METEOR V

During the summer of 1972, after returning from the Vietnam War,  Mark Mason continued a search for a Gar Wood speedboat, which he had been told about for 3 or 4 years.  The story had been told, that a big Gar Wood Speedboat lay in an old apple orchard in Parma, Michigan.  At long last, leads turned up a Delta Airline Pilot, Douglas Campbell, who was the owner of the “Orchard”, and lived in his family homestead, a magnificent 1840′s Octagonal farmhouse. When questioned about the whereabouts of the illusive Garwood,  Campbell flatly denied having a Gar Wood.. But a moment later admitted that he did have a old Hacker speedboat in his barn where it had lain since the 1920′s.  Within an hour, Mason was in the ancient barn crawling through what turned out to be a 1922 John Hacker Gold Cup raceboat.  Campbell must have been amused by the young Mason’s enthusiasm for his boat and kindly offered to sell it for $1,000 and included storing the boat for as long as Mason wished.

Mason began researching his new acquisition and found her to be METEOR V, which bore the racing number G-4 in the Mississippi Valley racing circuit and the Gold Cup racer originally campaigned by W.B. Wilde of Peoria, Illinois, who set seven world records in hydroplane racing.  Mason soon found a marine converted WWI Hispano-Suiza aircraft engine in new, unused condition. During the evenings and weekends of the next few years Mason got the behemoth engine fitted into the hull and actually running in time for the very first gathering of Vintage Gold Cup Boats at Lake George in 1977. She shook, rattled and rolled and won the hearts of all who saw her run.   At this time Mason also owned a 28 Foot Chris-Craft called BIRCHES and during that same summer located and purchased the legendary Gold Cup Champion, BABY BOOTLEGGER. Slightly excess inventory for a 31 year old aspiring collector.  So the next year,  West Coast collector Ernest Kanzler, Jr., heard she might be for sale and flew East to see METEOR V at Lake George.   When he arrived at the boatyard, where she was moored, Ernie was so excited to see her that he walked straight off the end of the dock, with two Nikon cameras around his neck. Ernie bought her on the spot that day and took her back to his home in Newport Beach, California. He later ran her on the waters near his island summer home off Friday Harbor, Washington in Puget Sound.  Another decade or so later, “Cap” and Barb Peckham tracked down and purchased ‘Meteor’ from Kanzler and had her beautifully restored. Today she is a center piece in their collection near Big Bear Lake, California.