WW2 aluminium speedboat identification

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by Xianese, Apr 20, 2023.

  1. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
    Posts: 13
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    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

    Hi everyone,
    I'm new on this forum.

    I just addes a small aluminium boat to my garage.
    This is a sort of barn find in a workshop near an old WW2 airfield.

    Cannot identify anything, but from the steering wheel i suppose it's an early 40s boat.
    The steering wheel itself remind me P-38 lightning and some other bombers from that era (could be a proper yoke and custom built apparently).

    Anyone can help me?
    Thanks!
    Alessandro
     

    Attached Files:

  2. baeckmo
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    baeckmo Hydrodynamics

    Hi Alessandro, welcome! That's a remarkable find; take good care about this beauty! I have no idea about its origin, but my guess is that it is built after the war, since most aluminium "leisure" structures were consumed by the aircraft industry in wartime (if not well hidden....). If there is anything "engineering-ish" in the transmission, it may give an idea about the originator. The propeller arrangement is unique, I'm really curious about the construction, it seems to be a controllable pitch prop driven "from above", not via a traditional shaft. Is there an engine or any attachements for one under the cover? Please more pictures from the inside of the engine compartment, pronto per favore!
     
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  3. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
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    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

    Thanks Baekmo!
    As soon as i can go back to the workshop i'll send you more pics. No engine inside, just some "rumors" from the father of the last owner, about it was a Mercedes (never saw one).

    The airfield near the workshop has been used from Germany 1939 to 1943, then allies were in (most of the aircrafts were from US air force). Also few kilometers from the same airfield there was a bay used for seaplanes until 1939.

    My first impression about this boat was something used by soldiers in the main airfield just after the war.
    I'll keep you update!

    Thanks again
    Alessandro
     
  4. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    That is quite an interesting boat.I haven't seen that particular type of underwater unit for the transmission before.It clearly pre-dates the Volvo S-drive but works on the same principle.It does look a bit vulnerable to any form of contact at speed an the pitch of the propellor makes it clear that it was intended to reach quite a high speed.
    The steering wheel reminded me of the style used on the Messerschmidt KR200 and may be from the same era.

    [​IMG]

    I would be interested in seeing a view of the inside of the hull at the chine as it appears to have a very uniform radius all the way around the bottom.Which would suggest that the hull was formed in a very large press.It might have been welded to a bar section and then sanded to shape otherwise and a picture would give us some hints.

    Unfortunately the same view of the chine makes it clear that quite a lot of pitting of the metal has taken place and it is quite likely that without quite a lot of work,the boat won't be fit for anything other than decorating your garage.
     
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  5. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    Stylistically, it is pre-war or just post-war (mid 30's to early 50's). It definitely has the brutal spare Italian Deco look to it, and not yet to the Italian designer's fully formed style of the mid 1950's. Technically, it looks to be a low count run or a one-off due to the time consuming construction of the chines, seams, and covering pieces. The drive unit is most interesting and rather than German tech it screams Italian Futurism. The outboard bracket is a total kluge and therefore definitely points to the original motor being removed and replaced for whatever reason.

    I wonder about the rather stout bow fitting, the fitting (and deep deck beam) between the coamings, and the overall size of the vessel. Technical exhibition demonstrator? Amusement park ride? I really don't think it is a modified seaplane float, but <shrug>.
     
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  6. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
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    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

    Thanks everyone,
    I'll send more pics and info as soon as i can get back to the workshop!
    Alessandro
     
  7. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
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    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

    Back to the workshop, finally. The boat is approx 3m long, here some more pics!
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
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    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

    Rumors still saying it was Mercedes-equipped.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. chadzar
    Joined: May 2023
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    Location: United states

    chadzar New Member

    Hey Alessandro,

    Welcome to the forum!
    I am also new here.
    It sounds like you've stumbled upon an interesting piece of history with your WW2 aluminum speedboat.
     
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  10. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    I personally think that the boat is post WWII, but by someone familiar with the Decima MAS boats. Where exactly is this airfield?
     
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  11. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
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    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

    Hi Jehardiman,
    It's in Sardinia, pretty far away from Decima Mas operating fields.
    Also if the line remeber in some way their boats, this is tiny.

    Thanks!
     
  12. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
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    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

    Hi everyone,
    Finally i've collected the boat from its original position, then straight to the workshop.
    Incredibly, just cleaning up inside i found what i was looking for.

    A plate with marked on:
    S.A.R.A. ROMA, and engine + boat numbers.
    I just started the research about this, i'll keep you updated
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2023
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  13. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
    Posts: 13
    Likes: 6, Points: 3
    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

  14. Xianese
    Joined: Apr 2023
    Posts: 13
    Likes: 6, Points: 3
    Location: Italy

    Xianese Junior Member

    Thank you.

    Now i can give you some more data:
    Lenght 3.0m
    Width 1.1m

    I showed the boat to an old race boat producer (Cantieri Taroni Stresa) and the owner said me this gran grand father were used to make boat loke this. The engine were fitted vertically and they have no clutch or other: the boat just go as you turn on the engine.
    They originalmy fit their boats with Alfa Romeo 1.3 to 2.0 liters, or some Ford Taunus 4 or 6 cyl engine.
    He doesn't recognize this boat anyway.

    As you correctly observed, it's italian.

    Now some history and geographic reference. Please note that all this informations are actually not connected, but can give you an overview.

    The boat has been recovered for at least 40 years in the same place,an old building in Fertilia (Alghero, SS, north Sardinia).

    Fertilia has been built in 1932 by Mussolini: well, partially built, but the building where the boat has been stored was completed in 1932 aside the church and the house of fascio (an all-in-one tipical fascist building).

    In 1937 in the near bay of Porto Conte, hydroplanes start to travel between Sardinia and the mainland, basically were Cant 506 Airone.
    In 1938 the Fertilia military airport was born, and start serving for the axis until 1943, when Italy surrenders to Allies which occupy the airfield.
    Also in 1943 the Allies bombs Alghero.

    In september 1943, 16 miles away from CastelSardo (it's 100km heading to NE from Alghero), the axis hit and destroy the battleship Corazzata Roma, that still lay there.

    In 1944 the Allies hosts in Fertilia and Porto Conte the writer Antoine Saint Exupery, that live his last month of life in Alghero before to move to Bastia for his deadly last mission.

    In 1949 Fertilia has been rebuild by refugees, and still stands in pretty original conditions.

    I don't know if the Roma tag have any connection with the battleship, but sent email everywere and now half Italy is searching for how the hell is this boat!

    On the administrative side, the plate name S.A.R.A. tells me that probably this boat has been built by a Società Anonima (before 1942, this is how regulated company were called) and the so-high numbers (boat #10167) tells me that the classification is made ona bigger warehouse (could not be possible that a single company made 10.000 boats in middle 30s).

    Ciao!

    20230612_161658.jpg 20230612_161658.jpg 20230612_161645.jpg 20230612_135907.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    That explains the selection of a dry sump engine and the controllable pitch propeller.
     
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