Schafer’s Such Crust: The Most Productive Seasons

Schafer’s Such Crust: The Most Productive Seasons

By David Greene

There have been very few 20-year men in Gold Cupper racing. One of these was Jack Schafer, Sr, who competed from August 1947 to July 1967. He campaigned 10 boats over this period, which accounted for nine victories and one American and Gold Cupper mile record.

In the 20 seasons that Schafer made starts there were two that stood out - 1948 and 1953. Following is an account of both seasons.

1948 was a unique year in the history of the sport as none of the winning combinations of 1947 returned intact. Miss Peps V had been retired and Herb Mendelson had sold the Notre Dame. However, champion driver Danny Foster returned to his winning mount of 1946, Miss Great Lakes, and the Gold Cup champion of that season - Tempo VI - had a new Allison engine, as did Foster’s mount.

There were a number of new boats from noted designers for 1948 - My Sweetie (John Hacker), Miss Pepsi (Clell Perry), Astraea II (Douglas Van Patten) and Such Crust from Ventnor, as well as the Lahala. Unlike the returning champions mentioned above these new boats were at least 30 feet long to adequately handle the Allison engine.

Jack Schafer had got his feet wet in 1947 with two 225’s, Schafer Special which had a 7 Litre Fageol engine, and Hot Potato, which qualified as a Gold Cupper having a Hisso engine. Schafer wisely chose Ventnor to get fully involved in the sport. In addition to two time Gold Cup winner My Sin-Tempo VI (1941 was uncontested), Ventnor produced noted limiteds Tops II (not Slo-mo-shun I), Tops III (later Slo-mo-shun II) and Tomyann Ill-Tempo V (the scourge of the 1942 225 circuit).

Such Crust began her career in the Detroit Memorial and went out with propeller problems. At Gull Lake near Kalamazoo, she prevailed when Tempo VI could not start the final heat. Such Crust driver Dan Arena had given Guy Lombardo all he could handle in the second heat. Next came a victory at Windsor, Ontario, where he swept all three heats against Miss Great Lakes.

Heading into the Gold Cup, the Crust was a favorite along with Tempo VI and Miss Great Lakes. Such Crust won the first heat although splitting her bow, thus putting her out of the race. Such Crust missed the Silver Cup due to her damaged hull, but came back to win the President’s Cup.

She was led by Harry Lynn’s Lahala in two of the three heats at Washington, D.C., but Lahala’s inconsistency lost her the race. Nevertheless Such Crust posted the fastest lap and heat of 1948 The following are the important races of 1948 with winners:

1. Detroit Memorial Tempo VI Guy Lombardo
2. Gull Lake Such Crust Dan Arena
3. Windsor Such Crust Dan Arena
4. Gold Cup Miss Great Lakes Danny Foster
5. Silver Cup Miss Canada III Harold Wilson
6. Presidents Cup Such Crust Dan Arena


As can be seen Such Crust was clearly the Boat of the Year for 1948. However, she was defeated for the National High Point Championship by Tempo VI - a fact that annoyed Dan Arena. In 1948, minor one heat races counted for the Championship and the Tempo, winning a number of them, eclipsed the Such Crust point total. In the 1950’s it was a different ball game when only multiple heat races were counted for the Championship and Such Crust would have given Jack Schafer his only National High Point Championship.

After four disappointing seasons, Jack Schafer came back with two new boats for 1953 as he had in 1952. He had the twin engine G-22 Such Crust III and the single engine U-5 Such Crust V. Unlike 1952 he had two top drivers for his boats.

Chuck Thompson, who had won nine races in the Miss Pepsi from 1950 to 1952, was given the Such Crust III. Bill Cantrell, who had been involved with 13 victories from 1949 thru 1952, was to drive Such Crust V.

In the initial two races of 1953 the Such Crusts were not competitive, but after being modified by Ted Jones, Such Crust III came alive in the Silver Cup and won the final heat. She posted a lap on a three mile course of 100 m.p.h., which translated to a 3¾ mile course bested the mark of Slo-mo-shun IV on the latter course by 2 m.p.h. This also eclipsed the optimum Miss Pepsi could do on the Detroit River by 2 m.p.h. Such Crust Ill’s mark lasted until 1956 when Miss Thriftway did 104. Gale IV (99 m.p.h. in 1954), Tempo VII (96 1955), and Gale V (99 m.p.h in 1955) could not match Such Crust Ill’s performance

Such Crust III also posted the fastest lap at the President’s Cup and defeated the winning Slo-mo-shun V in the final heat. The G-22 led the first heat at the next race in New Martinsville, West Virginia, but then went dead, and her team mate Such Crust V took over to win the contest. Later in the year, Cantrell and the V posted a two-way speed thru the mile of 164 m.p.h. which was second to Slo-mo-shun IV until Shanty I did 172 m.p.h. in 1956. Hurricane IV (163 m.p.h.), Miss Supertest II (154 m.p.h.), and Scooter Too (148 m.p.h.) were all junior to the U-5.

Such Crust III went on to win two heavy weather races at St.Clair in 1955 with Walt Kade, and at Detroit in 1957 with Fred Alter, but in 1956, Alter posted a qualifying lap of 111 m.p.h. around a three mile course. This translated to about 117 m.p.h. around a 3¾ mile course - 2 m.p.h. short of Slo-mo-shun IV’s record 119 m.p.h.

[Reprinted from Thunderboat, October 2011]