Vintage Race Boat Shop

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Impulse

Part 1 - Designing & Building the Hull

 

Impulse - reproduction based on a 1940's John Hacker Design

Owner/Driver - Bob Mueller

 1st wakeboarder - Maxfield Alessi

 

         

After completing our Gar Wood Speedster project Compulsion, we stared working on a reproduction of a John Hacker design ski boat for Bob Mueller. The bare hull was built by the Fish Brothers, the 327 cubic inch Chevy motor was built by Larry's Auto Machine in Groton, Connecticut, and the final design, rigging and finish work were done by the Vintage Race Boat Shop here in Wolfeboro, NH.

 

Our Project Definition:

  • John Hacker design ski boat with forward cockpit, mid deck, aft bench seat, aft deck.

  • Utility design, wide flared oval bow, low profile, crowned deck, extreme tumblehome

  • Mid deck to also be a structural bulkhead, to add strength to the utility design

  • Wide covering boards that wrap-around at bow and transom, with extended rub rails

  • Small "V" bottom for a fun afternoon ride boat, pulling an occasional water skier

  • New 17 foot bare hull with white oak frames, plywood/epoxy inner layer, mahogany planking

After several phone calls, a few revisions to the line drawings, and two treks to the Fish Brothers in Queensbury, on 11/4/2009 we shook hands and agreed to have the Fish Brothers build our reproduction of a John Hacker design ski boat. They would also install the 327 cubic inch Chevy motor with a Borg Warner C72 hydraulic transmission and the complete drive line.

     

     

   

Our project concept was based on a late 1940's John Hacker utility design, very similar to Hot Dog with a runabout style front cockpit, utility style engine box, and a well padded aft seat. We added a lot more transom tumblehome to our design, increased the crown of the deck and took a plank off the hull sides to lower the sheer line profile. We also took a few interior/upholstery design elements from the 1950's Philbrick utilities like Hakuna Matata. Hacker hardware was used, the upholstery and bottom color was selected to be burgundy, the mahogany deck and hull planking would be stained and varnished along with the flooring and side panels, and Impulse would be applied with golf leaf on the varnished transom.

         

Click here for our project photos of Hot Dog

 

       

       

Click here for our project photos Hakuna Matata

Like the front cockpit, the aft utility cockpit would also have half/round padded upholstery coamming. The top of the engine box would be thickly padded and upholstered along with the aft cockpit seats. And because this was to a ski boat, a sturdy ski tow pylon was a must!!!

 

Click here for some water skiing humor !!!


 

In keeping with the vintage ski boat theme, the 327 cubic inch Chevrolet motor was built at Larry's Auto Machine in Groton, Connecticut, and was fully dressed with three deuces on a polished Offenhauser intake manifold and polished Glenwood aluminum exhaust manifolds. This reverse rotation marine motor was run on their dyno when completed, to chart the horsepower and power curve, and also to dial in the timing advance and fuel system for maximum power. We are looking for around 375 hp to swing the 4 blade 13x14 prop up to 5,000 rpm's.

         

This was going to be a very special 327 Chevy with 3 deuces and fuelie heads. And with the help of our friend David Wagoner, we found a source for our desired vintage 3 deuce setup at Vintage Speed located in Vero Beach, Florida. After a fun conversation with the owner Charlie Price on Christmas Eve 12/24/2009, we ordered the complete 3 duce system shown below. Lead time was 2/3 weeks !!! 

On the first Monday of the new year, Pete Fish called with the news we had been waiting for, our project had moved from the dreaded "in the queue" status to the shop floor. Yup, work had begun on our ski boat project. We were very excited, and after a phone call to Bob Mueller we scheduled our next trek to the Fish Brothers for Thursday, 1/14/2010 and took the following photos. As with our first project with the Fish Brothers for Compulsion, we were again very impressed with the quality of workmanship and the strength of the hull. These guys are serious wooden boat builders. We had a great afternoon with Pete, Bill and Dan - taking pictures, talking about boats, people, with just a titch of politics, and admiring the curvy lines of our 17 foot Hacker ski boat !!!

         

         

         

         

         

         

On January 25th we got another batch of photos from the Fish Brothers. The photos below show the completed bottom, the big flip of the hull right side up, and the shape of the hull. This was gonna be one hot ski boat, with "one plank off" the hull sides to lower the side profile and with the extreme tumblehome at the transom.

         

         

On February 2nd we got another batch of photos from the Fish Brothers. The photos below show the hull has been flipped right side up and the hull sides complete.

       

Then the motor parts from Glenwood Marine arrived at the shop. To complete the vintage look of the  327 Chevy motor, we ordered a set of beautifully polished exhaust manifolds with the elbows, front timing chain cover and a chromed, cam driven water pump. The Borg Warner Velvet Drive transmission, flex plate, bell housing and marine starter motor also arrived from Marine Engines but we were still waiting for the 3 duce intake system from Vintage Speed.

     

On February 4th we made the trek back to the Fish Brothers to see the shape of our new hull, now right side up with deck beams and battens. We wanted to make sure the lines of the boat had "the look" that we had envisioned.  We were very pleased, for Pete and Bill had built a boat that enhanced our original design concept. It is a joy to work with the Fish Brothers, as with our first project together on Compulsion, we were again very impressed with the quality of workmanship and the strength of the our new hull. These guys are serious wooden boat builders. We had a great afternoon with Pete, Bill and Dan - taking pictures, talking about boats, people, with just a titch of politics, and admiring the curvy lines of our 17 foot ski boat !!!

         

         

         

         

         

         

       

   

 

Then the 3 duce intake system for our 327 Chevy motor arrived from Vintage Speed and we just had to shoot a bunch of photos of this masterpiece. This complete system includes an Offenhauser polished aluminum intake manifold, three plated Rochester 97 carburetors with polished flame arrestors, and progressive throttle linkage. Stunning !!!

         

Now we gotta get that 327 Chevy motor built, at Larry's Auto Machine. This reverse rotation marine motor will be run on their dyno when completed, to chart the horsepower and power curve, and also to dial in the timing advance and fuel system for maximum power. We are looking for around 375 hp to swing the 4 blade 13x14 prop up to 5,000 rpm's.

 

On February 11th we got another batch of photos from the Fish Brothers. The photos below show the inner and outer layers of the deck being completed, ending up with the bunging process and rough sanding and fairing of the wood hull. I think that's Bill Fish - doing all the sanding ???!!!

         

         

             

           

            

                         

On Friday, February 12th we made the trek down to  Larry's Auto Machine in Groton, Connecticut to deliver a bunch of marine motor parts. The Borg Warner transmission and bell housing were to be painted burgundy, along with the 327 Chevrolet motor and fuelie heads. The Offenhauser intake manifold and Glenwood exhaust manifolds were polished aluminum. These guys are true motor heads who spend hours in the dyno room to adjust and verify results, confirmed our goal of 375 hp from our vintage 327 Chevy motor. Our next posting will be the sound of our dyno pull!!! 

Click here for video of our 383 Chevy stroker motor on the dyno

         

         

         

        

On February 17th we got another batch of photos from the Fish Brothers. The photos below show that the bare hull has been completed, bunged, sanded and faired. Now we move inside the hull to make the dashboard, seats, ceiling panels, and flooring. We are also waiting for the 327 Chevy motor, that we need to mount and then make the engine box to fit the installation.

       

         

On February 25th we got another batch of photos from the Fish Brothers. These photos show the completed bare hull with the fabricated cutwater and the interior being fitted out with the seats, ceiling panels, and flooring. The front cockpit ceiling panels will be upholstered so they are made of marine plywood. The aft utility cockpit ceiling panel boards will be stained and varnished, so they are made of mahogany. We are still waiting for the 327 Chevy motor, that we need to mount and then make the engine box to fit the installation. We are very pleased with our ski boat design, and the Fish Brothers did an excellent job building the bare hull for us. As usual, they finished on budget and ahead of schedule. Soon we will be hauling Impulse to the Vintage Race Boat Shop for rigging, upholstery and what we do best - finish work with lots of sanding and many, many coats of Epifanes varnish ???!!!

       

       

On March 5th we trekked south to Larry's Machine Shop in Groton, Connecticut to pickup the motor and then headed northwest to the Fish Brothers in Queensbury, NY to deliver the motor for installation and alignment in the boat. Garry and his Gang wanted more time on the dyno to dial in the 3 duce fuel induction system, so we promised to return the motor in two weeks, after the installation and alignment. We spent over 12 hours on the road that day, returning home well after dark, but it was a beautiful sunny day, there was no traffic, and we made good time.

         

       

     

A very cool ski boat, powered by a 327 Chevy with 3 deuces. Will soon be be posting another project update.

       

       

       

Because of the relatively short 17 foot hull length and our desire for a low drive shaft angle, the oil pan on the motor had to be replaced with a marine design with a more shallow depth, and the C72 Borg Warner Velvet Drive marine transmission had to be replaced with a smaller, more shallow C71 model. Pete and Bill Fish took the time for a  very nice motor installation, with sturdy/rugged motor mounts and a low 10 degree angle.

         

Click here for Part 2 - Bottom detailing, finish sanding, stain & varnish work


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