First, thank you all for the support, me and my entire family recognize and appreciate the support, it does mean a world to us. Firsts class people, all of you!
I wrote those experiences about my father because his first love after my mother and his children, was offshore boats, and I am just so proud that I had a father like him. I will share two more experiences with you then I am cold-turkey from OSO for a while, probably in a lurking mode as my father would have been, if he were still here with us.
Two of the more memorable experiences he had, was going to Cigarette in 1972, or 1973 - I was just a kid. The family drove down to Miami from New Jersey to pick-up my father's new 20' Cigarette, it was the first 20-footer Don Aronow had ever made. Don treated him like royalty which was great and which I never forgot. It was great for me as a child (seven or eight years old), because we always got Powerboat Magazine, and here was the guy and boats I kept seeing in the magazine, I was awestruck. Mr. Aronow let me sit at his desk,and he made me feel at home, though my mother was probably mortified by my behavior, LOL. He gave me shirts, stickers, license plate brackets, every nick-nack-non-sense kind of thing that a seven or eight year old would love and cherish forever. After we left the office, we then toured the plant before he took us for a ride in a new 28' Cigarette he had sitting there. When we were out in the 28' hot-rod we got in a race with another boat and won (I think Byng Goode was driving, not sure). It was something I will never forget, nor did my father.
The other story was when he bought a brand new 24' Pantera, it was 1978 or 1979. He paid for it at the dealer up here in New Jersey; that dealer sold Pantera and Carrera boats then. The boat had not yet been built, my father ordered the boat. He and two friends scheduled a flight to Florida to pick up the boat because Pepe Nunez (owner of Pantera) said it would ready when they get there; when he got there the boat was not even close to being ready, the bottom was still in the mold. My father and his two friends were planning on driving the boat back to New Jersey by water, through the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW). So, they waited while the boat was assembled and at least he got to see the build process, and which made him feel good about the purchase he just made. Now if you ever met my father he did not like anything built half-ass. Pepe must have had his A game going-on because my father liked Pepe Nunez, and my father always said Pantera builds a good boat.
Well, the boat got built. They filled the tank up with gas (the first of many fill-ups for this trip), and off my father and his friends went on their journey from Miami to New Jersey in his brand new boat, with zero hours of run time and zero hours of test time. Mechanically everything worked great, but because of the late start (waiting a few days), waiting for the boat to be completed (I am not sure how many days he lost because the boat wasn't built on time) me and my Mother had to drive to the lower Chesapeake to pick-up him and the boat up since a storm was coming up the coast.
This was the last boat he owned that my mother rode in and enjoyed boating in, here's why. It had a new MerCruiser 330hp/TRS package and was a low 60 mph boat, and the boat had the Vee windshield which was a taller-effective windshield since it was a Special Edition version model. He did not race much (mother never enjoyed racing other boats, but tolerated racing other boats for my father's sake and for my sake) with that engine package because the boat was a slug. Once the warranty was done, out came the 454/330 in went a LS-6 (454 cu.in. BBC) that made the boat come alive, so did his spirit when it came to looking for races, LOL.
I never met another hot-rodder who has had a similar experience like the Pantera story, driving the new boat home from the factory on the day of completion, but maybe this will inspire another performance boater to give it a try. I will surely miss my father. Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers,
The Jones Family