Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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1951 U-37 Slo-mo-shun V

Reprinted from Skid Fin Magazine, 2003, Volume 1 Number 2

The Slo-mo-shun V, owned by Stan Sayers and driven by Lou Fagel, won the first unlimited hydroplane race held in Seattle, the 1951 Gold Cup. She was designed and built by the incomparable team of Ted Jones and Anchor Jensen, who had also collaborated with Sayers on the 1950 Gold Cup winner Slo-mo-shun IV. The V – like the IV – was a three-point prop-rider. The important difference between the Slo-mo’s and the previous prop-riders like the My Sin resulted from the elimination of the rear-planing surface. The third riding surface was actually the propeller, which cut the drag tremendously and permitted much greater speeds. The Slo-mo-shun V was 28 feet long, and at 12 feet wide, she was 6 inches wider then her older sister. The V was designed to have better acceleration than the IV. Both the Slo-mo-shun boats were powered with 1710 cubic inch V-12 engines.

The V was launched just a few days before the Gold Cup and was the first boat to qualify, with an average speed of 91.37 mph. She was clearly much faster than that: she ran a competition lap of 108.663 on her way to winning the first and second heats. The Slo-mo was leading the third heat when it was canceled after the Quicksilver crashed. The V was declared the winner based on her performance in heats one and two.

The next weekend Ted Jones drove the V to victory in the first Seafair race. The Slo-mos only went to one race in 1952. The IV won the race, but the V failed to finish. In 1953 the V went back east and won the Presidents Cup. The following year the V used a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine to capture the 1954 Gold Cup. This was the last victory for the mighty Slo-mo-shun team. The next year saw the V blow over backwards, doing a perfect 360-degree loop while attempting to quality for the 1955 race.

Sayers sold the damaged V to a group of Seattle businessmen who raced her from 1956 to 1962 as the Miss Seattle. She appeared in the mid- 1960s at several races under the names Berryessa Belle and Miss Tri Cities.

In 1991 Ken Muscatel, Bruce McCaw and Howard Leendersten teamed up to buy the boat and restore her. The restoration work, completed at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum, was let by museum volunteer Roger Newton. When the restoration was completed, Ted Jones commented, "She looks better than she did when she was new."

The "Mo" is now owned exclusively by Bruce McCaw.

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