Secret Service had Ford engineering build a couple of 427 engines

Secret Service had Ford engineering build a couple of 427 engines

Paul
Paul

July 19th, 2010, 4:16 pm #1

Here is an interesting story that is obscured by time. Thought you all would be interested in seeing this, thanks to Rod C.



"Story goes Secret Service had Ford engineering build a couple of 427 engines for their boats that they used to 'keep an eye' on President Johnson at his lake. The President wanted to show Hank the Deuce his unbeatable, fast Donzi.

When Henry II walked by the idling Secret Service boats his head spun around so fast, recognizing a familiar sound, that the Secret Service rushed up and asked him to keep it a secret. They said "we only let the President think he has the fastest boat on the lake, but we can overtake him in a heartbeat thanks to your engineers", LOL. You could get a Ford in just anything, Rod."




Regards,

Paul



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Paul
Paul

July 19th, 2010, 5:04 pm #2

Looking further into this story, I find the following info pulled off the net.
Seems like the story about Henry Ford may well be a true one after all?
Ha, how much fun is that, letting the president think he had the faster boat, ha ha.

Love it.

Paul








Above is from LBJ Library archive April 13, 1968

The Secret Service had a fleet of Donzi Sweet 16s to try to keep up with LBJ. While they were great boats, they just couldn't quite keep up with the V-204 if LBJ decided to pull away at full power. Above is a good shot showing one of the Secret Service Donzis with radio gear and certainly some weaponry within easy grasp. Here is Jerry's recollection of "LBJ's Navy" as he called it:

Jerry asked me: "You know about LBJ's navy, don't you?" I said no. "Oh yes, Johnson had Glastrons before becoming president, but once in office we fixed him up a nice 204 (1965 Gulfstream V-204). It had the big 409 in it. I did all the work on it. They wanted me to do all of it, so I did. Whenever he went out, here went all these Secret Service guys trying to keep up with him. And he liked to get away from them! The Secret Service guys kept asking me to slow the boat down, but the president wanted me to keep it fast. Shoot, I did what the president said. Yeah, that was LBJ's navy." Watch this 2 minute video of LBJ and these Donzis trying and failing to keep up with him. Note the camera man had nothing to film but the other Donzis once LBJ was a spot in the distance.
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In the LBJ library film from this same date, LBJ was putting the hammer down as seen in the still picture shot from the same Donzi


LBJ Ranch, Spring 1965






Above: President Lyndon Johnson entertaining guests in in his new 1965 V-204 Gulfstream. This custom built Glastron had several special features. It also had the Mercruiser 310 horsepower with the rare 409 motor.

Details are still being worked out on what happened after LBJ's early '60s boats were lost in the flood, but it can be seen in films from the LBJ library that Lyndon was later driving a 1964 Glastron V-194. I have taken statements from a longtime Glastron Production manager, Jerry Wilhoit, regarding the 1964 Glastron as well as the 1965 V-204 Gulfstream. Jerry states that he clearly remembers a lot about these two boats, mostly because Secret Service agents were always involved. Mr. Wilhoit recounts that the 1964 boat had the Mercruiser II 225 horsepower inboard/outboard and that he was assigned to do the tune ups on it at a shop where he also worked as a mechanic. What was incredible was that when LBJs people brought the boat in there were 2 secret service agents assigned to sit in the boat the entire time it was being worked on and Jerry was the only one allowed to work on it.

In just a year a new and exciting motor option was being offered by Mercruiser, the 310 horsepower Mercruiser II 310 with the legendary 409 Chevrolet big block motor. LBJ loved outrunning the smaller Secret Service boats trying to keep up with him, so he just had to have a Glastron with one of these new powerful motors and it was available in the 1965 Glastron V-204 Gulfstream. Glastron founders Bob Hammond and Bill Gaston were contacted and, as before, a purchase was arranged through Earl Deathe Jr., who managed many of LBJs legal affairs and purchases. Registrations on many of LBJs cars and boats were put in Mr. Deathes name for obvious security precautions. Bob, Bill and Jerry were also excited about the new high powered motor option from Mercruiser and LBJs V-204 would be the first in line to receive it. Bob Hammond, recounts that a V-204 was pulled off the line and special modifications were begun on it, including a special hull bottom and floor with extra layers of fiberglass. Bob states that the interior of the boat was not standard either. Different side panels were installed and a fixed 5 foot removable lounge is also with the boat. Bob delivered the boat to LBJ around June 13, 1965 complete with a commemorative plaque by the stern throttle that reads: Custom Built for President Lyndon Johnson by Glastron Boat Company.






A great time was had by all at the recent 50th anniversary Glastron Dealers Convention. Above, Glastron founder Bob Hammond stands beside president LBJ's 1965 V-204 Gulfstream. Bob delivered the boat to LBJ in the summer of 1965 and spent the day on the boat with LBJ, Chief Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas, Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas, presidential advisor and 35+ year president of the Motion Picture Association of America Jack Valenti, Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall, 2 Secret Service agents and others. A blowup poster of LBJ in his boat is displayed at the rear of the boat.



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Tom slayton
Tom slayton

July 19th, 2010, 5:20 pm #3

Looking at the listings, there were some CC models that would have kept up with the Glastron, such as the 1964 20' or 21' 427-powered Super Sports but those were wood models. The fastest thing CC had at the time, when Glastron was putting a big block in their fiberglass V-204 Gulfstream was the 20' Corsair Sea-V inboard with 283 power, and I don't think it would run with the big block or the Donzi chase boats. Interesting segment of history, as it shows Glastron was out in front with their fiberglass manufacturing, and so was Donzi. It would be a few years until CC got Jim Wynne to design the 19 and 23' hulls for the Lancer and Commander line. I suppose the Secret Service would have loved to get ahold of a fleet of hi-performance 427 powered 23' Commanders?

Tom
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Paul
Paul

July 19th, 2010, 7:06 pm #4

I think those 16' Donzi models used small block Ford power, and I'm sure the Secret Service could have contacted a chicken rancher in Texas who could have made one run faster.

You're right about the CC models, they were not in the high performance league, always maintained safety as a rule, and let others go faster. Of course, when it came to racing in the old days, Chris Craft won it all, and apparently did not think they had to prove it all over again. It wasn't until the advent of the XK boats with 300+ horse small blocks did CC get back into the higher performance speed arena.

Paul
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Joined: October 17th, 2008, 6:09 am

July 19th, 2010, 8:25 pm #5

Looking further into this story, I find the following info pulled off the net.
Seems like the story about Henry Ford may well be a true one after all?
Ha, how much fun is that, letting the president think he had the faster boat, ha ha.

Love it.

Paul








Above is from LBJ Library archive April 13, 1968

The Secret Service had a fleet of Donzi Sweet 16s to try to keep up with LBJ. While they were great boats, they just couldn't quite keep up with the V-204 if LBJ decided to pull away at full power. Above is a good shot showing one of the Secret Service Donzis with radio gear and certainly some weaponry within easy grasp. Here is Jerry's recollection of "LBJ's Navy" as he called it:

Jerry asked me: "You know about LBJ's navy, don't you?" I said no. "Oh yes, Johnson had Glastrons before becoming president, but once in office we fixed him up a nice 204 (1965 Gulfstream V-204). It had the big 409 in it. I did all the work on it. They wanted me to do all of it, so I did. Whenever he went out, here went all these Secret Service guys trying to keep up with him. And he liked to get away from them! The Secret Service guys kept asking me to slow the boat down, but the president wanted me to keep it fast. Shoot, I did what the president said. Yeah, that was LBJ's navy." Watch this 2 minute video of LBJ and these Donzis trying and failing to keep up with him. Note the camera man had nothing to film but the other Donzis once LBJ was a spot in the distance.
<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>



In the LBJ library film from this same date, LBJ was putting the hammer down as seen in the still picture shot from the same Donzi


LBJ Ranch, Spring 1965






Above: President Lyndon Johnson entertaining guests in in his new 1965 V-204 Gulfstream. This custom built Glastron had several special features. It also had the Mercruiser 310 horsepower with the rare 409 motor.

Details are still being worked out on what happened after LBJ's early '60s boats were lost in the flood, but it can be seen in films from the LBJ library that Lyndon was later driving a 1964 Glastron V-194. I have taken statements from a longtime Glastron Production manager, Jerry Wilhoit, regarding the 1964 Glastron as well as the 1965 V-204 Gulfstream. Jerry states that he clearly remembers a lot about these two boats, mostly because Secret Service agents were always involved. Mr. Wilhoit recounts that the 1964 boat had the Mercruiser II 225 horsepower inboard/outboard and that he was assigned to do the tune ups on it at a shop where he also worked as a mechanic. What was incredible was that when LBJs people brought the boat in there were 2 secret service agents assigned to sit in the boat the entire time it was being worked on and Jerry was the only one allowed to work on it.

In just a year a new and exciting motor option was being offered by Mercruiser, the 310 horsepower Mercruiser II 310 with the legendary 409 Chevrolet big block motor. LBJ loved outrunning the smaller Secret Service boats trying to keep up with him, so he just had to have a Glastron with one of these new powerful motors and it was available in the 1965 Glastron V-204 Gulfstream. Glastron founders Bob Hammond and Bill Gaston were contacted and, as before, a purchase was arranged through Earl Deathe Jr., who managed many of LBJs legal affairs and purchases. Registrations on many of LBJs cars and boats were put in Mr. Deathes name for obvious security precautions. Bob, Bill and Jerry were also excited about the new high powered motor option from Mercruiser and LBJs V-204 would be the first in line to receive it. Bob Hammond, recounts that a V-204 was pulled off the line and special modifications were begun on it, including a special hull bottom and floor with extra layers of fiberglass. Bob states that the interior of the boat was not standard either. Different side panels were installed and a fixed 5 foot removable lounge is also with the boat. Bob delivered the boat to LBJ around June 13, 1965 complete with a commemorative plaque by the stern throttle that reads: Custom Built for President Lyndon Johnson by Glastron Boat Company.






A great time was had by all at the recent 50th anniversary Glastron Dealers Convention. Above, Glastron founder Bob Hammond stands beside president LBJ's 1965 V-204 Gulfstream. Bob delivered the boat to LBJ in the summer of 1965 and spent the day on the boat with LBJ, Chief Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas, Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas, presidential advisor and 35+ year president of the Motion Picture Association of America Jack Valenti, Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall, 2 Secret Service agents and others. A blowup poster of LBJ in his boat is displayed at the rear of the boat.


Paul,

Love the post. I've seen these pics/videos before when looking at old Glastrons.

Those 60's/70's Glastrons were great boats. And their cathedral hulls would do really well on the chop of these central TX lakes. At the time - the lake was known as Granite Shoals, but is now Lake LBJ. That's where we keep our '06 Launch 22. Our 31' Express is on Lake Travis.

There is a community on Lake LBJ known as Sunrise Beach. A little hotel & restaurant, with a ships store. We frequent it every time we're on the lake because, well, it's the only place to buy beer or have a drink! Story has it that the hotel (looks like an older 'lodge') was used by the Secret Service as their base of operations when LBJ wanted to play with his 'Navy'.

Another interesting thing about your post was seeing Bob Hammond - My first boat that I owned as an adult was a '79 19' Hammond Seville. Pictures of it here -http://www.classicglastron.com/79hm-v1975.htm. Mine didn't come with the model. That cuddy would get hotter than hades for those summer time extracurricular activities...if you know what I mean

I do remember that wild upholstery pattern though! LOL Ha.

After the Hammond, I purchased a Classic 190, built by Don Higgenbotham / Higgenbotham Boat Company, here in Austin. I'm told that Don was a contract manufacturer that built some Glastron boats back in the day. Both the Hammond & the Classic suffered from the common construction flaw of the day - using untreated wood for deck & furniture construction vs. man made materials, which meant that over time, regardless of how much care I took in drying the boats out, I ended up replacing the interiors! The Hammond had significant metal flake in the gel coat, which was impossible to bring back to life when it was eaten up by the elements.

Sort of ties it together for me. A trip down memory lane.





Thanks!

Kevin Bray
'06 CC Launch 22
FXA-31-4049
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Joined: February 2nd, 2007, 5:28 pm

July 20th, 2010, 8:52 pm #6

Awesome Boat.

And it's for sale.
here is the link.
http://dallas.craigslist.org/mdf/boa/1839017542.html

Bill P
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Tom Slayton
Tom Slayton

July 21st, 2010, 6:08 pm #7

I saw where that original 409 was in the shop full of cracks, trying for repairs, and even if it was repaired I would hesitate to run it hard with all the cracking I saw on that block. Strange motor for a boat, can't say I've ever heard of another 409 in one actually. Great boat anchor, lol.

Tom
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Doug Harris
Doug Harris

July 23rd, 2010, 9:04 pm #8

Looking at the listings, there were some CC models that would have kept up with the Glastron, such as the 1964 20' or 21' 427-powered Super Sports but those were wood models. The fastest thing CC had at the time, when Glastron was putting a big block in their fiberglass V-204 Gulfstream was the 20' Corsair Sea-V inboard with 283 power, and I don't think it would run with the big block or the Donzi chase boats. Interesting segment of history, as it shows Glastron was out in front with their fiberglass manufacturing, and so was Donzi. It would be a few years until CC got Jim Wynne to design the 19 and 23' hulls for the Lancer and Commander line. I suppose the Secret Service would have loved to get ahold of a fleet of hi-performance 427 powered 23' Commanders?

Tom
I remember in the mid 80's when I was a dealer, Murray Chris Craft built several 390 Stingers (Go Fast Ocean Racers) for the DEA as drug chasers.
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