Tag Archives: Atlas Van Lines

Hydros returning to the Tri-Cities. Remember 1984? The last Gold Cup.

23 Jul

The Unlimited Hydroplanes return to the Columbia River this weekend for the 49th time!

The Gold Cup was run in Detroit two weeks ago as the Oberto got the checker.

The APBA Gold Cup – the biggest race in boat racing – was run in the Tri-Cities back in the day. The special event was held in 1973, 1975, 1977 and for the final time in 1984.

Lets go back 30 years and remember the 1984 race.

The race was held on July 29 over a 2 1/2-mile course.

Each boat had to run in three heat sections and the final. Every heat was 6-laps (15 miles) = 60 miles.


All the big-shots were on hand:

Atlas Van Lines, Chip Hanauer

Miss Budweiser, Jim Kropfeld

The Squire Shop, Mickey Remund

Miss Tosti Asti, Steve Reynolds

TC GC 84 qualifying


It was the sixth race of the year and the Miss Budweiser had won three of the prior races, while The Squire Shop and the Atlas Van Lines each had one victory.

This was the first turbine-powered Atlas Van Lines. During qualifying, the Atlas set a world record by running one lap in 145.867 mph before slowing to a crawl just after the finish line as an ominous plume of back smoke was gushing out of the turbine.

The Squire Shop was the top qualifier but encountered a bunch of hull damage Saturday afternoon. A crewman was using a torch, trying to break some glue loose so they could repair some damage brought about by the propeller as told to the media. The Squire Shop, owned by Bob Steil, had to be worked on all night Saturday and Sunday morning.

The Seattle Times headline on Monday:

Dream race just another nightmare

The championship final was basically determined before the starting clock hit zero.

Here’s an excerpt from The Seattle Times’ Glenn Nelson….In the shape-up for the start of yesterday’s grand finale, the Miss Tosti Asti, driven by Seattleite Steve Reynolds, was washed down by the Bud’s roostertail. The Tosti went airborne for about five terrorizing seconds, its control panel destroyed and its turbine engine wheezing to a halt.

Jim Kropfeld and Miss Budweiser were disqualified by race officials. “The officials said we were DQ’d, so we must have deserved it,” said owner Bernie Little.

Then the Squire Shop, the field’s fastest qualifier and owner of a convincing lead over Atlas for one lap, sputtered to a halt after Mickey Remund detected a dangerously low oil level during the middle of the third lap.

Chip Hanauer would go on an easily win his third Gold Cup.

Hanauer 84 GC

This last Gold Cup held in Seattle was in 1985 – Miller American (Hanauer).

The last Gold Cup not held in Detroit was in 1989 – Miss Budweiser (Tom D’Eath).
















Oh Boy! Oberto/Steve David looking for a four-peat on Lake Washington

1 Aug

Steve David and the Oh Boy! Oberto make their annual appearance at the Albert Lee Cup at Seafair unlimited-hydroplane race this weekend on Lake Washington.

Oberto-Seafair 2012

Fresh off a front-running victory in the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup, David could become the first driver to win Seafair four consecutive years since the legendary Bill Muncey (1977-80). Muncey was the toast of the town driving the Atlas Van Lines back in the day.



The past three races on Lake Washington:

Seafair racecourse

2010 – In a terrific duel, probably the best winner-take-all final in Seafair history, the Oberto squared off with the Spirit of Qatar (Dave Villwock). David gained the inside lane and the two of them went toe-to-toe for five excruciating laps. The lead changed a few times but Villwock was unable to stay with David through the turns. David’s time in the Oberto was 143.288 mph, while Villwock finished in 142.714 mph on the 2-mile course. The Oberto’s speed was the fastest ever in a Seafair final.Qatar

2011 – The Oberto hit the score-up buoy at full speed at leap-frogged four boats to nab the inside lane and never looked back. Scott Liddycoat finished second in the Valken.com.

2012 – David once again circled wide in the South turn prior to the final and cruised to the front down the backstretch and was five roostertails ahead, so David moved the Oh Boy! Oberto to Lane 1 before the start. Jimmy Shane finished second in the U5 Graham Trucking. “I was trying to get enough steam rolled up to hold him off, but he hit that thing full-bore, and you really can’t defend that when you are down there parked, no matter how fast your boat accelerates,” Shane said to the media afterwards. “If they are going 180 and you are going 80, they are going to make up five boat lengths real quick.”


Here is a look at Muncey’s four wins:

1977 – It was a tough day as Jerry Bangs was thrown from his boat – The Squire – and was killed in the first preliminary heat of the day. “It all ceases to be very important, including the victory,” said Muncey, after driving the Atlas to his 44th career win. Bangs’ death was the first in a Lake Washington race in 26 years. That was the first year of the race when two died in the Quicksilver. Atlas was an easy winner in the final, followed by the Miss Budweiser. Atlas-77








1978 – Muncey won his 49th career race at the age of 49. He crossed the finish line a whopping 36 seconds ahead of the second-place boat the Miss Budweiser. Muncey ran two extra laps, taking the checkered flag through the haze three times just to make sure. The haze came about after oil started seeping into the Squire Shop’s engine. The blue-gray smoke was so thick that it basically covered the course and it was tough for anyone to see the buoys.

1979 – Steve Reynolds jumped the gun in the Miss Circus Circus and that allowed Muncey to win again as the Circus stayed in front throughout the five-lap final. “Even though I was losing, I wasn’t going to let the Atlas pass me,” Reynolds said to the media. The crowd did not know who won until Reynolds was given the green flag after completing the five laps and Muncey, who was right behind, saw the black and white checker. This was the first year Seafair charged an admission to watch the races.


1980 – Muncey’s Blue Blaster was repaired just in time for the final and on the water he roared down the outside of the course taking the lead into the first turn and his first lap of 129 mph lap on the 2 1/2-mile course was a course record. He was easily best in the final but there was a nervous moment in heat 2B when he went airborne after getting into the Dr. Toyota’s roostertail. The boat received some damage including the tail section of the boat.

In 1981, Muncey had a tough afternoon in the Blue Blaster. He finished 5th in the first heat; didn’t start in the second and his day was done.


Seafair Trophy



4 – Bill Muncey (1977-80)

3 – Dave Villwock (1998-00)

3 – Dave Villwock (2002-04)

3 – Steve David (2010-12)


4 – Slo-mo-shun (1951-54); owned by Stan Sayres (Two hulls Slo-mo-shun IV & Slo-mo-shun V)

4 – Atlas Van Lines (1977-80); owned by Muncey Enterprises

3 – Pay ‘n Pak (1973-75); owned by Dave Heerensperger

3 – Miss Budweiser (1998-00); owned by Bernie Little

3 – Miss Budweiser (2002-04); owned by Bernie Little and Joe Little

3 – Oh Boy! Oberto (2010-12); owned by City of Madison, Ind.

Some photos used are copies from The Seattle Times. http://www.seattletimes.com


Chip Hanauer’s GOLD CUP domination

14 Jul

The Unlimited Hydroplanes are making their annual visit to the Detroit River this weekend for the 104th running of the prestigious APBA Gold Cup.

25 years ago – back in 1988 – Chip Hanauer extended the unthinkable – winning the Gold Cup for a record 7th consecutive year!

Lets take a look at that special run:


1982 – Detroit River, Detroit

Atlas Van Lines (U-00) – Hanauer driving the Atlas (third competitive appearance) for the first time (Bill Muncey had died in an Acapulco crash in 1981) rallied with a daring inside move during the Final Heat to pass the Rollls-Royce Griffin-powered Miss Budweiser (Dean Chenoweth) to win his first Gold Cup. The boat was owned by Fran Muncey and built by Jim Lucero.Legacy of Bill Muncey

1983 – Ohio River, Evansville, Indiana

Atlas Van Lines (U-1) – The first Gold Cup ever run in Evansville on a 2-mile course saw Jim Kropfeld in the Rolls-Royce Griffin-powered Miss Budweiser engine conk out after opening up a commanding lead in the Final Heat; Hanauer then raced to the victory with the American Speedy Printing Too (Jack Schafer, Jr.) finishing a distant second.

1984 – Columbia River, Tri-Cities


Atlas Van Lines (U-1) – For the first time in Gold Cup history – the winner used a turbine engine. The new Atlas, which was co-designed by Jim Lucero and Dixon Smith, was many roostertails ahead of George Johnson in the Executone when Hanauer got the checker.  The Bud blew an engine going into the first turn of Lap 2 of the Final Heat.

1985 – Lake Washington, Seattle


Miller American (U-00) – The Gold Cup was run in Seattle (for the last time) because the city of Houston (which successfully bid $175K in 1983) when bankrupt in 1984 and the Seattle Seafair Committee stepped in. Hanauer won the Final Heat in a breeze, besting the Executone (Scott Pierce).

1986 – Detroit River, Detroit

Miller American (U-1) – Hanauer won all four heats and handled the turbine-powered Miss Budweiser (Jim Kropfeld) in the winner-take-all Final.


1987 – Mission Bay, San Diego

Miller American (U-00) – Hanauer rolls to a sixth consecutive Gold Cup victory and owner Fran Muncey becomes the first to win six straight eclipsing the five-in-a-row win streak of Stan Sayres, set in 1954. The big reason Hanauer won was the blow-over by the “Beer Wagon” boat in the Final Heat. Miss Budweiser, driven by Jim Kropfeld, had won five of the prior six races.Fran Muncey












1988 – Ohio River, Evansville, Indiana


Miss Circus Circus (U-31) – Hanauer entered the weekend driving the Miller High Life entry but the boat suffered hull damage in a collision with the Oh Boy! Oberto during the warm-up for Heat 1A and was withdrawn. Fran Muncey owned both the Circus & Miller High Life and after John Prevost in the Miss Circus Circus got involved in a crash with the Sutphen Spirit during Heat 2A, enter Mr. Hanauer.  Hanauer switched rides and hopped in the “Pink Boat” which used the Miller High Life’s tail assembly and other parts for a winning combo. Hanauer won 3B and the 6-lap Championship Final – beating Mike Hanson in the Sutphen Spirit easily. Miss Budweiser (T-2) in heat 3B went high into the air doing a horrifying backward somersault while leading the Circus by a wide margin. Driver Tom D’Eath emerged shaken but OK.


7-Chip Hanauer (1982-1988(

5-Gar Wood (1917-1921)

5-Dave Villwock (2007-2012, no race in 2008)


5-George Woods, Jr. (1989-93)

3-Steve David (2007, 2009-10)



11-Chip Hanauer

10-Dave Villwock

8-Bill Muncey

5-Gar Wood


6-Steve David

5-Bill Muncey

5-George Woods, Jr.

3-Dave Villwock