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I have an original copy of: Unlimited Hydro Plane News, August 1, 1957. On the back it lists the statistics on the boats that raced. When they list the boats that had Allisons there are several different versions listed... What are these differences?

Also, What did Howard Gidovlenko (Avia-Union) do to Allisons that made them so much faster, back in the day? 


Allison - 113

Allison - "W"

Allison - G-6

Allison - 111

Allison - 117



Steve Wilkie

A&P, I.A.

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Steve, if you want to know all the real facts, the Holy Grail is a book that came out about ten years ago called "Vee for Victory", it is the complete story of the Allison engine from start to finish. There were series of engines from A to G. After reading that book, I believe the claims of boats running G-6's are smoke and mirrors, I could be wrong, but they were made in small numbers and I would be surprised if they were available at all. The two stage supercharged engines, as used in Maverick,$Bill, Tahoe Miss were E series engines. The three digit # I believe has more to do with the specific application, like a P-38 had two engines that had oppisite propeller rotation, so they would have different numbers, i.e 118,119.

Steve, I'll load you up with some Allison info! As I said before there were  Letter series, but there was a corresponding number too. C series is the first with a supercharger., D was for  "Pusher Prop" planes, E was for "Remote" installation, a la P-39/ P-63. The E9 is the first "Aux. Stage" engine, (also called a -47) E11 is the first large prod. run of Aux. Stage engines, (also called a -93) used in large number of P-63's. F series was the major series with 48,000 produced. FYI, the specific numbers  you listed were used as follows: 113, (this was also  called F30L) = P38L,  111 (F30R) = P38L. This is a Right and Left-handed pair. The 117, I believe is a typo, there is no listing between -115 and -119. The -119  (F32R) was used in the experimental P-51J lightweight Mustang. The G-6 (L/R) was for the twin Mustang P-82 , only 750 were built. The G series had  improved engine stage superchargers  with 10 1/4 impellers vs the old 9 1/2 inch of all the earlier engines.

The "W" engines were called that because of the physical layout of four banks of cylinders instead of two as on the V-1710 engines, but their official designation was V-3420(Thats 3420 cubic inches!)

Mr. Roe!

I can't Thank You Enough for giving me all this great information. It's just what I needed (and what I thought)!

I will find a copy of "Vee for Victory" and will learn all about these amazing engines... and the people that built them, for boats, thanks to you.

The air-race/ aircraft restoration people, and todays builders of these engines, don't like boat guys very much; they bought them -back then -cheap, and destroyed them, as I've found-out talking to them?!? That seems to be their thinking nowdays. 

But, what a glorius way to use "surplus" stuff in the '50-'60's, right? What cool boats raced with these engines!!

I would also like to recommend that you find a copy of: I kept No Diary by, Air Commodore F.R. (Rod) Banks. (ISBN 0 904543 9 7) 1978 &1983. It details the history and the development of fuel, ie: gasoline (and the wild combos) to feed the Allison and Rolls-Royse engines, and other engines: 1914-1957, if you're into this kind-of history...

Steve Wilkie




Sounds interesting, Steve. I've heard the airplane guys lament before but truth be told, they learned from each other and a lot of the boatracing mods keep the planes flying. You put Dixon Smith and Dwight Thorne together and that was  a heck of a lot of Merlin knowledge there.

It really bothers me that Rolls-Royce gets so much credit for their Merlin engines in hydroplane racing. If it weren't for Packard there would be no Merlins in an American boat.

Let's refer to these engines as Packard built Merlins, from now on!

I'm late on this, sorry.  Another source for Allison specifications is any of the Jane's All the World's Aircraft.  Go to any large library and look for this book between the years of 1945 and 1950.  You will find a lot of Allison data.  The caveat is that this data is stock Allison specs, prior to the boat racers getting their hands on them.  Another source is the web site usedbooksearch.co.uk, Hope this helps


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