G-48  Obsession

Page 12 - Pulling the motor for a refresh and refinishing the interior !!!


Owner/Driver - Bill John

1946 Gar Wood, hull number 7115, modified

Speedster design, single aft cockpit, 21 foot

Bottom modified to a shingled/stepped hydroplane

Honduras mahogany hull with Spanish cedar steps

Chevrolet 510 cubic inch marine stroker motor, 630 HP

Prop is a Menkens high rake 3-blade, 13x17 cupped

Tracked at 75 mph on GPS at the 2004 Detroit Gold Cup

Obsession video - let it load & crank it up!!!

After years of hard running on the vintage circuit and constant use on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee, our beloved Obsession was hauled back to our Wolfeboro shop for some TLC. The hull remained in excellent shape after our Edge-Bonding project over ten years ago. The edge-bonded seams still looked fresh, but more importantly added great strength to the hull. All the mechanics and rigging were thoroughly checked out at our Wolfeboro shop, but the refinishing project would be done at our new home/shop in Mount Dora, Florida.

Click here for the story of Obsession !!!






New Location - Mount Dora, Florida !!!


During the last week of April 2014, we headed north from our new home in Mount Dora to close up our Wolfeboro shop and hauled all our tools and beloved Obsession down to our new home and shop in Mount Dora. It was sad, but it was also time to move on after ten years in our Wolfeboro shop, keeping both bays busy with many interesting and fun projects. Ten years of vintage race boat shop therapy, check out our many projects !!!

Our Vintage Boats

Our first event down here in Mount Dora, Florida was the 2014 November Monthly Fun Run & Gathering, followed by the Tavares Fall Thunder Vintage Race Boat Regatta. Our beloved Obsession was looking good and that 510 cubic inch stroker motor just purred in the warm Florida sunshine and the flat fresh water of Lake Dora !!!

Obsession Video

Obsession Video

Monthly Fun Run & Gathering






Come on down and join us for all he fun. We got warm Florida sunshine, palm trees, flat water and Margaritas !!!

Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit





Project Update - Summer of 2015

As show on the previous Webpage, our summer project for 2014 was the complete refinishing of the bottom, hull and deck and then we ran at all the fun events on the Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit. So now our 2015 summer project is to pull the motor for another refresh and refinish the interior.


The first step was to hoist the boat off the trailer and lower onto our shop dollies. 


Then we rolled the boat into our air conditioned garage/shop to prepare to pull the motor. First, the many screws on the hatch hinges were removed, and then we removed the hatches to give us full and easy access to the motor. Next, the throttle cable, fuel line, water pump hose, exhaust pipes and electrical wiring were disconnected followed by attaching the motor hoisting chains and motor leveler. The motor was now ready to be hoisted out of the boat.    


Next, we rolled the boat back outside our shop and positioned under our hoist. Then came the scary part, hoisting the motor up high, rolling the boat back inside the shop, backing our shop truck under the motor and finally lowering the motor into the back of our truck. But all went well, and cause for much celebration afterwards - Margaritas !!!





R&L Engines was our engine builder back in New Hampshire and had done all of our previous motor work, including boring and stroking our 454 cubic inch Chevy reverse rotation motor all the way out to our current 510 cubic inch, 630 horsepower monster motor. But we are now down here in Mount Dora, Florida so under the advice of our mentor, Dave Nagel this time we took our beloved motor to Muscle Machine in Eustis, Florida for another refresh/rebuild. The teardown revealed that the block and all the parts were good shape and that the motor only needed a valve job and basic rebuild. This was very good news and cause for more celebration - Margaritas !!! 



While the motor was out of the boat, we remove the floorboards for four fresh coats of Epifanes varnish. We sanded between coats with 320 grit paper followed by Scotchbrite Pads using our DeWalt 5 inch random orbital sander. The sander is connected to a Fein vacuum system that provides for near dustless sanding. After four coats of thick, amber tinted Epifanes vanish we finally got a pretty much dust-free final coat that just flowed out beautifully.



We also thoroughly cleaned the bilge and applied two fresh coats of bilge paint. The photos below show the freshly painted bilge and the heavily reinforce motor mount stringers. Also notice the heavy aluminum bracing on both the back and front motor mounts, built extra strong to hold the bored and stroked 510 cubic inch Chevy big block monster motor !!! 


These photos of the bilge area under the rear cockpit floorboards show the freshly painted bilge and the running gear. Notice the shaft log, drip-less stuffing box and required APBA shaft collar. Also notice the shifter detent assembly and the T-handle assembly connected to the drag link that controls the transom cavitation plate. Everything well thought out, built real strong and well proven after many years of running on the APBA vintage race boat circuit since 1992. Check out the link below for our photo archives of vintage events. 

Our Photo Archives


Bilge Cleaning Note: We have tried all the expensive marine bilge cleaners but have found Proctor & Gamble "Dawn" to be the best. And the best way to keep a bilge nice and clean throughout the season is to frequently squirt Dawn down into the bilge area, scrub with a stiff toilet bowl brush, pour in couple of buckets of fresh water into the bilge and then go for a nice boat ride. This biodegradable Dawn detergent will slosh all around the bilge dissolving all oil, grease and sludge deposits while you enjoy a nice boat ride, running at different speeds. And then while you idle back to the dock and level the boat, the bilge pump will pump the biodegradable residue overboard. And the bilge will also smell real nice !!!


We love varnishing, it is our therapy, and by using thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish, we are actually fairing the surface with varnish, and with each coat the surface gets smoother, darker and deeper. Again, lots of hours but the results are always well worth the extra time and effort.


Follow these same steps for painting and varnishing - the results are stunning !!!

  • Sand with 320 sanding paper

  • Sand with ScotchBrite Pads

  • Thorough vacuum in both directions

  • Final prep with tact cloth

  • Cut a West System 7" foam roller in half,  slip on a  3" roller handle

  • Use a quality "Jen" brand 4 inch foam brush

  • Add a titch of Epifanes Retarder to a fresh can of Epifanes Varnish

  • Roll the varnish on a small section, in both directions

  • Wick the varnish with one light brush stroke, dry area into varnish area

  • Do not over work the varnish with the brush, the Retarder will let it flow

  • When done, walk away, let the varnish flow out and then cure overnight

Stain & Varnish - how we do it !!!


The interior refinishing was finally completed and then we checked with Glen Treadwell and Mark Fields at Muscle Machine on their progress on the rebuild of our Chevy 510 cubic inch stroker motor.

The motor assembly proceeded nicely - these photos show the cam being degreed.



Once the motor was assembled, it was time for some Dyno work to break in the rebuilt motor, set the timing, tune the new Holley 830 CFM carburetor, and adjust the valves. We also had to order some special parts and software for the Dyno setup because this is a marine reverse rotation motor. But all worked fine and we made several pulls on the motor, running up to 5,000 rpms. But the motor was just beginning to come into the power curve, so we changed the rev limiter chip and ran the motor up to 6,000 rpms and we finally got what we wanted - over 600 horsepower and over 600 pounds of torque. We could have changed the carburetor jets and increased the timing to get more out the our motor, but we had enough power and wanted to run on 93 octane pump gas. Many thanks to Glen and Mark at Muscle machine, these guys know their stuff !!!     



Glen Treadwell & Mark Fields at Muscle Machine also run several dragsters !!!


Meanwhile, back in our shop our beloved Obsession waits for the new/rebuilt motor.


After all the fun, excitement and magical sounds of the Dyno work, it was finally time to reinstall the marine exhaust headers, transmission and cooling system. And then on October 29th we finally got the phone call that we were waiting for from Glen Treadwell at Muscle Machine. Our motor was done and ready for pickup. Unbelievable, our motor was done on schedule and under budget. So we trucked over to Muscle Machine to pickup our motor.


The next step was to hoist the motor out of our truck and roll our beloved Obsession under the motor. Then we carefully lowered the motor into the motor compartment, rolled the boat back into our shop and completed the motor installation.



Once the motor installation was completed, it was time hoist the boat back on the trailer and then trailer fire the motor to ensure that all systems were working correctly. So we trekked to the nearest Mobil station and filled the gas tank with 93 Octane rocket fuel. Then we hauled to Gilbert Park here in Mount Dora to trailer fire the motor. We backed the boat into the water just far enough to ensure the water pickup was fully submerged and then we started the motor. It fired right up, the gauges were all working fine, the cooling water was flowing nicely through the motor and the exhaust system, and it sounded just awesome through those four inch side pipes !!!   



So we thought we were ready to rock & roll at our Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta. And then it happened. After several minutes of running and everything seemed just fine, we watched the oil pressure gauge drop from a nice steady forty pounds down to very scary zero. Yup, the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat in a matter of minutes. We shut the motor down immediately and hauled the boat back to our shop. There we found lots of oil in the bilge and spent the rest of the day flushing the oil out of the bilge with lots of water and Liquid Dawn with the bilge pump pumping the oily water out of the bilge. We got the bilge squeaky clean but we also made quite a mess of the driveway, and Gerri was not pleased !!!  

What could have possibly gone wrong - the motor ran fine on the Dyno at Muscle Machine ???

Well, after the motor was run successfully on the Dyno at Muscle Machine, the motor was removed from the Dyno and the marine cooling system, transmission and remote oil filter assembly were installed. This included the remote oil filter adapter plate on the block that connected the the hoses to the remote oil filter. We suspected the massive oil leak was from the remote oil filter adapter plate, so we hauled the boat back to Muscle Machine, praying they could find and fix the oil leak without the need to pull the motor out of the boat again.


Our prayers were answered within two hours, Glen and his gang found and fixed the oil leak. As suspected it was that pesky remote filter adaptor plate. So we hauled our beloved Obsession back to Gilbert Park in Mount Dora for trailer firing and if all systems checked out, sea trails around beautiful Lake Dora. Everything went fine with no oil leaks, constant strong oil pressure and lots of power. Many, many thanks to Glen Treadwell and Mark Fields at Muscle Machine. These guys are the best and are highly recommended.

Video - Crank It Up !!!



Tavares Fall Thunder Regatta - November 13-15, 2015

Heat Schedule & Participants

Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit

In our Mount Dora shop after another motor refresh and interior refinishing, Obsession was available for sale to make room for our next reproduction project - a 225 Ventnor hydroplane. Then on 12/9/2015 we received a very generous offer that we could not refuse. The agent flew down for inspection and sea trials on 12/18/2015 and made a final offer.

Sally Ann Jr.

What fun, the sun came out and the water was flat for our final inspection and sea trials with Mark Krzyzanowski of Antique Boat America !!!




Video - Crank It Up !!!

After our successful sea trials, we hauled our beloved Obsession back to winter storage.



But after 36 years of ownership, countless ACBS Boat Shows, lots of fun running on the APBA Vintage Race Boat Circuit and many, many fun boat rides, we were having second thoughts.....

Well - we finally did it, on 2/7/2016 we signed the papers, and then waited for the bank transfer. Then on 2/18/2016 we got the phone call from our local bank - money transfer received !!!


BRACKLEY BOATS - Gravenhurst, Muskoka, OntarioOn March 20, 2016 our beloved Obsession was picked up and hauled north to Muskoka, Ontario and will be maintained for the new owner by our friend Paul Brackley at Brackley Boats in Gravenhurst, Ontario.



In the Spring of 2017, our friend Paul Brackley at Brackley Boats in Gravenhurst, Ontario applied new gold leaf lettering and more coats of fresh varnish !!!



The End !!!

Page 1 - The Story of Obsession

The Story of Gar Wood


Check our our next vintage/classic race boat - Schiada



For locals, please join our:

Saturday Morning Gatherings

Monthly Fun Run & Gathering

Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit

Some related vintage race boat links:

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