By the turn of the new century, after a long and
illustrious racing career and years of display duty. George Simon's
Miss U.S. 1 world record holding Unlimited hydroplane was ready
for a facelift (see photos below).
Danny Foster, the racing legend and two-time Gold
Cup winner, answered the call from Penny Simon. George's widow,
and the Simon family and took on the renovation effort in 2003.
The original restoration budget for the Miss US.
was $5,000, with a three-month completion time frame. Upon closer
inspection. Foster found that the years had not been kind to the
"red rocket". She needed a new bottom and new sponsors
if she was ever going to be seaworthy again.
Foster and his volunteer crew flipped the boat
over and began the task of replacing the bottom and resurfacing
the sponsors. The renovation was completed and the boat was moved
to the U.S. Equipment/Cell Con Companies facility in Detroit for
Besides the hull, a working 12-cylinder Rolls-Merlin
engine had to be found. Foster secured one from a dealer in Florida
but, upon inspec¬tion a bent piston rod was discovered - the
first major setback. Unexpected help was on its way from Jack
Roush Aviation in Farmington Hills. Michigan.
Roush needed the exact model type of Foster's
Rolls engine for one of his air racing customers, and was willing
to trade a freshly reworked Rolls for it. Now, each time the restored
Miss U.S. 1 hits the water, she'll have the advantage of Roush
Aviation technologies on board.
As with any worthwhile venture today, what began as a $5,000,
3-month project developed into a 4-year. $100,000 labor of love.
U-2 restoration crew Danny Foster - team manager
Tenon Artrip (Mr. T), Dave Bartush, Doug Bloom, Todd Buckingham,
John Cusmano, Steve Garey, Jim Grams, Jim Igrison, George Mackey,
Steve Manse, Tim Reis, Russ Schulte. Nancy Spanich, Ray Taylor,
and Tony Taylor.
In need of a facelift, 1990's
2003: old bottom and sponsors removed
Tim Reis performs woodworking magic
New aluminum bottom glistens
Prepping for new paint
George Simon, Jr. visits Rolls engine
built up at Roush Aviation, Farmington Mills, Ml
Danny Foster and the "new" Roush