THREE RARE AND HISTORIC RACING BOATS FROM THE ESTATE OF THOMAS MITTLER TO BE OFFERED AT RM'S FLAGSHIP MONTEREY SALE

Monterey

  • RM Auctions to offer three exceptional, historic vessels at its flagship sale in Monterey, California, August 16–17, during the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance week
  • Led by the powerful 1938 Ventnor K-2 Unlimited Runabout “Gen VI,” all three boats are offered from the estate of noted collector, enthusiast, and vintage racer Thomas Mittler
  • Frequently updated list of entries for the Monterey sale available online at rmauctions.com
     

BLENHEIM, Ontario (July 19, 2013) – Joining the exciting roster of more than 100 exquisite blue-chip automobiles slated for the auction podium at RM’s flagship Monterey, California, sale, August 16–17, are three historic boats from the estate of noted automobile and boat collector and vintage racer Thomas Mittler. Held during the world-famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance motoring week, the auction on the Monterey Peninsula presents the ideal venue to offer such exceptional watercraft.
 

Leading the boat offering is the record-setting 1938 Ventnor K-2 Unlimited Runabout “Gen VI”, which, at 26 feet in length, is powered by an original, massive 520-brake horsepower, 1,497.5-cubic inch marinized Packard V-12 aero engine. Known for an unusual combination of beauty and innovation, Ventnor Boat Works, of New Jersey, were at the cutting edge of racing boat design and were responsible for some of the fastest boats of all time. The late 1930s were the builder’s heyday, and during that period, a customer really had to be someone significant to get their hands on one of their boats. E. Mortimer Auerbach, racer of the immortal Emancipator series of boats and the era’s most famous speedboat racer, certainly qualified. Ventnor founder Arno Apel designed the hull, and they sourced an engine from Melvin Crooks’ Gold Cup winning Betty V. Mortimer Auerbach died before he was able to compete, and racer David Gerli purchased her to become the next in his line of rough-water boats.
 

In competition from the time of its launch, Gen VI’s peak came between 1939 and 1941, notching up both individual speed records (peaking at 68.70 mph) and head-to-head competition. Class wins included the 1940 New Jersey Governor’s Trophy, the 1940 APBA Gold Cup, and the 1940 President's Cup in Washington, D.C., where Gerli set his class world record, while 2nd place finishes included the 1940 American Speedboat Championship and the 1941 Gold Cup. Eventually, she ended up in storage at a marina on Lake Champlain, where she was long a target for acquisition by collectors, and it is of little surprise that Gen VI made its way into Tom Mittler’s hands. It was just one of a large number of important restored racing boats kept at the Mittler Boat Barn in Three Rivers, Michigan, and was a wonderful complement to his collection of important sports cars. He contracted Michigan specialists Morin Boats to complete a restoration of the hull. A lover of transportation will seldom have another opportunity to find such a perfect fusion of automobile, aviation, and nautical together in one historic vessel (Estimate: $600,000–$700,000).
 

Mr. Mittler had one of the largest and most significant private collections of antique wooden boats in the world and appreciated every opportunity to share his love of the vintage racing hobby with others,” says Gord Duff, Specialist, RM Auctions. “RM Auctions is honored to have been entrusted with the offering of three vessels with such important European and North American racing history, and we are delighted to share the late Mr. Mittler’s passion with their new owners.”
 

Also joining the Ventor on the auction podium is a 1958 Timossi-Maserati KD-13 Hydroplane, and a 1955 Joe Guess F-4 266 Hydroplane "Z-Z-ZIP". The Timossi-Maserati, engine number 450S 4515, at 20 feet in length, is the only known surviving Maserati Tipo 59 Timossi Hydroplane, and it is powered by a 520 horsepower, 5,663-cubic centimeter Maserati 450S V-8 engine with four twin Weber type 46 carburetors. Raced in period by Carlo Casalini, Lino Spagnoli, and Gianluigi Crivelli, Timossi #13 boasts multiple competition wins, including the 1969 KD-Class World Championship. Eventually ending up in North America, the boat was acquired and mechanically sorted to World Championship-winning configuration by Richard Crump, who used it sparingly in vintage competition before it made its way into the Mittler Collection. Retaining a startling degree of originality, including the original engine, few other competition vessels have ever won at championship level over such a large period of time (Estimate: $250,000–$300,000).
 

The final and greatest of Southern California boat builder Joe Guess’s work is the 1955 F-4 266 Hydroplane “Z-Z-ZIP”, powered by a 450 horsepower, 265-cubic inch alcohol V-8 with Hilborn crossram fuel injection, a Wilber Houghton gearbox, and a Hi-J propeller. She was first raced by Sid Street with a Bobby Sykes Sr.-built DeSoto Hemi V-8, setting two records, a one-mile record in 1956, which was soon broken, and the 1958 record, which wasn’t. The hydroplane was eventually acquired by Gordie Reed, who renamed her Iriquois F-4, and on January 31, 1969, he topped Street’s 1958 record with a 148.638 mph run. No sub-266-cubic inch hydro has ever bettered it. Tom D’Eath, the three-time APBA Unlimited Gold Cup winner who witnessed Sid Street’s record-breaking run in 1958, acquired Z-Z-Zip after years of storage. He found that it retained not only the original engine and gearbox, but also the same propeller that was used by Gordie Reed on his 1969 record run. After an exacting restoration, she hit the water again on June 14, 2003, and has been in the collection of Tom Mittler ever since. Today, Z-Z-ZIP is offered without reserve and is expected to fetch $70,000—$90,000.
 

For further information on RM’s Monterey auction, including a frequently updated list of entries, please visit rmauctions.com.