Race Boat Shop
We maintain vintage wooden boats.
designed by Jack Colcock.
Owner/driver - Gerry Davidson
I am looking for information on Roman
Candle, a 266 hydro. It is a Jack Colcock design
and was probably built in the Seattle area. It was
owned by Lou Nuta Jr. of Miami, Florida from the
early 60's through the mid 70's and raced in the
Southeast, Division 5. She ran a 265 fuel injected
Chevy and later a 302 Chevy. She may have been raced
by David Irwin during the 70's. He leased it from
Nuta. It's possible that the Roman Candle is
connected to "Chris III" or "Kelp Kutta", both raced
in the Seattle area. Any information would be
appreciated, please contact:
On 5/17/2008 the crew from
Our Saturday Morning Gatherings trekked over to help Gerry move 'Roman
Candle" from it's trailer into his basement shop,
where Gerry will start the restoration process. He had to
remove part of the basement wall/foundation
to get the boat inside, but Gerry did a nice job and
the wall was already removed when all the child
laborers arrived. We managed to successfully lift the
hydro off the Jeff Magnuson show trailer, carry it
to the hole, slide the hydro down the rigging, and
finally place the hydro on dollies - ready for
Gerry to start the restoration of Roman Candle.
During the summer of 2009, the original 302 Chevy motor was rebuilt by
Leo and his crew at
R&L Racing Engines
in Dover, NH. The decision was made to keep the high compression and the
Hilborn fuel injection system, and the crew at R&L created another
masterpiece - stunning!
Also during the summer of 2009, restoration work on the hydro continued
by Gerry Davidson and in the fall, Roman Candle was finally pulled from
Gerry's basement workshop. The hydro was then hauled down to Florida for
project completion during the winter and spring of 2009.
The restoration completed, Roman Candle made her debut at the 2009 Tavares
Regatta in March. Hydroplane racing legend Tom D'Eath was the first to take
Roman Candle out on the course for a test run. Everything ran well except
for a fluctuating engine oil pressure. The old "original" oil pan was
determined to be the culprit, so Leo from
R&L Racing Engines
trekked down to Florida and fabricated a custom/baffled oil pan
that fixed the oil pressure problem. The hydro then ran extremely well all
weekend long. The sun was shinning, the temps were warm, the food and drink
were plentiful and new friendships were formed - a typical vintage gathering!
In the words of Gerry Davidson:
finished in early March and after three test sessions, made her debut at the
third annual Tavares, FL Classic Raceboat Regatta. It was a great thrill to
me to bring this Colcock designed and built boat back to life after 35
years. Iím taking my time getting used to her and gradually getting her
speed up. She is very willing, but Iím going easy while I build up seat
her to her 1968-1973 appearance. She had three looks over her racing life.
The 302 Chevy was installed in 1970-71 as the rules allowed. The engines
were built by David Irwin and his father and always made a lot of power.
They ran methanol and I made one concession to run 112 octane racing fuel to
make life a little simpler. Iím really enjoying the Hilborn Injection which
was originally shipped in 1958. Awfully smooth power. All the mechanicals
had to have major restoration, especially aluminum parts because she ran in
salt water a lot. I kept all parts exactly as they were. I plan to run her
again at one or two vintage events this summer
and of course Wolfeboro, NH in September.
Many thanks to Gerry Davidson
for sharing this very special project, and
watch for Roman Candle this
summer at our
Vintage Race Boat Regatta
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