GILFORD _ John Goodhue III and his brother, Tup, got to take a ride on Lake Winnipesaukee Wednesday morning on Hellzapoppin II, a Gold Cup racer designed and built by their father, John Goodhue Jr., at his Weymouth, Mass, boat shop in 1947.
The 23-foot-long race boat was recently restored by Mike Michaud of Acton, Maine, after having spent 60 years in storage, and was taken out on the lake to celebrate the 114th anniversary of their father's birth.
“It’s an unbelievable boat, very responsive and fun to drive. It’s the first time its been in the water in 68 years,” said John Goodhue III after taking the boat for a short ride on the lake from the public docks in Glendale.
“My dad was a magician with a boat,” said Goodhue, adding that he is hoping to take the boat to Saturday’s annual New Hampshire Boat Museum boat show in Alton Bay.
He said that the boat had a radical bottom design with step-like indents and an outboard rudder with a built-in hydrofoil as well. “It was designed to compete against the top Gold Cup racers in the world, guys like the Dodge Brothers and Guy Lombardo, who had unlimited budgets for their boats,” said Goodhue.
John Goodhue Jr. designed Hellzapoppin II to be powered by a 773-cubic-inch displacement Ranger Model V-770 / V-12 air-cooled engine which produced 520 horsepower. The engine was actually upside down in the boat and produced plenty of power, but the V-drive configuration never panned out and it was replaced with a 454-cubic-inch Chevrolet V-8 engine. Its hull is made from marine plywood covered with fabric.
The boat was mentioned as a Gold Cup contender in a May, 1949 article in Motor Boating magazine. The story included boat racing names like Henry Kaiser, Danny Arena, Guy Lombardo, and Stanley Dollar, among others. It even referenced the new Miss Canada IV Greavette factory challenger from Ontario, Canada, with a 2700 h.p. V-12 Griffin Rolls-Royce engine.
But the boat never raced in the Gold Cup and was put into storage in 1950, where it remained until six years ago, when Michaud started the restoration project.
“He did a great job,”said Goodhue of the restoration project, noting that most of the boat’s original features have been preserved.
Goodhue said his father built hundreds of boats for the military during World War II at his Weymouth Boat Yard, specializing in 70-foot long patrol boats made from plywood and he completed a boat every day. “He’d start on Monday and launch it on Friday,” the son said.
He said his father moved the family back to the Lakes Region in 1950 and bought a boat business in Glendale, where he continued to build boats. The marina burned in 1960 and was replaced with a new building which was sold to the state in the mid-1960s and became headquarters for Marine Patrol.