The History of The Gold Cup

The APBA Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the APBA Gold Cup is among the most prestigious of motorsport trophies, in part because it is the oldest active trophy in all of motorsports. The trophy was first awarded in 1904! In comparison, the first Indianapolis 500 race was held in 1911 and their Borg-Warner trophy was first awarded in 1936.

Hydroplane racing became a tradition in Detroit when designer Christopher Columbus Smith (of the Chris Craft boat company) built a Detroit-based boat that would crack the 60 miles-per-hour speed barrier, capturing the Gold Cup in 1915.

As the speeds grew so did the crowds, and hydroplane racing became a major Detroit event. Through the decades Detroit builders, drivers, fans and sponsors have proven themselves to be among the best.

Miss Detroit

Chuck Thompson's Miss Detroit (1958)
By Fred Farley - APBA Unlimited Historian

This MISS DETROIT was the former TEMPO VII, which Guy Lombardo raced in 1955 and 1956. Chuck Thompson, the former driver of MISS PEPSI and SUCH CRUST III, acquired it in 1957. It is now on display at the Guy Lombardo Museum in London, Ontario.

Thompson originally named the boat SHORT CIRCUIT--the same name as a previous craft that Chuck had raced between 1954 and 1956. The second SHORT CIRCUIT was renamed MISS DETROIT in mid-season 1958. Under Thompson's ownership, SHORT CIRCUIT/MISS DETROIT won the 1957 and 1959 St. Clair International Trophy in St. Clair, Michigan, and also the 1960 President's Cup in Washington, D.C.

In one of her final appearances, MISS DETROIT was the U.S. representative in the 1961 British International ("Harmsworth") Trophy at Picton, Ontario, where she was defeated in two straight heats by the Canadian defender, MISS SUPERTEST III.

Sold to Francis Raccioppi, the former MISS DETROIT competed as MISS D.C. in 1962 and as ST. REGIS in 1963 and 1964. Thompson briefly campaigned a second MISS DETROIT (the former MISS BUFFALO) in 1962, but he quickly became disenchanted with the hull. Thompson qualified for the 1962 Gold Cup at Seattle but then withdrew from the race. A few weeks later, Chuck was hired to drive Bill Harrah's TAHOE MISS, and he never again raced a boat of his own in the Unlimited Class.

Chuck was fatally injured while driving Joe Schoenith's SMIRNOFF in the 1966 Gold Cup at Detroit.

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