Gar Wood’s Miss America X
Miss America X is the last of Garfield Arthur Wood’s legendary Miss Americas. Powered by 4 Packard V12 2490cu.in. Engines tuned to give 1600hp each. Gar Wood and his crew took Miss America X to the Revier canal of the St. Clair River, Michigan and on 20th September 1932 raised the Water Speed Record to 124.91 mph.
He designed and raced the first boat “Miss America IX” to go more than 100mph on water in 1931. While Miss America IX had the honor of being the first boat to ever run over 100mph on water, Wood figured that the British contingent was going to throw the kitchen sink at him in 1932. He was right. The Brits got Rolls Royce on board and were bringing their most stout effort yet. Knowing that the big Rolls Motor was more capable than his V12 Packards pound for pound, his idea was to simply bludgeon the water and the competition to death. Rules allowed for boats to be 40-feet long. Miss America was 38 long and 10-feet wide. The boat was basically built around the quartet of giant Packards. Wood and his riding engineer/mechanic sat at the extreme rear of the boat behind all of the engines. If you can picture it, each of the engines was linked inline and each powered its own propellor. Packard engineers were convinced that there would be no way to keep the engines together while linked but they worked to time them perfectly and made them happy operating as two 24-cylinder monsters. Wood designed the gearbox that the engines were hooked to because again, the Packard engineers said that there was nothing available suitable for the loads it would be facing.
Consuming almost 10 gallons of fuel per mile at full song, the craft became the first to go at a speed of more than two miles per minute and topped out at 125.42 MPH in 1932. That same year it completely humiliated the Rolls Royce powered British entry to the point that Rolls got out of the powerboat racing engine game after that. The following year Wood ran the same boat and the British came back with a smaller craft with a less powerful engine and made a race of it, but Wood again cleaned house. He retired from motorboat racing after that event, his son carrying on the family name on the water.
Garfield Wood lived to be 90 years old and passed away in 1971. He is a legend on the most powerful racing vehicle in the world circa 1932.