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Thread: Any photos of DeSilva outboard hydros?

  1. #11
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    Dad raced Harry Brinkman's Desilva C Mod Hydro in Soddy Daisy TN at the Mod nationals back in, I think the 80's. Harry was having some issues with flipping the boat, like nearly every race, and wanted to know what was wrong. Dad put our engine on it and went out and led the field well on his way to the National Championship when the gearbox sheared from the housing and the boat crashed in the middle of the backstretch. Dad said it was a decent ride, needed some different set up than conventional wisdom when the brothers asked him how the boat did. I think Harry sold the boat as he was more of a runabout guy anyways. The man knew his way around the course in a DeSilva runabout.

  2. #12
    BoatRacingFacts VIP John Schubert T*A*R*T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smittythewelder View Post
    You agreed too soon, John. Look at Gosman's link, above. Though he tells us his dad ran it in the Seventies, that's obviously a boat from the early Sixties or even Fifties. The DeSilva hydro I remember, if my memory is any good at all, was a Seventies picklefork with an innovative and distinctive deck design.

    This is getting confusing.

    There's a feature at the bottom of the screen called "similar threads." I've never used it until now, but I linked to a DeSilva thread by Mk75H that is quite interesting, and itself links to one started by Ron Hill that's also good. My only experience of DeSilvas was of their well-crafted, good-handling, but rather conventional stock and alky runabouts (though maybe that double-angle chine was an original). But if you haven't seen it, look at their "Delta" experimental runabout, very cutting-edge then or now.
    Not many knew Kelly, we trailered together to the SO nationals in 1954 in Depere, WI. He & his wife were good friends with my mom & dad. WE went to out of region races together, mostly different trailers.I finished 4th in BSH at Depere, Bob Parish won with a Desilva hydro. Nevertheless, I'm still convinces that Kelly pioneered the S bottom & I'm sticking to my conviction.

  3. #13
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default "S" Bottom Hydro

    Growing up in SoCal, I saw almost all of the DeSilva boyes hyrdos. I don't recall see an "S" bottom on any DeSilva hydros.

    The first boat I ever saw with an "S" bottom was an entrop Cab Over that Elgin Gates owned and gave to Ted May. I drove this boat at Irvine Lake, in the spring of 1965.

    Fuzz Nichols promoted a race at Irvine Lake in '65, but I was going to college in Flagstaff and I raced Stocks and this was an Alky race.

    If you look at Hal Kelly's plans the "S" bottom was there long before Entrop designed the cap over.

    The Hedlund have DeSilva and Hal kelly in them. Coolest part to me was that the Hedlunds build every one of thir hydros in their basement in Willamette, Illinois.

  4. #14
    Tim Weber
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    I don't think Ralph was ever a big fan of the " S' bottom. We all know it's fast so does he. His feeling is when you have a 90 to 100 mph boat which he did build, it was more important to finish the race and not get killed. The bull nose as Desilva called their boat worked ok until the speeds got to the high 60's. Beyond that it created to much bow lift and they stopped building it. To compensate for this, they built a boat called the " sling shot". It was basically the first modern pickle fork. Ralph has a pic of it somewhere.

    The only Desilva hydro I know of running is Duke Johnson's Service C and PR hydro. Ralph built it 7 or 8 years ago. It runs real well.

    Tim

    Tim

  5. #15
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Here's one, but I don't know who it belongs to. I took this at the Grain Belt Pro Nationals at Winona, Minnesota in 1975.
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  6. #16
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    More DeSilva hydros. Kind of strange to see two DeSilva's at the same race, and neither one has a boat number to identify whose it is. It took me a little looking because I was very confused with the two different class motors with a big difference in displacement. The one in the color picture does not have the Konig mount, and the steering cable anchors are in different spots. And no boat cover snaps on the second. Paint scheme the same, but I think the color in the B&W photo is white.

    This particular DeSilva could be either David Westbrook, or Ralph and Bill DeSiva's driven by Alan Ishii. Alan pitted at this race next to Ralph Donald, and maybe after he looks at the photo, he can remember whose it was. He drove 6 different hydros for Ralph and Bill over a three or four year period, all of them with the tendency to blow over.
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  7. #17
    Team Member smittythewelder's Avatar
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    There we go; thanks for those, Wayne!!

    When did Hal Kelly design/build the first "Jupiter" and "Ben Hur" (both cabovers, though he found he had to move the dashboard back to make the Jupiter work; both had S-curved bottoms), John?

    After Hu Entrop built and ran his first F hydro in 1956-57 (with some input, or at least interest from Ted Jones, and Jack Leek, I believe) others built cabovers with S-curved bottoms. Russ Rotzler, I think. Also, Joe Michellini, who managed to win the FOH Nationals in '58, and subsequently sold plans for the boat in Popular Science magazine. Ted Jones built the third and best "Miss Thriftway" with an S-bottom in 1958, but his 1957 cabover, "Thiftway Too," did not have that feature. Ted's son Ron began building boats a year or so later, but I think his early ones did not have S-curved bottoms, and his outboard cabovers of the early Sixties did not, or at least not the ones I saw. Now, someone else will have to tell us about whether Entrop had priority on this bottom feature, but even if he did not, it wouldn't surprise me if he came up with the idea independently. Entrop was a smart, skilled, creative guy, and was very interested in having a balanced boat that placed the center of lift and the center of gravity (with driver aboard, of course) such that he could get his prop-riding designs to run as nearly level to the water as possible. It's interesting to look at the photos of his boats and see to what extent each one succeeded at this level ride. The original F22 of 1957 rode about level. The Starflite II rode "up-hill." The Starflite III rode slightly nose-down, and The Starflite IV rode level, at least the first time, when Gerry Walin went 130mph (there's more to that story, but not for this thread). Since Entrop passed away, I believe that Jim Hallum probably knows and remembers more about his projects than anyone who's still around.

    I still have the set of "Jupiter" plans I bought in '64 for $12. Amazingly, if it turns out to be true, I think I might have spotted my old boat in a recent photo, still alive in Florida. If I can get the fellow who I think is the current owner, who posts here as "Smirnoff," to see and respond to my PM, I can probably identify it as mine or not mine from a few more photos. I figured that boat had surely rotted away in somebody's backyard decades ago.

  8. #18
    Tim Weber
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    I spoke with Ralph this morning about this thread.

    The cab over goes back to 1947. They built a handful of them and decided, in Ralph's words" they were no damn good". The boat was fast but turned terrible. He said there was just too much weight forward. These did have an " S " in them to help get the boat out of the water with the drivers weight so far forward. I think they only ran these with the old Evinrudes and Johnsons. From this they went into the " Bull Nose "

    In reality, a Jupiter, Hedlund or Entrop boat were ideas that were borrowed from Desilva. These guys just took the pieces and parts of the designs they liked
    and incorporated them into there own design to make a viable boat. All three the before mentioned did work in their day.

    Ralph is finishing up a book. He has pictures of all of the evolutions of these boats. He would be the first to agree that they were never really hydro builders. They did
    have a few pretty decent boats over the years though. They won a number of championships too.

    Tim

  9. #19
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    Wayne posted 1 up also go to post 148 in Random Shots 2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Oil Racing Team View Post
    Here's one, but I don't know who it belongs to. I took this at the Grain Belt Pro Nationals at Winona, Minnesota in 1975.

    Wayne:

    I have a tendency to think (guess) that this boat may have belonged to either Larry Latta or Jack Kugler. The tip off on Latta being the owner is the Merc C Service engine on the boat. I do not remember Kugler ever running C Service but very possible he did as Quincy built several of these engines including the one Waldman had, I think. The absence of pipes on the motor and the LU make me think this is a C Service engine.

    Also another tip off on it being Kuglers rig rather than Latta's is I never saw (no malice intended to someone not here anymore) Latta's equipment look this good, unless perhaps it was brand new. Larry would admit himself, and many of us heard him say, his equipment would never win any beauty contests. Several boats fresh from DeSilva's jig, both Runabouts and Hydro's carried this paint scheme, both color and design wise. I also had a DeSilva 125 Hydro I bought from Jack Kugler but never ran it and sold it to a MOD racer here in the Midwest. I think he possibly still has it as it was purchased for his Daughter to run a Yamato stock motor on.

    With just a little "remembering" I can think of 10-12 Hydro's built by them and actively raced in the 70's and 80's. They also built the first tunnel Hydro I saw on the water. This was a C Service boat and was built for Stan Leavendusky. They only tested the boat in the late 60's/early 70's but never raced it. I don't remember why now. Possibly was not as fast as the 10'0" Marchetti that Butch used for many Championships during that time frame.

    David Westbrook, as mentioned in another post, also had at least one DeSilva hydro that I think he ran a 500 or 350 Konig on. It was pretty well destroyed in a collision with another competitor at Lakeland in the 70's or early to mid 80's. Ralph Donald also still has a DeSilva Hydro he campaigned for a number of years. I saw it a couple of years ago in his warehouse in Naples, Fl.

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