A Sneak Peek At Miss Canada IV – Courtesy Of Harry Wilson & Tom Adams

Although it’s now offically full blown winter season in the Muskoka Lakes region of Canada, things are beginning to heat up at Tom Adams restoration shop in Port Carling for Tom and the “Miss Canada IV” restoration team. They are now well on their way to getting all the mechanical details completed in the historic Greavette hydroplane, and are on track to begin water testing the race boat first thing in the spring.

Mechancial details like the installation and operating systems for the huge Rolls-Royce V-12, twin exhaust, steering components, fuel tanks, prop shaft & prop – are (as you can imagine) quite different than your normal runabout.

Since we first began following this remarkable project, when ever we publish updates on the project, seeing the fresh photos of the restoration project for the first time are always amazing. Stop for a minute and just imagine what it must have been like for Harold & Lorna Wilson back in 1950… sitting in the cockpit directly behind a 3,000 HP supercharged V-12 Rolls-Royce Griffon 58…

With the gearbox just inches from the steering wheel and twin seats…

And the prop shaft spinning just below the seats, the twin 5 inch stainless steel exaust pipes running down each side of the cockpit and a pair of fuel tanks filled with 150 octane race fuel just behind you… All this while speeding across the water at almost 200 MPH!  As the old saying goes “Stuff happens fast on the water.”

Last weekend Harry Wilson and the Miss Canada IV restoration team held an open house at Tom Adams boat shop to give folks a sneak-peek at how the project was proceeding… Here’s Harry’s report.

Miss Canada IV Open House – Saturday, Jan. 5th
Tom Adams Boat Shop – Port Carling, Ontario

Texx – Upwards of 80 people took advantage of the nice weather to make the trip to see Miss Canada IV, some driving for over 4 hours from as far away as Rideau Ferry, Picton, Guelph and North Bay, Ontario. What they experienced was, in the words of reknowned raceboat authority Joe Fossey, “Kind hospitality and a chance for all friends of Miss Canada IV to catch up on her remarkable restoration process… there is now a really bright light burning at the end of that long tunnel.” Amen to that, Joe!

Despite just recovering from the flu and being in the middle of uprooting his restoration business (the building has been sold and he has to vacate by Jan 31), Tom Adams graciously answered all questions and still found time to offer refreshments to guests.

Engine installer & past World Champion driver Norm Woods was also on hand to walk people through the intricacies of installing the big Rolls-Royce Griffon. They had removed a number of cover boards on the deck as well as the engine hatches in order to allow visitors an unrestricted view of the delicate and difficult engine installation work involved.

The state of the restoration: the engine is permamently in place, the shaft, shaft log, strut and prop are ready to go. The main 54 imperial/65 US gallon main tank, and the two 11/14 gal saddle tanks have been installed and plumbed. The 1 inch fuel lines provide a hint of the voracious appetite of the Griffon, estimated at approx 2.5/3 gal per minute burn rate.

The ADI (menthanol injection) tank and pump are the last elements still needing to be added before the dashboard and all electricals are installed. Subsequent to that, fire supression and other safety equipment will be installed before the boat hits the water in spring 2013.

Of particular interest to a number of guests, once they got over the sheer size of the Griffon and how small it makes a 33′ hydroplane look (one individual noted that it looked like we needed more boat!), was the wonderful exhaust pipe work done by a local Huntsville area business. It is not easy bending 5″ stainless steel!

Also, the viewers marvelled at how little of the original rudder was actually in the water when Harold Wilson drove it- approximately 4 inches reach. No wonder Harold found it an absolute bear to attempt to corner. In the interests of safety, a new rudder retaining the original shape but adding 8 inches reach has been ordered. The remainder of the steering apparatus, however, is original.

Among the guests were several well-know and highly regarded boatbuilders; Gary Clarke, Mike Windsor and Stan Hunter all approved of the work Tom has done, and that’s high praise, given the reputations of these gentlemen. The event also brought out three past ACBS presidents with one, Chris Bullen, being accompanied by his father and son – 3 generations! The youngest visitor was 5 years old; nobody would admit to being the oldest. (Fellow Woody Boater Chris Bullen is also a contributor to Woody Boater and often comes to our rescue behind the scenes – Texx)

Norm Woods talked about the rigorous testing regimen the team will follow in the spring. An example of the data they will have to collect is propeller performance information: hull speed, “bite” and slip at 500 rpm gradations. This information will be funneled back to S&S Propellers in Florida, manufacturer of the 3-blade semi-cleaver who will then advise and adjust the prop as needed.

The boat will be run under very strict limits while all systems and constructions are being checked out for the July 6th 2013 ACBS Toronto Hydroplane & Raceboat Show in Gravenhurst.

Now that the port and starboard aluminum gunwale plates have been installed (added to the boat in 1950 by the original team after the boat cracked at the 2nd step; Tom and his team have made the boat much stronger in the rebuild, but the plates have been re-installed in a salute to authenticity), the woodworking team will begin the refnishing of the decks, which are mostly original including all of the framing.

Guests kept arriving right through the lunch hour, so hosts Jamie Smith, Tom Adams, Norm Woods & Harry Wilson never did get a chance to sample the goodies normally provided by Tom’s assistant Cindi… who was herself laid low by the flu. Also in attendance were “Harold & Lorna” director Bill Plumstead and Jeff Mitchell from the movie team.

More than a few visitors placed orders for the Harold & Lorna DVD, the next batch of DVD’s goes back into production this week and will be shipping to customers in two weeks time.

Harry Wilson – Team Miss Canada

For more information on the DVD you can Click Here (the story is also posted on the Woody Boater home page to the right of this story) and for more information on the Miss Canada IV restoration project you can Click Here to visit the Harold & Lorna / Miss Canada IV website.

Miss Canada Record 200 MPH Run – circa 1950

Thanks Harry Wilson and Tom Adams Boat Shop for sharing your story with us here today, the restoration looks great and we are looking forward to seeing her in July at the Toronto Chapter ACBS show in Gravenhurst!


19 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    After watching the DVD and reading this update, I am even more excited about seeing and hearing this great boat in July at Muskoka.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Greg – Not sure if you got the memo from Woody Boater HQ, but at the last Bored of Directors meeting we nominated you as our resident movie critic…

      Can you give us a brief critique of the Harold & Lorna movie please?

  2. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    We had a great time talking with Harry and everyone, the energy and excitement in the room was wonderful, this project is really energizing the history and the wooden boat hobby in this area for sure. I don’t know if Bobby knows what he’s got into with restoring this boat, but he sure has made it fun for all of us. looking forward to spring!

  3. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    OK Texx, here goes my first movie review.
    We set the stage by watching it at the cottage where we could better appreciate the experience, with the boat photos on the walls and the view of the lake. We thought ts was a very interesting historical documentary with a lot of realy cool footage. I would have preferred staying a little more on track with additional details of the boats and racing, but Marianne enjoyed the part about the story being related by the young college journalism students. It was also interesting to learn that Miss America lV was just the last boat in a long series of great racers built and raced by the same family. I suggested that Marianne learn how to make engine adjustments while under way spralled out on the deck, but I don’t think she took me seriously!
    I’m sure this will conclude my short movie critic career after you all read this.


    • dreed
      dreed says:

      I was half expecting something that would resemble the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 series. (a.k.a. the funniest program ever on T.V.)

      • floyd r turbo
        floyd r turbo says:

        I can see the woodyboater silhouettes: Matt or Texx in their woodyboater hats, and o/b motor head and an animated bow light sitting in the theater seats doing “thumbs down, its a dock shot”, lol.

    • Carl Garmhaus
      Carl Garmhaus says:

      What Marianne took seriously was what a stupid idea that was and if you wanted engine adjustments while underway you could do it yourself.

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    If they really plan on getting 3000hp out of that Griffin it is going to be sucking more than 3 us gal per minute. I would guess closer to 4 gpm minimum, maybe a bit less if running lean, more if they need to be extra rich at that power.

  5. Jamie Smith
    Jamie Smith says:

    Miss Canada IV will make her first “public” appearance at the ACBS Toronto Boat Show on July 6th. The show, The Greatest Race Boat Show in Canadian History, at Muskoka Wharf, Gravenhurst, promises to be an exciting show.
    There will be 25 famous historic hydro’s including Miss Supertest III, and boats like Dave Richarsons, Lauterbach Special, Roger LaPierres Miss Dinomytes, Marv Harts Miss Canadiana, other mid sized and small hydro’s, plus exciting outboards running in Muskoka Bay.
    There will also be more than 65 wooden antique, classic and contemporary race boats, plus more than 40 fibreglass race boats for visitors to see at the docks.
    More to come about the show soon. In the meantime check out the ACBS Toronto calendar @ www acbs.ca.

  6. brian t
    brian t says:

    I wonder if I could shoehorn an engine like that into my MG….

    Oh Hey, I came across an old favourite song of mine and my guess is that the Century guys out there will be able to relate to it as it is pretty much their mantra for a summer’s worth of boating !

  7. Texx
    Texx says:

    You have picked up on a wingtip trend Chad. Nice work!

    Now every time I look at Miss Canada IV, please don’t tell me I will think of Eddie Munster… Please

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