We're racing through history!
The Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum is the nation's only public museum dedicated solely to powerboat racing.
Bob Patterson, a long-time resident of Van Nuys, California passed away on May 22nd.
After a recent fall, Bob was hospitalized for a short time. A Navy veteran of the Pacific Theatre(his nickname was Spider) during the Second World War was 95. On the unlimited-side of things, he was a member of the 1956 Hawaii Ka’i III crew doing installation work on that hull. Owner Edgar Kaiser wanted him to remain with the U-8 racing team, but he declined the offer. Bob just could not put up with the soggy cloudy weather of the Puget Sound-area.
For Seattle race fans, he will be remembered for pulling into the Stan Sayres pit area in 1970, his first event as an unlimited owner, towing his U-80, which he built in 1967 as the Parco O-Ring Miss off of Chuck Hickling’s blueprints, with a 1940’s bright-red Beverly Hills fire engine, to that very colorful paint job years later, and to winning on his home waters of San Diego’s Mission Bay in 1986. But, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows at the following race on the schedule, the boat found the bottom of Lake Mead.
Bob’s real claim to fame in Marine Racing will always be his mark in the Cracker Box Class. He began building his first boat in 1949, competing at Long Beach the following year. Over a period of time, Bob was thrown into the drink five times from Cracker Boxes, and once from an SK craft. Through the years he built around a dozen Cracker Boxes and other classes of racing crafts. He once made a promise to his mother, which he kept: would never get behind the wheel of an unlimited. Bob was most proud of saying that not a single one of his drivers EVER GOT HURT driving that U-80 hull. He is survived by a younger brother, Tom, also in his 90’s! At a later date this coming year, a memorial service will be held in Southern California.
My main reason for contacting your organization is to comment that I am the guy who physically built the two Pride of Pay ‘n Pac’s back in the early 70’s while working for Ron Jones when he had his manufacturing facility on 17th st in Costa Mesa CA. I worked for Ron for about 4yrs as a carpenter and during that time I also built Notre Dame, several 7litres, racing tunnel hulls, a pleasure tunnel hull he was trying to develop as a commercial project with Phil Anthony of Anthony Pools and I also physically built the offshore race boat Kudu that revolutionized offshore racing and Betty Cook took to become World Champion. I’m not sure that Ron got the recognition deserved for how he revolutionized tunnel hull racing, of which the Italians adopted, and how Kudu revolutionized offshore racing. I was a carpenter but he had me build Pay n Pac and Kudu out of the honeycomb aluminum that was so ahead of its time, what a brilliant man. I delivered boats all over the country when they were finished, Ogden Utah, Seafair, etc. I left his employment as he was moving his operation back to Seatle and as I had just gotten married I needed to stay in southern cal. After leaving Ron I went back to building and became a contractor and developer here in Orange County. I still say after all these yrs that the greatest and most fun time I’ve ever had working were those few years I spent with Ron. To get to know Ted, who became somewhat of a mentor to me during that time was a great honor and he is probably the finest gentleman I’ve ever met. To this day I still thank Ron for those days as the best and at times talk about them as they were just yesterday.
Anyway just a bit of trivia. Regards Daryl Stoneham.
The Video Vault is a private Group, on our web site, that provides Museum members access to hundreds of hours of hydroplane video footage. Some of the footage is very rare, not seen in public for decades. Here is how you can join!