Simon Gets Gold Cup Hydro [1963]

Hawaii Kai Is Ours Now

By Joe Dowdall

Hawaii Kai, the swiftest and prettiest unlimited hydroplane afloat, was added to the Detroit fleet Tuesday by the U. S. Equipment Co.

George Simon obtained the lilac-colored beauty from Joe Mascari in New York. Mascari has owned the Kai for two years but never campaigned her. He bought the boat from Edgar Kaiser after the West Coast industrialist retired from racing when his driver, Jack Regas, was critically injured in the boat.

Simon will campaign the Kai in place of his Miss U.S. 1 , the world’s water speed record holder. He announced he would retire the red, white and blue speedster last summer but he is keeping the boat for testing purposes.

Hawaii Kai has won every major powerboat race and still holds a series of records. Ironically, it was Hawaii Kai’s world kilometer record of 196.329; miles an hour which Simon’s Miss U.S. 1 shattered last’ April.

The Kai holds the record for the fastest lap ever turned on the Detroit River. Regas blazed around the three-mile oval at 113.648 miles an hour as he won the Silver Cup Race here in 1957.

The Kai is a light, airy boat compared to most of the unlimiteds being campaigned today. She was unbeatable in smooth water and her acceleration made her a tough competitor in the rough going.

"We’ve worked with our Rolls Royce engine in Miss U.S. 1 in Florida this winter," Simon said. "We wanted to get in as much testing as we could with our new setup.

"Our Rolls have been copied after the Kai’s modifications and we don’t expect any trouble interchanging engines."

Miss U.S. 1, which set the mile straightaway mark of 200.440 m.p.h. last year, has been the top qualifier in four of the last five Gold Cup Races. But the high-winding parts failed to last long enough to carry Miss U.S. 1 under the checkered flag.

The Gold Cup is the lone prize in powerboating to elude Simon. Don Wilson, driver of Miss U.S. 1, will drive the Kai. Roy Duby, crew chief and relief driver, will spearhead Simon’s efforts to make the boat the top contender for the Gold Cup Race to be held here July 7.

(Reprinted from the Detroit News, 1963)