Johnny Cash & boat racing

In the new Vintage Hydroplane Plans section on TVH website, is an article with the plans for building a 280 cu in hydro by Wally Milosevich. That in itself is really interesting reading, but the cover photo is a blast too. Johnny Cash sitting on his bass player’s outboard racing craft. Check out the pic here if you haven’t seen it yet. I’ll post the article later….

HOT ROD magazine 97 Flathead Manifold Smackdown

Most days are pretty good here at Stromberg, but some are off the freakin’ scale. And today is one. We got the new HOT ROD Magazine 65th Anniversary issue today, and it’s crammed with new 97s. There are three on Dan Webb’s beautiful So-Cal Streamliner recreation (which we featured here a short time ago – click this link). And five pages-full in the ‘Ford Flathead V8 Intake Manifold Smackdown’.

We quote, “Several companies offer Stromberg lookalikes, but H&H says the best, most reliable and least troublesome are the real Strombergs made by the re-formed company, now from England.”

If you haven’t got the magazine already, we urge you to do quickly as it won’t available after 11th December 2012, and it’s packed with great features by the HRM team. We’ve scanned the relevant pages and added them here for when the mag’s no longer on the stands. Who were the winners? Navarro, pretty much, though the Edelbrock Slingshot 2×2 acquitted itself very well, too. The winners are summarised on page 104 – the last page below. Huge thanks, of course, to Marlan Davis at HRM. Dan Webb and of course, Mike Herman at Stromberg dealer H&H Flatheads for helping organise the awesome feature and helping us get involved.

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(Editor’s Note — Don’t know how all this works for hydro motors running the flatheads, but thought some of you may find it of interest. This article was originally posted on

World’s Smallest Production V8 Engine


Every so often, we hear about something like Gary Conley’s 1/4-scale V8 engine that catches our attention. Gary is a machinist and hot rodder from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and his latest endeavor, the supercharged “Stinger 609,” is the first-ever mass produced miniature V8 engine. You may remember our first look at fully operational, scale gas engines in TRJ #29 when we featured a beautifully crafted miniature Offenhauser built by Broomfield, Colorado’s, Ron Bement.
The Stinger 609 has its roots in one of Gary’s projects from the late-’90s when he was contacted by Chrysler and licensed to engineer and build a scale version of their Dodge Viper V-10. Several years later, a fire at the foundry destroyed everything except the molds for the V-10 heads. With years worth of work obliterated, Gary set about designing an entirely new engine based on a shortened, eight-cylinder version of the original ten-cylinder heads. Aside from the modified cylinder heads, everything was designed from scratch, and the new engines even featured the distributor mounted out front at an angle as a nod to some of Gary’s favorite V8s from the past.

With the exception of the actual castings, Gary handles everything in house. He machines the molds used to create wax models which are then sent to a foundry where components are gravity cast using the investment casting process (also known as lost wax). The individual components are then machined, assembled, and tested in Gary’s shop. It’s an extremely labor intensive process, but the result is essentially a hand-made miniature 6.09 cubic-inch V8 capable of producing nine horsepower at 10,000 rpm in its supercharged version.

The naturally aspirated Stinger 609 costs right around $5,700, while the blown version is available for $7,500. Gary’s first production run of 40 engines sold out before they were completed. He is now in the middle of another production run of 70 engines, but those, too, are already spoken for. “I sell them all over the world,” he says. “Every corner of the U.S., Sweden, Indonesia, Greece, Russia, and many to Africa and Australia.” Many of the buyers are engine collectors who display and run them on engine stands in their private collections and museums, while others opt for installing them in quarter-scale remote control boats or automobiles.

Gary is a hot rodder himself, with a blown Chevy-powered Deuce Vicky in his garage and one of seven ’62 Ford M-Code Thunderbirds on the way, so he also offers scale hot rods to go with his mini mills. He offers Stinger 609’s installed in a fully functional, quarter-scale ’23 T-bucket or ’34 Ford roadster and he’s got a 1/4 scale rear-engined dragster in the works as well. You can see the Stinger 609 run at Gary’s website,

Your friends at The Rodder’s Journal

Miss U.S.

George, JJ and I have been busy working on U 36 since our last outing at Buffalo last September. In the past four months we have made numerous changes and modifications to the boat to improve the performance of the old girl in general, particularly performance on the one mile courses which seem to be common on the vintage circuit. Last year the best we were able to see on RPM was about 2800 at 52 inches of manifold. Calculated max speed was in the 130’s at Buffalo with these power numbers. Even so she put on a pretty good show at Buffalo but she appeared heavy and had some difficulty flying as she should.

To make her better, for starters we have replaced the original WW2 oil cooler with a modern San Juan unit which will save about 70 pounds in the nose. We also have removed the alternator system which will reduce the weight in the nose by another twenty pounds. At Chamberlain and Buffalo she was nearly full of fuel which with the one hundred gallon capacity tanks was six hundred pounds of fuel we were lugging around. We will be cutting that amount by half or to about fifty gallons for each session, another 300 pounds out of the hull.

Additionally, due to a leak in the intake system pop off valve we were not able to attain manifold pressure beyond the fifty two inch level at Buffalo This pop off was something someone added sometime in the engines past. It seemed like a good idea so we retained it in 2012 but have now eliminated it returning to the original stock manifold which should raise the blower pressure, torque and horsepower. We know that the Allison is prone to backfires and damage to the blower housing so we will have to be careful to not allow backfires from this point forward.

We also discovered a problem with the intake annulus which was improperly installed causing a mis-direction of the fuel/air mixture in the intake manifolds. We think this contributed to the over rich condition on the starboard cylinder bank as can be seen in the videos as the boat comes off of the turns. We also discovered the gasket under the carburetor had no vent hole for the injector nozzle. We’re not sure what affect that had last year but it certainly affected something and has now been corrected.

The forward half of the cockpit floor has been lowered three inches allowing the throttle pedal to the moved ahead almost a foot. This will make things much more comfortable for the driver and also allow him to sit closer to the wheel which will provide better mechanical advantage and better control thru the arm muscles.

George designed and installed a new mixture setup which incorporates the control stick handle from a military aircraft. The gun trigger function will now activate the starter and one red button will activate the primer system. To have redundancy in the start system we will also retain the original start/mag rotary switch and primer toggle on the panel. A panel toggle switch will allow activation or deactivation of the booster coil function. We will be trying both settings to see how she best fires up out of the water prop unloaded and in water with a load.

This past weekend George and I displayed the boat at the Lincoln, Nebraska boat show. It was a huge success with over twenty thousand attending the 3 day event. That’s an excellent turnout for Lincoln, Nebraska. We had many interested people stopping by to see the boat, view the videos and ask many questions. At one point I counted fifteen people in our booth and four more on the back, bottom side. Many were fascinated with the propeller and its relative small size. I have attached a few shots of the show above for your perusal.

The boat is ready to go and we are thinking about attending the Tavares, Florida event next month. As you can imagine it is an expensive deal to tow down there and back from Nebraska and we are hopeful of some sponsorship to help with those and other costs. If you know of anyone wanting their company name on Miss U.S., have them contact me. We will appreciate it. Hopefully will see at least some of you in Florida in a few weeks.

Best Regards to all,
Jay Armstrong

Miss  U S Lincoln 2013 Boat Show

Miss US Lincoln 2013 Boat Show

Soap Lake Hydroplane Regatta returning

Published on Feb 6, 2013

SOAP LAKE (VIDEO) – While it may be months away, excitement is already building behind a boat race that’s been grounded for the past three decades — the Soap Lake Hydroplane Regatta. Vintage hydroplanes will also be on the schedule and in attendance.