Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

We're racing through history!

By Fred Farley  -  H1 Unlimited Historian


Fred, do you know what Horace Dodge, Jr., did with the original MY SWEETIE?  -  Dick Degener


Regarding the original MY SWEETIE, the following story was told to me by Al D'Eath (father of Tom and Roger), who was an employee of Horace Dodge, Jr., in the early 1950s.

Horace never owned any of the boats that he raced; his mother (Anna Thompson Dodge) did. She controlled Horace's money until the day he died.

By 1951, the original MY SWEETIE had seen its better days and needed to be retired and replaced. (The 1951 Gold Cup at Seattle was its last race.) But Horace was in disfavor with his mother at the time. She wouldn't give him money for a new boat. But she would authorize repairs to the old one.1949 - "My Sweetie" - Unlimited Hydroplane - U-3

Al and Horace cooked up a scheme with Les Staudacher. They hauled the old boat up to Staudacher's plant in Bay City, Michigan, where they burned the hull. Staudacher sent Mrs. Dodge a bill for repairs to the old boat. But it was really for construction of a new one. They figured that, since the old lady only visited the boat shop about once every five years, she would never know the difference.

This explains why the origin of the second MY SWEETIE was deliberately shrouded in mystery during the years that followed. There was no press announcement and the media apparently never got wind of it. Adding to the confusion was the arrival of a third MY SWEETIE, which showed up at the 1953 President's Cup and which became DORA MY SWEETIE during 1954-55-56.

It should be noted that, before burning the original MY SWEETIE, Horace sawed off about three feet of the bow to keep as a souvenir. Many years later, after Horace had died, the bow was mounted on a plaque (like a moosehead) and displayed at the Detroit race.

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Comment by Bob Rosa on April 4, 2016 at 4:43pm

A very good friend of mine,related being with his father whom worked for Les, when the father actually sawed the nose off of MY SWEETIE. The nose was mounted in one of the Jefferson street marinas in Detroit. I took this photo during the 2006 Gold Cup race. It is very correct that the rest of the hull was burned.

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