Seafair-bound hydroplane gets a makeover from South Seattle Community College automotive students

(Photos by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Walk through the Automotive Technology area on the north side of South Seattle Community College on Puget Ridge, and you’ll see students like those, hard at work – painting, fixing, building, inspecting, and more. But in the paint bay today, you won’t find a car – you’ll find a hydroplane!

And, as Automotive Collision Repair instructor Steve Ford was quick to point out during our visit, it’s no museum hydro – it’s the U-37 hydro that Schumacher Racing – owned by driving legend Billy Schumacher, who won 17 races in the ’60s and’70s – will bring to Seafair and other races this season. Right now, though, its refinishing and paint job comprise a final exam for his graduating seniors, one of three “teams” he set up (one of the other two teams did prep work like masking and sanding, pre-paint job, while the other worked on fabrication). Here’s everybody we found in the shop this morning – that’s instructor Steve, front and center:

So when you see that 14-foot-wide, 31-foot-long hydro at Seafair this August – where it’ll bear the SSCC name and logo – remember it’s got a little bit of West Seattle! (And yes, as the announcement sent by SSCC communications director Candace Oehler pointed out, the college is being paid for the work.)

5 Replies to "Seafair-bound hydroplane gets a makeover from South Seattle Community College automotive students"

  • Ian June 7, 2012 (1:08 pm)

    It is great to see this for SSCC and West Seattle!

  • Todd June 7, 2012 (1:51 pm)

    Great feather in SSCC’s cap! Love the hydros – a true northwest institution and keeping it local is what it’s all about. I was a huge Bill Muncey fan, and not a big Bernie Little fan but when I was in high school, my auto shop took a field trip down to Rainier Auto Parts and Machine to see them prepping one of the V-12 cylinder heads for the Miss Bud. I thought it was so cool that this little machine shop on Rainier Avenue was the main engine builder for the most well-sponsored boat! This was, of course, before turbines took over and nearly ruined the sport completely.

  • miws June 7, 2012 (4:24 pm)

    Yeah, as much as I love the whir of a jet turbine, nuthin’ compares to the sound of a thunder boat!


    Can’t hear a turbine in West Seattle!



  • metrognome June 8, 2012 (4:12 pm)

    Bring back the good old days of the Thunderboats!!! Loved watching Muncey and the other drivers jockey for position in the Bud, the Hawaii Kai, the Slo Mo and other classic boats.

  • Dave June 12, 2012 (5:36 am)

    Unfortunately, guys, we can never go home again. I, too, love the old roar of the hydros, but that’s in the past. We can only hope they’ll revert to auto engines. This will bring back the thundering sound and also allow more sponsors, for it is much cheaper. No way can anyone compete with Villwock and Quatar as a sponsor. Let’s level the playing field, with duplicate auto engines in every boat. After that, it’s driver competence, not sponsor money, winning the race!

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