SEATTLE – When the vintage piston-powered hydros run on Lake Washington next week in the PEMCO Classic, the fleet will be even older than originally planned.
Seattle's Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum has been scrambling to finish restoring two boats from a more-recent era, the 1980 Miss Budweiser and 1982 Atlas Van Lines. But a broken leg and torn shoulder suffered by key project leaders have delayed progress. So, two older hydros will take their place on Sunday, Aug. 4, in the PEMCO Classic vintage-hydro heat, part of the General Motors Cup at SEAFAIR.
Five hydros altogether will run in the PEMCO Classic. The boats, and the years they were built, are: Hawaii Kai III (1957), Miss Burien (1960), Miss Century 21 (1959), Miss Madison (1961), and Miss Budweiser (1962). All are open-cockpit craft that use Allison or Rolls-Merlin engines from World War II fighter planes. Just before the final heat of the General Motors Cup, they'll take a warm-up lap followed by the PEMCO Classic three-lap exhibition race.
"People on shore and watching on TV will be in for a treat," said David Williams, executive director of the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum. "These boats are colorful, loud, and brimming with nostalgia. It's neat that Century 21 is running during the 40th anniversary of the World's Fair. And Miss Madison will give fans a preview of the MGM feature film 'Madison' that comes out this fall."
Hydro fans can view the vintage boats up close during race week when they visit the Stan Sayres Pits at Lake Washington.