1952 Coast Guard Gold Cup
Kaiser Sees Plot on Life In Sabotage of His Boats
By the United Press
Lake Tahoe, Nev., Aug. 17  — Two of Henry J. Kaiser's racing speedboats were discovered today to be sabotaged in what the industrialist called "a murderous attempt" on his life. The sabotage was found 30 minutes before Mr. Kaiser was to have piloted one of the boats in the Lake Tahoe Gold Cup Race.
Robert C. Elliott, Mr. Kaiser's executive assistant, said the two-inch propeller shaft had been sawed in two and bolts, nuts and rags had been stuffed into the carburetor and blower of the 32-foot aluminum-hulled Hot Metal. He added that five gallons of gasoline had been poured into the hull of an unnamed runabout that was also to have been in the race.
A constable said there had been complaints about the boats' noise and the sabotage might have been the work of a crank.
Mr. Kaiser raced in his 16-foot Stardust and won second place*.
(Associated Press, August 18, 1952)
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Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser made a chilling discovery 30 minutes before he was scheduled to pilot one of his speedboats in the Lake Tahoe Gold Cup race. Someone had sawed half through the two-inch propeller shaft of one of his Gold Cup racers, and had stuffed nuts, bolts and rags into the carburetor and blower. Another had been thoroughly doused with gasoline. It was, said Kaiser, "an attempt at plain, cold murder." But he climbed into a third boat in his fleet*, buzzed off to a second place behind Shipping Heir Stanley Dollar, Jr.
(Time Magazine, August 25, 1952)
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Crank Sabotaged Boat of Kaiser, Officer Holds
By the United Press
Lake Tahoe, Calif., Aug. 18  — The sabotage of two racing speedboats owned by Henry J. Kaiser, industrialist, was dismissed as the work of "an anti-social crank" today, despite the millionaire's insistence that someone tried to murder him.
Mr. Kaiser's 160-mile-an-hour speedboat, Hot Metal, was found deliberately damaged yesterday shortly before he was to have driven it in the Lake Tahoe gold Cup Race. The craft's propeller shaft had been cut through with a hacksaw.
A second Kaiser-owned boat was found flooded with gasoline.
The industrialist, a long-time speedboat enthusiast immediately charge the sabotage was "a murderous attempt on my life." He said it was the work of bitter enemies, possibly Communist inspired.
Harry Johanssen, Tahoe City constable, however, said he believed the tampering was the work of a crank. He said Mr. Kaiser's neighbors at Tahoe Pines had lodged numerous complaints about the noise made in tuning the speedboats early in the morning.
(Reprinted from the United Press, August 18, 1952)
*Note: Although this race was open to Gold Cup class boats the Lake Tahoe Gold Cup and Sky-High Regatta would not come about until the following year. Also, although news reports claimed Kaiser "raced to a second place finish", it was as an owner, not a driver. George Besotes actually piloted the Stardust. --LF