View Full Version : Ring of Fire

01-04-2008, 02:40 PM
In 2003 I started to put together a display for the O.F. Christner Reunion. At the reunion I met Dick Pond who I have since become close friends with. I have always had a thing about the Ring of Fire DeSilva that he drove for Marshall Grant.

I asked Dick if he thought there would be a problem with Marshall if I found an old DeSilva and restored it like the Ring of Fire that he and Billy Seebold drove for Marshall. He and Gene East said they did not think it would be a problem.

So the search began. In 2004 while in Florida for the winter, I found one of the fuel tank housings that Marshall had built for the Merc power head. This is a rare piece as Marshall told me he only built about 30 of these. Next the boat...after looking on eBay and at every swap meet, I found a 1966 DeSilva in Princeton, IA. The boat was in pretty bad condition as the deck and sides needed to be replaced. Last winter, the boat was repaired. Then I painted and lettered the boat.

This past summer, Dick Pond and I took the boat to DePue for the Old Timers Reunion where everyone thought it was great. I think Joe Rome must have sent Marshall a photo of the boat. About a week after the reunion, Marshall called me about the boat. We talked about an hour about Dick and Billy and the boat. I told him that I had built a model of the Ring of Fire and if I ever got down his way I would like to give it to him.

About a week before Christmas, I called Marshall and told him that I would be coming through Memphis on the 27th of December on my way to Texas for the winter. I told him if he could meet me, I would give him the model boat.

I met Marshall at Coleman's BBQ where we visited for almost two hours. He told me all about Dick and Billy driving for him and how he built his own engines.

This was indeed a thrill for me to finally get to meet Marshall in person and talk to him about his involvement in boat racing.

I have posted pictures of the boat in restoration stage and in finished stage, and a picture of Marshall with the model of the Ring of Fire.

Joe Rome called me today to tell me that Marshall called him to tell him about the model boat. He said Marshall sounded like a kid with a new toy. It was an honor for me just to meet Marshall and give him the model.

01-04-2008, 04:02 PM
Did you have that boat at Muskatine, Iowa last summer? If so that is a very beautiful boat!

01-04-2008, 04:23 PM
Yes we were in Muscatine. That was the frist time the boat was shown.

Master Oil Racing Team
01-04-2008, 04:23 PM
Joe told me that you were down now Art, and also how much Marshall talked about you giving him that model. I was amazed at how little boat racing photos and memorobilia Marshall had so he really cherishes it.

Give me a call when you think you might find time to get together. I have to go to the other side of Laredo tommorrow. The hand we hired last year is on his own now, so I will be able to take a day for you guys to come out to our place for dinner and to visit when the timing looks good.

01-04-2008, 05:37 PM
I KNOW how happy Marshal was when you gave him the model just by his smile. Art............you did a wonderful job on the restore. The only thing missing was talking either Dickie or Billy to pose in the boat. I got a chance to see it up close and it is a show quality piece. Definitely a work of "Art". Hope to see you in the near future...............Charley

01-06-2008, 02:14 AM
Thank you, for your hard work. You made my day seeing the beautiful restoration. Obviously a labor of love. I would love to see it in the water.

01-06-2008, 05:36 PM
Will you be in Muscatine for the boat show again this spring? If so, I'll see you there! :)
I look forward to seeing you and the boat! By the way, Ring of Fire is my second favorite Johnny Cash song. One piece at a time is my all time favorite Cash song...but then there's The boy named Sue, oh the list goes on...:D

01-06-2008, 06:34 PM
Jeff............Don't forget the hydro named "A Boat Named Sue"...She was a fast one too.

carl lewis
01-06-2008, 07:47 PM
Hey Art,

do you have a close up of the motor on the model ??

what did you use ?? from your pictures it looks really neat..


01-06-2008, 09:05 PM
Answer to Jeff's question. Yes, we will be in Muscatine this year.

Answer to Carl's question. The motor on the model boat was made out of balsa wood. All hand cut. A few dowell rods, some fishing leaders for plug wires and fuel lines, a rubber band for a timing belt, two brass round head nails for carburetor fast idle adjustment knobs. The prop was cut out of the top of a peanut can. Have posted a couple of photos of a close up of the motor.

Oh, and yes, Marshall had a hydro named "Miss Folsum" that was also very fast.

01-06-2008, 09:13 PM
WOW, amazing detail