being built and the improvements being made on the old ones. Space does not allow a discussion of all the classes, so this will be confined to the Gold Cup and Harmsworth classes and a little about the Around Manhattan contenders. – Motor Boating, May 1949.
The story included famous racing names like Henry Kaiser, Danny Arena, Guy Lombardo, and Stanley Dollar among others. They even reference the new Miss Canada IV Greavette factory challenger from Ontario, Canada with a 2700 h.p. V-12 Griffin Rolls-Royce engine – a boat that has been well documented here at Woody Boater.
Also among the list of 1949 Gold Cup contenders in the May 1949 MOTOR BOATING review was this single sentence:
John Goodhue of East Braintree, Massachusetts, is reported to be constructing a new Gold Cup contender of his own design to be powered with an air-cooled engine.
The John Goodhue Jr. designed race boat named HELLZAPOPPIN II unfortunately never made to the Gold Cup races in 1949. Then in 1950 the radically designed race boat was put away in storge, out of the publc eye for over 60 years until Mike Michaud from Michaud’s Inboard Marine recently acquired HELLZAPOPPIN II from John Goodhue III, the designers son.
Mike Michaud is the fellow who, together with Bill John from The Vintage Race Boat Shop, built the MISS DETROIT III replica race boat that we have also been following here at Woody Boater. The development of the MISS DETROIT III replica is well documented on The Vintage Race Boat Shop website, Click Here to see more.
Mike’s next project is the restoration of HELLZAPOPPIN II which is scheduled for later this year.
Mike commented: “Texx – We finally were able to aquire HELLZAPOPPIN II from John Goodhue III, the son of the builder. Folks have been trying to buy this boat since it was put into storage around 1950-ish. I’ll forward an article clip that describes the boat being built for the Gold Cup Races in 1948-49, however a series of unfortunate incidence’s kept it from ever being in a race, but what a contender!”
“Look at that radical bottom design and it has an out-board rudder with a built in hydrofoil as well. John removed it and no one knows why, but our plan is to restore her in 2013. It’s the wildest thing I’ve ever seen! Attached are a couple more photos, including one shot of the unique bottom design.” – Mike Michaud
John Goodhue Jr designed HELLZAPOPPIN II to be powered by a 773 Cubic Inch displacement Ranger Model V-770 / V-12 air cooled engine which produced 520 hp at 3,150 rpm. The Ranger V-770 was an American air-cooled inverted Vee aero-engine developed by the Ranger Aircraft Engine Division of the Fairchild Engine & Aircraft Corporation in the early 1930s.
The latest version of the Ranger Model V-770 was produced from 1941 to 1945, which featured a two-piece aluminum alloy crankcase, steel barreled cylinders with integral aluminum alloy fins and aluminum alloy heads. The V-770 was one of very few V-type, in-line, air-cooled engines to reach production. The engine was used in a relatively small number of Army Air Forces aircraft, among them the Fairchild AT-21 twin-engine trainer of which approximately 175 were built, and in the two Bell XP-77s. (Ranger V-770 info courtesy Wikipedia)
John Goodhue Jr’s radical race hull design, built specifically for the lightwieght 730 LB supercharged V-770 Ranger. (According to the later version V-770 specifications, they were supercharged, and I am assuming that’s what the giant pully is on top in the photo… It’s kind of unusual to be looking at the bottom of the engine from the top of the boat. I can’t even begin to guess how the oiling system works. Or where the exhaust pipe exits – Texx)
Here’s some history on John Goodue Jr. from his son John Goodhue III.
John Goodhue Jr. – B. 1904 | D. 1974
My Father – Land developer, Master boat builder, tanker captain for City Service. Owned boat yards in Weymouth and Braintree, MA. We moved back to N.H. in 1948 after WW II. He started Goodhue Boat Yard in 1950, located where the N.H. Marine Patrol is now. He built hundreds of boats for the government and the private sector.
Hellzapoppin II was built at the Weymouth Yard in 1946. John was the builder and designer. By-the-way, Hellzapoppin I was an 18′ Higgins with a 12 cylinder Scripps.
John Goodhue III (That’s me) B.1943 – still alive at least for awhile longer I hope.
Yard Superintendant at GBY in Gilford and asst. yard superintendent at Broward Marine, Ft. Lauderdale until 1973. Got into Real Estate on Lake Winnipesaukee in 1973. Been doing this ever since.
Special thanks to Mike Michaud for sharing this story with us today, and we are looking forward to seeing some updates of HELLZAPOPPIN II during the restoration process and the final build when she’s completed.
Also thanks to fellow Woody Boater Ike Kielgass (from Miss Detroit III) for first bringing Mike’s barn find race boat project to our attention. Ike works closely with the nice folks from the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Seattle, Washington who are a pleasure to be associated with. I am now a proud member of the museum and visit their huge website often to learn more about the history of powerboat racing. You can check it out by Clicking Here.
Below we have included an excerpt from that 1949 MOTOR BOATING review of the upcoming racing season, as it’s cool to see many of the famous racers names, race boat designers and race boats from 1949. There’s some very impressive names here.
This is a re-print courtesy of the www.lesliefield.com / Lesliefield’s Hydroplanes History website. To see the entire story you can Click Here to go directly to the story on the Hydroplanes History site.
1949 Preview [May 1949 Motor Boating]
New Speed Boats Building for Greatest Racing Season
With the start of the racing season rapidly approaching, the rumors are flying thick and fast about the new boats being built and the improvements being made on the old ones. Space does not allow a discussion of all the classes, so this will be confined to the Gold Cup and Harmsworth classes and a little about the Around Manhattan contenders.
If the following reports really develop and the boats actually show up at race time, there will be some hot competition this year. Here are a few of the reports:
Henry Kaiser is having built at the Ventnor Boat Works, two new boats. One is a 28-foot Gold Cupper to be powered with an Allison V-12 motor, 1710 cu. in, model E-135, and the other is a 32-footer, 11-foot 8-inch beam, powered with a “W” Allison engine of 3420 cu. in., developing approximately 3000 h.p. This big job is designed for the Harmsworth Trophy race and is rather unique in design and construction, having twin screws running in opposite rotation. Present indications are that Guy Lombardo will drive this Harmsworth contender and will try for a new world record in the near future. It is Mr. Kaiser’s plan to have these boats participate in most of the outstanding regattas this year.
Danny Arena is building a new Gold Cup boat for Jack Schafer of Detroit, owner of Such Crust. This will be a three-point hull, powered with an Allison motor.
Guy Lombardo is almost ready to try out his Tempo VI. which has been rebuilt since its crack-up at Detroit in the Gold Cup last year. The boat will probably be faster than ever.
In Essington, Pa., a new 50-foot boat is being built for a Mr. Rafferty. It will be powered by three Packard engines and has been especially designed for breaking the world record. This boat is expected to surpass 160 m.p.h.
Joe Van Blerck of Freeport will be a real Gold Cup contender this year as he is teaming up the former Gold Cupper Grey Goose which he purchased from George C. Cannon and Guy Lombardo’s 16-cylinder, 600-h.p. Miller. This should be a smooth-running combination and a hard one to beat.
Harris McBride of Detroit is heading a new syndicate with A. C. Smith and William Goeschel and is building a 34-foot, three-point suspension hull which will have two Allison engines. It is expected to be ready by June 15.
John Goodhue of East Braintree, Massachusetts, is reported to be constructing a new Gold Cup contender of his own design to be powered with an air-cooled engine.
G. E. Warren of Detroit has a new Gold Cup class boat that is said to resemble Miss Canada.
John Hacker has designed a Gold Cupper for A. C. Marcy, which is being built in Springfield. Ill.
Maurice Bothner of Johannesburg, South Africa is reported sending over a boat for the Harmsworth.
Tommy Caldwell, builder and driver of the 135 Blue Blazes, is reported building a boat on the West Coast for the Gold Cup, owner and type of boat being kept a secret.
Great story Texx! Wonder what happened to tha 18′ Higgins, I guess that 12 cyl. Scripps took care of that. Much better than yesterday’s who screwed who BS.
Johnny – Can you imagine what kind of wild ride you could have in V-12 Scripps powered 18′ Higgins? I’m surprised the torque of the motor / prop didn’t flip it over…
What a wild ride that must be! Love to find out.
Great story Texx!
One of the best things about race boat builders is their willingness to try new ideas in a search for speed. Upside down, air-cooled motor in a boat? Replace the supercharger with a belt drive? Looks like a dozen belts! Maybe a 1-point bottom? (possibly too many new ideas in one boat here?)
And I’m very taken with the idea of a Scripps in an 18′ Higgins…Let’s see; I have the extra V12’s, (and the blowers), theres the old 17′ Dodge sitting there, how hard could this be?
Off to the barn after I finish WB….
I think I would be inclined to put a little “non-trip” shape at the outer edges of the center concave bottom surface as well as the rear chines –
What a cool re-emergence!
Bravo Texx!!! The development history behind most of the old runabout builders is fairly well known (some actualling with a racing pedigree), but it is great to learn about the evolution of purpose-built racing craft like these when it comes available.
They are all part of our ‘roots’ as certain design elements crossed to both sides.
I would travel to see and hear this boat! Please keep us posted re its restoration Texx. Air cooled, upside down aircraft motor. Wow.
Actually guy’s the supercharger is still on the other end with its original slide venture Holley carb, there was another pulley on the bottom (lost ) with a tensioner, the big top pulley is mounted to the airplane’s propeller hub that spins 1.5:1,
Also you can see the exhaust on the bottom of the engine with supplied water going in to cool it had no risers that’s why they plugged the transom and went out the hot air exhaust area in the stern instead.
That answers my question about the plugs, I thought maybe it had another engine at one time. I can’t seem to find the exhaust outlet and am amazed that the engine is suspended from the motor mounts instead of sitting on them. Good luck Mike, that’s quite a piece of history you got there.
This story today serves as a good reminder of the spirit of race boat design, the innovation and also the wide range of engine options that were being used during this period of powerboat racing history. A condensed summary from the Motor Boating review:
Henry Kaiser – with Ventnor Boat Works, two new boats. A 28-foot Gold Cupper to be powered with an Allison V-12 motor, 1710 cu. in, model E-135, and a 32-footer, powered with a “W” Allison engine of 3420 cu. in., developing approximately 3000 h.p.
Jack Schafer of Detroit, owner of Such Crust. This will be a three-point hull, powered with an Allison motor.
Guy Lombardo – Tempo VI.
A new 50-foot boat is being built for a Mr. Rafferty – powered by three Packard engines.
Joe Van Blerck – Gold Cupper Grey Goose with a 16-cylinder, 600-h.p. Miller.
Harris McBride is building a 34-foot, three-point suspension hull which will have two Allison engines
John Hacker has designed a Gold Cupper for A. C. Marcy.
Al Fallon is already working on Miss Great Lakes – trying to put a new hull in shape and use a Rolls Royce engine.
Cameron Peck of Chicago, will have this Van Patten designed hull, powered with a 1350 h.p. Packard W-14 engine.
Stanley Dollar, owner of Skip Along is building a new boat on the west coast, and Horace Dodge is building a new hull to carry four Allisons and revamping the old Sister Syn.
Miss Canada IV with a 2700 h.p. V-12 Griffin Rolls-Royce engine.
Rod Zamotin has finished converting a Rolls Royce for marine use and expects to start a new aluminum hull shortly.
Oliver Elam of Kentucky is having a new 26 foot boat of unusual design constructed at Ventnor s that will have a Curtis Conqueror engine.
Jack Kramer and Bill Lieber of Port Washington are installing an Allison in a 33 foot Gar Wood.
And of course, the famous “MY SWEETIE” from 1948 which won the 1949 APBA Gold Cup with Bill Cantrell driving.
Appropriately named. The sweetest looking unlimited design of all!
I’ll be walkin about saying “Hellzapoppin” for a while, what a great name and a cool boat, good luck with the upside dowm motor.
I have lived on Lake Winnipesaukee all my life and have seen Hellzapoppin many times.
Here are some facts about the boat and the goodhue family.
The boat was tested only once on the lake and had some major problems.
1st- the prop shaft was driven by 14 type fan belts that went from a pulley at the front of the prop shaft to the pulley located on the front top of the motor. the one you see in the picture.
2nd- another major problem with the boat was it did not turn well.
the boat was stored for many years at the marina and then the boat was stored at John’s brothers place for years.
It seems strange that John would leave his brother out of this story,seeing his brother was involved with the boat too. I am sure John would give his brother half of the money that he sold the boat for. SURE
The John Goodhue I knew worked at Broward Marine for about three winters as a helper in the trim deptartment not as asst.yard superintendent .
Forgot to tell you the problem with the belts.
When the boat got going fast , the belts heated up and let go.
end of run !
Gilford Guy – Thanks so much for sharing this with us today, it’s great stuff!
When I first learned about HELLZAPOPPIN II from my friend Ike Kielgass a few weeks ago, I searched, and searched for information on the boat, with not much success.
Then, a few days later when we got in touch with Mike Michaud, he shared what he had on this one-of-a-kind piece of race boat history.
We appreicate your help today.
(p.s. – Are you aware of any other hidden gems around the Lake Winnipesaukee area?) Texx@woodyboater.com
Gilford guy, We would like to hear more so as not to make the same mistakes, we do question the rudder assy and belt drive please call 207-651-5644 or email@example.com Thanks, Mike
Nice shot of Miss Detroit III Mike…
Gilmer belt / Blower Drive Service
Thanks it is a good idea, we have looked at industrial gilmer style belts they do make them up to 6’’ wide, it would be nice to run it down to a Warner trans, so that giving rides is not such a hassle
Remember, guys, you can right click on a “comment” picture and select “view image” to see a larger picture. If your cursor changes to a “+” over that picture, you can click and enlarge it further. Just fyi.
sure would be a bitch to adjust those valves on Hellzapoppin’ II.
I have some pictures of what I believe is the first HELZAPOPPIN. It is a 1934 single step Schumacher hydro.
Hi Joel, i believe you did the engine test or possibly the appraisal on this boat prior to my purchase. I could be mistaken. check out the utube video, i have many pictures completed about a year ago. best regards…..rick
the utube video is Hellzapoppin x-7
I think we should consider flipping this Ranger V770 it been done several times check out the dragster,” same engine”