Banzai was owned and raced by Ken Wheeler, the Hydro Hull was designed and built by David Gill – circa 1970’s

Ken Wheelers son Chad got in touch with us recently sending through a few photo’s of his Dad’s Hydro ‘BANZAI’ from the early 1970’s, designed and built by D. Gill (GILFLITE).

Words by Chad ……

21 foot Gilflite Hydro built by Dave for my Dad Ken Wheeler in 1971, 215 ci Aluminium Oldsmobile motor. Dad won a number of races in the early 70’s incl. Huskie Shield in 1972, 73. One photo is the framed original plans that Dave Gill gave me about 10 years ago.

My reply / added comments …..

Note: the plans were exchanged for a babies cradle that David hand made for his baby girls to sleep in. Later he gave or sold the cradle to the Wheelers for their babies to sleep in, the cradle was treasured by the Wheelers for sentimental reasons and many years later after speaking to Ken, David asked for the cradle back for his now grown up daughters babies to sleep in. The Wheelers didn’t want to give up the cradle but where enticed to do so when David offered to give them the original plans that David had kept when designing and building Ken Wheelers Hydroplane called BANZAI. The Wheelers agreed and exchanged the original plans for the Cradle. David gave the Cradle to his baby grandchild to sleep in and it has been in the family ever since as a family heirloom. (I wonder if the Wheelers will want it back for their grandchildren). In the mean-time the cradle is being prepared for third generation use as we patiently await yet another baby in our family. This child will make David a Great Grand Father and me a Great Aunty. Anyway, that’s the long story of how these plans came to be part of the Ken Wheeler / Banzai profile and the special family connection between the Wheelers and the Gills.

In memory of Ken Wheeler – Owner / Driver ‘BANZAI’