Lombardo Strikes up New Gold Cup ‘Tune’ [1960]

KAWKAWLIN — Guy Lombardo, the bandleader, and Les Staudacher, church pew builder, turned raceboat builder, are working on a new arrangement, in this Bay City suburb.

Their last arrangement, jet-powered Tempo Alcoa, had to be re-released to make way for their new effort.

A new Tempo with a beat fast enough to leave the present Gold Cup boats in its wake is under construction. Work began on the new three-pointer as soon as the rebuilt jet-powered Tempo-Alcoa was trucked west for a series of boat show appearances.

"We rebuilt the Tempo-Alcoa from the frames up add hope to have her ready for another crack at the water speed record by June," Staudacher said,

Staudacher escaped serious’ injury last summer when the jet boat went out of control on Lake Mead [actually Pyramid Lake —LF] in a test run. The Tempo-Alcoa flew over a beach and slammed into a pile of rocks in the boat," Staudacher said.

"We stripped the boat down completely and were satisfied that the frames were all right. Then we rebuilt her," Staudacher said.

"But to make sure everything is all right, we are going to install a radio-control unit for tests. We will try to bring the boat above the 269-mile-an-hour record by remote control before I drive it at that speed.

"If there are any weak points, we’ll find them before we go for the record."

Staudacher topped Great Britain’s Don Campbell world mark of 269.35 mph in trial runs before the mishap.

"We made only two changes in the boat," Staudacher said. "We added a stabilizer on the cowling for stability and we raised the rear plane one degree."

The husky Staudacher, who has built more than 80 Gold Cup boats, found that the Alcoa tended to be "sticky" in the 200-225 mph range. He hopes to "lift" the stern a bit with the change.

The Tempo-Alcoa is 32 feet long and powered by a 5,600-pound thrust J-35 jet engine. It is made of aluminum.

Lombardo’s new Gold Cup challenger will be 80 per cent aluminum. It will be similar to the present three-pointers but lighter and stronger.

The new boat could put the ageless bandleader in a strange position. What would happen if the Royal "Canadian" was chosen to make America’s bid to take away the Harmsworth Trophy from Canada’s Miss Supertest?

(Reprinted from the Detroit Free Press, 1960)