1959-60 NOA Racing 

Ultra High Performance Boats

My Dad, Joe McCauley Sr. (Mercury/Aristocraft) and J. C. Leatherwood (Scott/Allison) are shown slowing down at the start while jumping the gun at the Knoxville Boat Club in 1959. J.C. ran Gateway Sporting Goods in Knoxville and was heavily supported by Scott-Atwater at the NOA Nationals in Nashville in 1958, they flew in spare Scott parts in planes.

The next 4 photos are from the annual 100 Mile Ft. Loudon Marathon, taken at Three Rivers Boat Dock:

"Start of the 1960 100 mile Ft. Loudon Marathon at Three Rivers Boat  Dock in 1960. The high flyer is a Mercury Mark 78A/14' Allison, would run about 53 mph (I know because I set one up a year later). That's Clyde Holsombach driving the Scott 40/Aristocraft.

My record holding Mark 58A/13' Allison, which I later drove it on my knees from the back seat to break 60 mph with a Merc 800. These wooden boats were built by Paul and Harold in Paul and Lucille’s garage in Alcoa. I remember a blond haired kid walking up the driveway (I was 18): Darris.

"Last gasp" from McCulloch Corp.: twin Scott 75s on a 14' Allison, never made the start. The John-Rude 75 dominated the season until Paul, my father and I outran them by setting new records using the Merc 800 with Sportsmaster gearcase at the end of the season. We three were the first to break 60 mph in the "pleasure boat" division of NOA, Paul set the record at over 61 mph.

Johnson 75/14'Allison that didn't make it very far past the start! This boat lacks the characteristic Allison "rocket" symbol running up the side.

Three Rivers Boat Dock, Fall, 1960. Wynn Oil rep. hands me the $100 check (diamond pin came later) for increasing a record by the largest amount. The class is stock 70-80 cu. in. Paul got excited before I ran (he'd already set the Unlimited record at 61+ mph) and bondoed a wedge on the trailing edge of the running surface. I nearly broke the old unlimited record while sitting in the front seat of a heavy boat! Paul would have won the Wynn Oil pin if he hadn't bondoed the wedge on my boat, but he was more interested in making our boat faster than in wining $100 and a pin. He was still bondoing wedges (with good effect) when I reunited with him in 1977.

The record holding Merc 800 (Sportsmaster gearcas)/14' Allison in front of my parents' Mercury dealership in Middlesboro, Ky. In high school, I (a 1943 model) was the (2x factory trained) mechanic.

Not shown are the two wooden runners that tunneled some air along the bottom. In the 13' boat, with Merc 800/Sportsmaster in the time trials, I could feel the boat break loose and lift a little at about 55 mph.


Two of the 5 NOA records held my my dad and me in 1960. Paul held the unlimited record (with a Merc 800 borrowed from Blake Cox). At the 1961 annual NOA meeting in Knoxville the drivers voted to outlaw wooden boats, so our 1960 records were never published in the NOA yearbook. That winter, Paul built fiberglass boats that dominated NOA more than ever. As expected. The attempt to keep 'pleasure craft' classes open to family runabouts failed, unless your family boat was an Allison. Nothing could run with them, and at that time there were no copies.

What I did after our two wooden Allisons were outlawed and outclassed: played with combinations like this, twin Mark 58As on my 13' Allison at Norris Lake, would run 47-48 mph and accelerate. The boat would run nearly as fast driven from the back seat with a single Mark 58A.

Thanks Joe McCauley