The first Miss Thriftway was designed by Ted Jones and built by Les Staudacher in 1954. Sponsored by the Associated Grocers chain of Stores and represented by Willard Rhodes, the 1955 hull not only represented the first step of involvement by AG for the next eight years, but it was also the starting point of Bill Muncey’s winning career. As of this writing, Bill is still on the top as the winningest driver in the sport of Unlimited Hydroplane racing with 62 wins.
Miss Thriftway was a two time Gold Cup winner (1956 &1957) in addition to the 1956 Presidents Cup with Muncey as her driver. These were Muncey’s first wins on his way to his 62 wins! Bill was the only driver of all three of the his boats.
In her first race in 1955, Miss Thriftway and GALE V battled for the Gold Cup on Lake Washington. The rules in force at the time, gave the boat with the overall fastest time for the entire race bonus points. It turned out that during the final heat, Muncey in Miss Thriftway was so far ahead he slowed down, and when the final tally was completed, she had lost the gold Cup by 4.536 overall seconds and the cup was awarded to Lee Schoenith in the GALE V. This was in spite of the fact that the Seattle-based Miss Thriftway had posted heat finishes of third, first, and first, while GALE V had run second, second, and third.
The following year, in Detroit, she was involved in a controversy which resulted in an 85 day delay in determining the final outcome. Miss Thriftway and Bill Muncey were eventually declared the winners (after the cup had initially been presented to the Detroit-based MISS PEPSI and Chuck Thompson) and the race went back to Seattle for 1957.