While we’re not the biggest boat racing fans in the world here we do love old hydroplanes. They looked like proper waterborne hot rods, kind of like the Batmobile, and they always had massive engines in the front of them and a driver sitting out back, trying to manage it all. Basic and brutal, they were the fastest racing boats of their time and this film takes us to their golden age.
You’re about to watch highlights from the 1953 Gold Cup Regatta which was held in Seattle, Washington and as it had already done for so many years, represented the pinnacle of racing on water. We mostly (and rightly) associate a lot of the Gold Cup history of the Detroit area but the event did move around over the years. Highly exclusive, super expensive, and driven by massive egos boat racing is pretty unique among American motorsports history.
In this case, six boats were entered and they raced around a 3.75-mile course. Their lithe wooden bodies were stuff full of Allison V12 aircraft engine and they used all those cubic inches and all that horsepower to average more than 100mph per lap of the huge course.
Less than 10 years outside of WWII, American was feeling its oats. It was already in love with horsepower but that love would continue to morph into the kind of amazing fanaticism that continues to power racing and motorsport across the country.
Sound, narration, and killer angles make this professional look back at the race something special. Big egos, big horsepower, and big speed! Watch this.