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I have a question for all of you Slo-mo-shun fans.  I am currently working at the Detroit Historical Museum entering photographs of hydroplanes to their collections database which will eventually be available for viewing for everyone. Today I came across a photo of Slo-mo-shun IV taken on the Detroit River.  The Whittier Hotel can be seen in the background so I am sure the river is Detroit.

Since the boat was only here in 1950 and again in 1956 I was sure the picture was from 1950, but the picture clearly shows the raised strips running down the deck just above the number which I thought were not added until after 1950. Only a driver is present in the cockpit so I am assuming the photo is from the 1950 Gold Cup Race. Did the boat have these strips of wood in 1950?

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Ahhh Sherlock, the plot thickens!

Well then.  If, by chance, this isn't Detroit, then where is it?  Since she did not appear on any other water than Seattle, or the Detroit River, outside a brief "no contest" on Lake Mead in 1950, it would have to be one of those.  The "V" did appear back east a couple times, but not the "IV".  Given the date of the picture, and that much would have changed to the shoreline since then, only an older person, who was around at that time, might recognize it.  If my calculations do turn out to be correct after all, there's a possibility that this was maybe shot while testing on Lake Washington.  Again, the shoreline looked a lot different back then.  Also, Sayres was only then, building his home at Hunts Point, near Bellevue.  He was actually living near the 'western' shore of the lake at that time, near Sand Point.  Maybe, just maybe, this shot is looking west, from another boat on the lake, and catching what was then the shoreline, somewhere near the Sand Point area. (I say west, because if it were looking east, we'd see the Cascade Mountains in the background)  But, it could also be the Detroit River, if it were taken from a spot not normally used in hydro pictures.  And given the years, would look much different today.  Is anyone else out there, that might shed some light on this 1950 shoreline?

Rob
 
Randall E. Roe said:

For sure! Your shot is absolutely the Detroit River. Mine, I'm not sure now that it's enlarged. It was from an article about the 1950 Harmsworth, a prelude type article. I had thought the judges stand was in the background, but that's not it. Anybody recognize the background ?

To Robert Frank and Randall Roe,

Thanks, guys for your responses.  Randall, I have my doubts that the picture you posted was taken on the Detroit River. I have been attending the races since the 1950s, although I wasn't there in 1950, (I was only 5 years old then), but have been collecting pictures ever since, and I have never seen that one.  The background looks totally unfamiliar to me.  My wife disagrees, but she has only been watching since we were married in 1965--a real newbie!

Robert, in the picture I am referring to, there was no mechanic, only the driver riding alone.  But you raise another question: I thought the boats were required to have both a driver and mechanic for the Harmsworth? I have newspaper photos from 1949 and all three of the American defenders show both. Was this rule waived or changed in 1950? And I also have a picture, from the Detroit Times, which is captioned, "Slo-mo-shun reaches Detroit after long haul"---with no stripes!

At any rate, as soon as my friends at the Detroit Historical Society post the picture in question on their website I will let you know and you can then take a look.  Stay tuned!

I also have a newspaper copy of that same photo that was a quarter page enlargement, but cropped a little tighter. The line above it says: "U. S. Speedboat Kings Ready to Defend Harmsworth". It was in a scrapbook I got at a flea market, and any newspaper identification or date has been trimmed off. The other one looks like it was probably from "Motorboating" magazine. All of the other newspaper photos in the scrapbook appear to be from The Detroit News.

OK, one last remark, and then I'm getting off of here for a while. (the wife is calling, and at this age, I grab it when I can!)  Am attaching an additional pic.  It shows Fageol & Welcsh, AND the screwed down wood stripe.  Reasonably sure it was shot in Detroit sometime during the Gold Cup - Harmsworth time.  I'm really doubting that they would have 'added' the stripes between races.  Maybe, but I doubt it.  If they arrived in Detroit "stripe-less", they most likely added it before the Gold Cup.  But, I'm still sure that they were added in Seattle, before they left for Detroit.  From the picture you guys are talking about - can you confirm, from the background, etc., that the shot was, in fact, done in Detroit.  Or could it have been from, say, a 'press kit' put out by the team?  The human race is biting it's nails awaiting the resolution of this majestic mystery.

Rob


 
Tim Matyn said:

To Robert Frank and Randall Roe,

Thanks, guys for your responses.  Randall, I have my doubts that the picture you posted was taken on the Detroit River. I have been attending the races since the 1950s, although I wasn't there in 1950, (I was only 5 years old then), but have been collecting pictures ever since, and I have never seen that one.  The background looks totally unfamiliar to me.  My wife disagrees, but she has only been watching since we were married in 1965--a real newbie!

Robert, in the picture I am referring to, there was no mechanic, only the driver riding alone.  But you raise another question: I thought the boats were required to have both a driver and mechanic for the Harmsworth? I have newspaper photos from 1949 and all three of the American defenders show both. Was this rule waived or changed in 1950? And I also have a picture, from the Detroit Times, which is captioned, "Slo-mo-shun reaches Detroit after long haul"---with no stripes!

At any rate, as soon as my friends at the Detroit Historical Society post the picture in question on their website I will let you know and you can then take a look.  Stay tuned!

OK, here  is what my expert says: Driver and Riding Mechanic, no planks = 1950 Gold Cup, Driver only, Detroit River=Silver Cup, Driver and Riding Mechanic with the planks=Harmsworth. Planks continue for '51,52 with stepped tail.

Tim;

I've been in touch with Dave Williams at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Seattle.  He wrote me back:

"Rob, the engine stringers of the Slo Mo IV had some stress cracks that were discovered after the 1950 Gold Cup, but before the Silver Cup.  The red planks were added to act as trusses to relieve some of the load on the stringers.  They stayed on the boat until it was redecked before the start of the 1953 season."

So - it would appear that your question about weather or not she had been damaged in some way, wasn't too far off after all !  Presuming Dave's comments are accurate, and I certainly don't doubt his expertise, then it looks like the answer to your original question, way back at the beginning of all this would be;  The Slo-Mo-Shun IV arrived in Detroit "without" the strips and proceeded to race, and win the Gold Cup.  After receiving some stress damage, she was fitted out with the wooden strips some time before the Silver Cup.  Still not sure if was before the Harmsworth, but most evidence would indicate it was, which was run a couple days before the Silver Cup.  She did not finish the Silver Cup, after having won the first heat, due to drive shaft cracking.  The news accounts of the Harmsworth say that Fageol drove alone, due to Jones's broken hand, and Sayres and others wanting a younger person to drive.  I know the rules indicated two persons must be in the boat, but they must have gotten around it somehow?  And that Welcsh re-joined Fageol, as mechanic, for the Silver Cup.  This leaves me to believe that your picture is from the Harmsworth race.

Whewwww, Rob
 
Tim Matyn said:

To Robert Frank and Randall Roe,

Thanks, guys for your responses.  Randall, I have my doubts that the picture you posted was taken on the Detroit River. I have been attending the races since the 1950s, although I wasn't there in 1950, (I was only 5 years old then), but have been collecting pictures ever since, and I have never seen that one.  The background looks totally unfamiliar to me.  My wife disagrees, but she has only been watching since we were married in 1965--a real newbie!

Robert, in the picture I am referring to, there was no mechanic, only the driver riding alone.  But you raise another question: I thought the boats were required to have both a driver and mechanic for the Harmsworth? I have newspaper photos from 1949 and all three of the American defenders show both. Was this rule waived or changed in 1950? And I also have a picture, from the Detroit Times, which is captioned, "Slo-mo-shun reaches Detroit after long haul"---with no stripes!

At any rate, as soon as my friends at the Detroit Historical Society post the picture in question on their website I will let you know and you can then take a look.  Stay tuned!

Robert,

Thanks so much for your follow up and answer.  I didn't realize that the Slo-mo IV was even in the Silver Cup.  After checking the dates of the various races in 1950 as shown in "Hydro's Who's Who" your answer makes perfect sense. With the Gold Cup run on July 22nd, and the Harmsworth run on September 2nd, it sounds reasonable that the crew would have given the boat a complete "physical" prior to the Harmsworth and made any necessary repairs then.

Again, as soon as the photo I originally talked about is available on line I will let you know.  I think you will find it to be a very interesting picture.

Tim

Well, just to confirm  this photo, at the Gold Cup this weekend, there on the Pit Tower is a photo of Peps V right behind our truck witht the same background and  you can read clearly "DetroitMotorboat and Yacht Basin on the building in the background.

Thanks to all who have added to this discussion. The picture I was referring to in my original post is now available for viewing on the Detroit Historical Society's website.  The address is detroithistorical.org  Then click on the tab marked "collections", then the tab "view collection" and key in the search term "hydroplanes" to see all of the pictures that have been posted.  I am sure there will be some you have never seen before.  The picture of Slo-mo IV is number 2013.103.205

The pictures are displayed in numerical order, the number assigned when they are entered.

Tell your friends!

Randall, sorry I missed seeing you.  Didn't have a pit pass so I didn't see the picture you referred to.  Good race, glad to see Oberto finally get their Gold Cup.

Just Looked at the Slo-Mo IV photo, I guess we narrowed it down to Fageol in the Harmsworth. The Building in the background on the photo I had is at the end of the dock that goes to Gregory's, looks bigger in the old photo than it really is. There is a photo in the UD data base that has both the judges stand and Yacht basin building in it and it's not as big as the judges stand. So it's between the Start/finish line and "Piston Park" or what they used to call the Seaplane base.

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