Hydrocart History

A few posts back on this bulletin, I posted some info/pics on a hydrocart someone had. Another email was just r’cd on these unique lil’ raceboats, I thought I’d share along with some neat photos.

Hi Phil —
Thanks for taking the time and posting these jpegs . My father, Craig Bowman helped found the National Hyrokart Association in 1963. He was working in a friend’s fiberglass shop in El Monte, CA where the owner and his son were getting into boat building and racing. Since my dad was the lightest weight guy at the shop, he was recruited to be their driver. The attached photos were from a meet on Oct 6th, 1963 at Lake Ming in Bakersfield, CA where dad won the inboard division on a Dolphin hydrokart. The membership card was designed by my dad when they started the association earlier in the season. He was charging about $20 to register and join, which entitled you to a booklet of meets and rules & regs, etc. that was advertised in the back of a popular boating magazine at the time.

Letters began pouring in from all over, and he was even contacted by a man in Russia who was compiling a government-issued almanac on boat racing and very interested in the hydrokart phenomenon… At this point, my dad got a little nervous as he had accumulated $3-400 dollars of membership dues and wasn’t quite sure what to do next — it all happened very quickly.  Eventually it was funneled into proper usage for NHA activities and the rest is history, but I thought hydrokart enthusiats might enjoy this bit of history and vintage photos.

Eric Bowman

Miss Thriller

Miss Thriller

Dave R. found this on the internet. Note the big aircraft engines. The ‘Sea Sled’ name sounds like a good description for the hull. The boat reminds me of the thrill jet boats that I’ve taken at tourist destinations. Big motor in back with a few church pews in front for all the paying customers.

The Missing and Deadly Miss Thriller
Miss Thriller
, a 28-foot Sea Sled was returning to the docks at Arnolds Park Sunday night July 28, 1929, with 17 aboard when she was struck and sank by another passenger boat, Zipper. Nine passengers aboard Miss Thriller died in the accident. She sank in 90 feet of water more than one-half mile south of Dixon Beach. Miss Thriller was pulled to the surface, towed to Terrace Park Beach and hauled onto shore July 3, 1930 to salvage her twin airplane engines. What happened to her hull is not clear. Some say she was put on exhibit at fairs and carnivals. Other say a grieving parent doused her with gasoline and burned her up. There doesn’t seem to be a written account to confirm either story. There are, or were, other craft on the bottom of West Lake Okoboji.

Yep, sounds like the right boat from the description. Regards, Dave Richardson

Hydro ID needed

Webmaster, Could you please post this on your site:  I am new to this whole thing and obtained  this relic and would like to know what direction to go in:  Thank you for your help.
I would like some help with any information on this hull.  I realize it is is rough shape but have very little to go on.  The hull I am told is from the New England area and the motor is a Ford 4 cyl. with the AUTOMOTIVE MACHINE from Revere, MA. painted on the value cover.  Ser. #70HM6015BA.
The hull is said to be a Sooy but the cowling that was with the boat has a distinctive little hump on the top edge as you can see in the picture.  The original color appears to be white.
Hope someone recognizes it and can provide some insight. Timothy S.

photo album updates

The photo albums on the website have all been “freshened up”. We are currently sitting at almost 1700 photos now in our archives. Please report any problems or broken links. I would also like to add — PLEASE don’t be taking ANY of these photos and placing them on your facebook pages. These pics are copyrighted by the owners! They have graciously spent their time scanning, filing, emailing them and are allowing us to host them. If you want to add them to facebook, PLEASE Email the photo’s owner and ask them first. It’s the right thing to do.

We also added 2 more photo albums. One from Gordy Gillmer and the other from Art McDougall (R.I.P.). Great photos in both photo albums!

Phil Spruit

Gordy Gillmer and Fred Leland having a talk before the heat.