Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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Wildroot Charlie Question

By Fred Farley - Unlimited Hydroplane Historian


Fred, do you have any information on the MISS WAYNE and the WILDROOT CHARLIE? They were both Allison-powered and raced in the 1950s. - Duane Herin


MISS WAYNE was designed and built by Dan Arena. She raced during 1955-56-57. The owner was Detroiter Frank "Bud" Saile who did most of the driving. The boat measured 33-1/2 feet and used two Allisons. But unlike most of the other twin-Allison boats, MISS WAYNE's engines were mounted side-by-side--not in tandem like the GALE VI or the SUCH CRUST III or the MISS PEPSI.

MISS WAYNE was just too big and heavy to be competitive with the smaller lighter single-engine Unlimiteds. The boat did reportedly do approximately 163 MPH in a mile trial in 1956 with Jack Regas driving.

After being retired from competition, MISS WAYNE sat on the roof of Dewey's Lumberville in Detroit (together with the second SUCH CRUST IV) for many years as a display.

WILDROOT CHARLIE started life as Joe Schoenith's GALE IV in 1954. She measured 30 feet and used a single Allison engine. Designed and built by Les Staudacher, GALE IV (together with the first GALE V) was half of one of the most successful two-boat racing teams in the history of the sport. With Bill Cantrell driving, GALE IV won the 1954 Indiana Governor's Cup, the 1954 President's Cup, and the 1955 Detroit Memorial Regatta.

Sold to the Buffalo Syndicate in 1957, GALE IV was renamed WILDROOT CHARLIE and raced under that handle during 1957-58. With Bob Schroeder driving, she finished second in National High Points in 1957. It's interesting to note that WILDROOT CHARLIE's former owners (Joe and Lee Schoenith) had a very disappointing 1957 season with GALE V and GALE VI. But the boat that they sold finished ahead of them in every race!

The Buffalo Syndicate replaced WILDROOT CHARLIE with MISS BUFFALO in 1959. Bob Miller of Everett, Washington, bought WILDROOT CHARLIE and campaigned it as MISS EVERETT (1960), CUTIE RADIO (1961), MISS B & I (1962), and U-OWE-TOO (1963). The drivers included Miller, Red Loomis, and Billy Schumacher. She finished fifth in both the 1961 and 1962 Indiana Governor's Cups at Madison.

While qualifying for the 1963 Diamond Cup in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, U-OWE-TOO quite literally fell apart. Although she managed to return to the pits under her own power, the boat was never put back in the water. In later years, a party in Stockton, California, acquired the wreckage and promised to return it to competition, supposedly as MISS STOCKTON. But that never happened.

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