G-17  Scotty

1929 Gold Cup Hydroplane

Designed & Built By - John Hacker

Owner/Driver - Mark Howard

Riding Mechanic - Jim Kondrat

SCOTTY is a one of a kind Gold Cup race boat commissioned from the well known and respected naval architect John Hacker in June 1928 and delivered to Sam Dunsford on Lake Winnipesaukee on July 1, 1929. She is a three step hydroplane, is twenty eight feet long, over six feet wide and weighs 2000 pounds. The builder was Hacker's own boat yard in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. After brief trials, she was shipped by rail to Lakeport, New Hampshire and towed across Lake Winnipesaukee to Dunsford’s estate on Tuftonboro Neck.

Dunsford’s mechanic, Elmer Folsom, installed a Packard engine and started their own speed trials. SCOTTY ran numerous times on Lake Winnipesaukee in preparation for the Gold Cup race that was held on the Shrewsbury River in Red Bank, NJ on August 24 and 25. The power plant was a Packard 'Gold Cup' Six of 625 cid and this is the type of engine that runs SCOTTY today. The engine is one of a handful that were specially built and modified for the Gold Cup races.

Dunsford was pleased by the speed of the boat, which can run up to sixty miles per hour, but was not at all happy with the handling. She tends to start porpoising at high speed and does not turn in corners well. Since the race was a few weeks away, only minor alterations could be made before she was shipped by rail down to the race. On 16 August, she was shipped from Lake Winnipesaukee to New Jersey.

The 1929 Gold Cup race was run on a ten mile course in three heats of 10 laps. The four entrants were IMP, SCOTTY, MISS LOS ANGELES and JERSEY LIGHTNING. Viewed by  50,000 spectators, the first heat went well for all four boats, with SCOTTY finishing 20 seconds behind the winner, IMP. The second heat proved more thrilling when MISS LOS ANGELES, driven by Ralph Snoddy, overturned in SCOTTY’s wake. Snoddy was sweeping wide around a turn when he was passed by SCOTTY which, as reported the next day in the New York Times, “was travelling like an express train, and left a tremendous wake.” Snoddy and his mechanic were tossed out of MISS LOS ANGELES. Dunsford, seeing what happened, turned around and shut off his motor. He remained with his two opponents until help arrived. Once assured of their safety, Dunsford re-entered the race. This gallant gesture, which was picked up by all the papers of the day, cost Dunsford valuable time. He pushed SCOTTY hard and managed to overtake JERSEY LIGHTNING but could not overcome IMP’s lead and so came in second. Reporters covering the race said “SCOTTY appeared to be the fastest boat on the straight-aways” and “lap after lap, SCOTTY hung tenaciously” but kept “losing distance as the boats rounded each turn”. The third heat started out poorly and within a few laps, SCOTTY developed engine trouble and was barely able to complete the circuit. SCOTTY finished second in all three heats and placed second overall with 1046 points.

SCOTTY was shipped by rail back to Lake Winnipesaukee after the race where Dunsford and Folson began working to improve her handling. Dunsford’s goal was to enter the President’s Cup race which was going to be held in Washington, D.C. on September 14-15. Unfortunately, a railroad strike prevented SCOTTY’s shipment to the President’s Cup race. Dunsford decided to concentrate on improving SCOTTY’s handling and to that end, contacted Hacker. Many ideas were tossed around, and eventually the best idea put forward was to install a fourth step. This was duly added, on the bow, and after this change proved to be ineffectual, the step was removed. In early 1930 Dunsford concluded he would not be able to correct the handling and so decided not to race her again but instead commissioned a second Gold Cup racer from Hacker which was named SCOTTY TOO. The Packard engine and other hardware were removed from SCOTTY and used in SCOTTY TOO. SCOTTY was re-powered and both boats were run on the lake during the early summer of 1930 until the Gold Cup race. SCOTTY was later placed in one of Dunsford's barns on Tuftonboro Neck and remained in storage for 28 years until Dunsford's death in 1958.

In late 1958 Dunsford's estate was auctioned off in Wolfeboro, NH at Goodhue & Hawkins Navy Yard. The original Packard engine had been loaned to George Reis of Lake George, NY and so was not part of the auction. Both SCOTTY and SCOTTY TOO were sold together for $550.  Sam Rogers of Wolfeboro bought both boats and on the advice of Elmer Folsom, decided to hold onto SCOTTY, and re-sold SCOTTY TOO to Ted Larter of Lake George, NY . Elmer advised Sam that Dunsford never really liked SCOTTY because of her handling problems and so did not even place her in the water after 1930. SCOTTY TOO, on the other hand, was Dunsford’s favorite boat and had been ridden very hard from 1930 until Dunsford’s death. Sam wanted a boat that didn’t need to be rebuilt, so he kept SCOTTY. In 1969 Sam sold her to Harvard Forden of Laconia. Sam Rogers neither ran SCOTTY much nor restored her but kept her dry and under cover for the eleven years he owned her. Harvard Forden installed a modern V-8 in the winter of 1971 and ran SCOTTY sporadically  on the lake until 1986 when she was sold to Bob Valpey. SCOTTY was sold again in 1988 to her present owner, Mark Howard of Center Tuftonboro.

Scotty - 1929 John Hacker designed Gold Cup hydroplane - owned by Mark Howard

Samuel Dunsford was an NH industrialist who owned the N.E. Cable Company, which was headquartered in Concord, NH. His company made wiring products for various uses, but his main customer was Ford Motor Company. His contract with Ford lasted many years and Dunsford supplied wiring looms for all Ford automotive lines. Although Dunsford worked in Concord, he summered on Lake Winnipesaukee from the late 1910’s to his death in 1958. He was very active in boat racing, and was the Commodore of the Winnipesaukee Power Boat Association. Local papers referred to him as Commodore Dunsford and chronicled his racing efforts throughout the 20’s and 30’s. He traveled, and raced, all over New England, from Portland, ME down to Washington, DC. He owned numerous racing boats of all classes, from the Gold Cup class (SCOTTY, SCOTTY TOO, RAINBOW IV) to 151 class, (‘Pelican’ model named TIRED TIM TOO). He entertained many dignitaries on his estate, including William Chapman, editor of  “Motor Boating” magazine. By the late 1930’s, the depression caught up with Dunsford and all formal racing activity ceased. Still, local residents remember Dunsford would regularly run at high speeds all over Lake Winnipesaukee up through the 1940’s and was not afraid to take on any challengers for impromptu races.

Elmer Folsom was employed by Dunsford from the early 1920’s until 1958 as a mechanic and general caretaker / handyman. Folsom lived on the Dunsford estate in Tuftonboro year-round and his daughter lives in Tuftonboro to this day. Folsom worked on all boats Dunsford raced and accompanied the boats to all the racing events. He raced with Dunsford in the Gold Cup races throughout the 20’s and 30’s.

She handles today just as she did in 1929, porpoising at high speed and difficult to turn into corners. The bright work has been polished, a few coats of varnish have been applied and, most importantly, an original Packard ‘Gold Cup’ engine has been reinstalled. But SCOTTY has never been restored and is completely original, well maintained through the many years.

A few, more recent photos taken on 11/17/2003 - getting Scotty ready to run.




The thrill of victory on 11/22/2003 - running some hot laps on Back Bay !!!

Wolfeboro - 2003

Page 2 of Scotty - a 2004 Update


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