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12th July 2019 TRIBUTE to Mr Chris Emmerson – Stylist to GILFLITE. It is with great sadness that we farewell ‘Chris Emmerson’ who passed away yesterday aged 76. Chris Emmerson and David Gill worked together side by side for many years during the development phases of the range of GILFLITE boat models and some of our other products including the Toolsafe body. Chris started his career as a stylist at General Motors working on the original HQ Monaro design. In 1976 Chris began work with David contributing toward the general styling and graphics on the next model Javelin to be released; this was during the time when GILFLITE (David & Kevin Gill) brought out the Javelin Mk III. David had also just finished work on the new model GILFLITE Spitfire. Both GILFLITE models were put on show at the 1977 Melbourne Boat Show with raving reviews. Chris continued to work on most of the new model GILFLITEs with David up until just a few years ago. David’s research on boat design included trips to the U.S.A. where he took Chris with him to investigate design and building techniques. Together with combined engineering and styling expertise while anticipating the future of boating, they managed to break through the conventional design mould of older (pre determined) boat design expectation and plant the seed of what was to become the forerunner of every modern boat on the market today. The Freedom was released at the 1992 Melbourne Boat Show. Always a jolly man…. Not only was Chris Emmerson intelligent, creative and a professional work colleague and one of the best stylists of our times he was also an entertainer as an excellent musician and songwriter, and importantly a friendly, well-mannered, kind and respectful gentle-man and a very good friend with a great sense of humour. We will miss his fantastic cartoons and brilliant Christmas Cards. With our deepest respect and gratitude we celebrate the contribution Chris Emmerson has made to GILFLITE and we wish him peace as he now rests.
As a young bright eyed teenager, I was hooked on powerboat racing and could be described as a tragic! On Sundays when there was racing at Albert Park Lake, I would catch the train to Middle Park railway station to race across the park land to the lake for a day of inboard powerboat racing. Armed with nothing more than a very basic camera and a single roll of black and white film, I managed to sneak into the pits and snap a few photos of the boats of the day. Quite a bunch were David Gill built race boats.
Scrubcat IV was driven by the very popular and colourful driver, Jack Long. Powered by a six cylinder flat head Dodge engine, Jack was a very successful competitor in the 266 side valve class. (1969 pic)
Miss Chif II was another David Gill built skiff racing in the 266 side valve class. Driven by Wally Cooper, this pristine racer was powered by a Ford engine with four down draught carbies. (1973 pic)
B Pee – one of the new breed of rear mount runabouts, owner Ken Harris operated the BP service station on Bell Street Preston and raced as a member of the MRSBC. Powered by a Chev Corvette with Duggan fuel injection, B Pee was a strong competitor in the 300 cu in class. (1973 pic)
SCRUBCAT, Miss-Chiff II and B Pee – photo’s by Bob Carter
Bob Carter has enjoyed a lifelong passion for powerboat racing and power boating.
His earliest recollection of boat racing is that of a very young lad at Edwards Park Lake and Exford Weir at Melton. As a teenager he was a regular and enthusiastic spectator at Albert Park Lake.
Bob went on the become a contributor to PowerBoat magazine, then he was bestowed the title of the magazine’s Performance Boat Editor.
In the world of powerboat racing he has raced, been a photo journalist, publicist and promoter of power boat racing. It’s a sport which has taken him all over Australia and internationally to Asia, the USA and New Zealand.
Now in his mid-60’s, Bob is still active within powerboat racing circles, covering the sport as photo journalist and contributing competition articles to Club Marine magazine.
ALLEN BROWN’S (a.k.a. Brownie) HYDROPHOBIA – 6 cylinder Falcon engine
Story by Tricia Bailey (Brown) daughter of Allen Brown – owner/driver Hydrophobia
Dad loved boat
racing and as he was on a very tight budget he would do most of his mechanical
repairs himself. He used to get me to come out and help, we’d spend the week
nights out in the shed hovering over the boat.
I remember most of all when he would hold down the valve springs with a spanner and screwdriver.
And I would have to drop in the collets, and he would say don’t let them fly or we will never find them. I must admit, I did feel the pressure to ensure the engine was ready for the boat to be back on the water for another run on the weekend.
The boat leaked so bad he had to be the last one in the water and the first one out. And could not swim to save himself. Hence the name ‘Hydrophobia’.
Dad said that Hydrophobia was a terrible boat when he first got it, until David Gill worked on it. After that it was a great boat and fast!
COLOUR PHOTO – 3 BOATS: Dad said it was a handicap race and he won!
Allen Brown in Hydrophobia, the other two are John Lewis in Vulture, and Trevor Matthews in Assassin too. (Handicap race at Albert Park Lake – Allen Brown/Hydrophobia won this race)! David Gill worked on all three of these boats
BLACK & WHITE PHOTO: Photo taken at Lake Eppalock by The
and white photo is Hydrophobia doing the kilo run (one boat on it’s own over a
measured kilometer) at Lake Eppalock and
dad (Allen Brown – Hydrophobia) did 76mph.
from Sydney and quite a few other blokes used to come to Lake Eppalock for the
Kilo run because it was a very good lake for it.
Brownie said he was out on the water in Bennie Foxes runabout (as a crash boat) when Bob Saniga flipped Bayswater Bulk (timber hydro) doing 150mph, over a timed flying kilometer run (attempting to break the Australasian speed record which they already held with Stampede). David Gill was a scrutineer at this race. Bob survived the crash. Brownie & Bennie hooked onto Bayswater Bulk after it flipped but had to let go or the hydroplane would have pulled them under. And down she went! The next day they salvaged the hydro.
TRIBUTE – JACK LONG ‘SCRUBCAT’ Monday 6th May 2019 In memory of Jack Long who passed away at 8pm last night aged 87. Today we remember with great respect and admiration Mr Jack Long owner driver of racing boat ‘Scrubcat’ which today still holds the Australasian/Australian 266 side valve record. SCRUBCAT was the very first boat that David Gill (GILFLITE Boats) ever built when he initially went out on his own in business. (The build took place where David first rented part of a factory in Ringwood from Graeme Williamson – owner driver: Manta Ray). These were the very early days of David’s boat building career before David and Kevin Gill moved into their factory and started building GILFLITE Boats at 62 Vinter Avenue, Croydon Vic. Before Vulture, before Hustler before anything else was SCRUBCAT built for Jack Long! Jack Long helped David Gill get his business ‘GILFLITE’ up and running in the early days and for this as well as his courage as a racing boat driver we pay tribute. Rest in Peace Jack Long ‘Champion of champions’
From the GILFLITE Archives Here’s a link to the GILFLITE Freedom …. a unique design by David GilL, way ahead of it’s time, manufactured by GILFLITE Boats. The Freedom was released by GILFLITE in 1992, as with all new boat designs by GILFLITES chief designer, the design of the Freedom was thoroughly researched and tested as a high performance sports boat before it hit the market. David saw the Australian boat market changing years before it actually did with the need for bigger boats to host a range of water sports activities. When the Freedom was first introduced to the Australian market at the 1992 Melbourne Boat Show, people just didn’t know how to react. Customers were aware that GILFLITE was bringing out a new boat which was to be unveiled at the ’92 Melbourne Boat show but no-one expected anything like the design of the Freedom. It took a while for the market to catch up and realise what GILFLITE was offering. Now, 30 years later our customers and the GILFLITE members still comment on the forward thinking of the Freedom and how well the original design sits in the current day market.
‘HUSTLER’ – the first GILFLITE built in 1968, (not including race boats).
Hustler is the first speed boat built out of the original GILFLITE factory in Vinter Ave. In fact, the bloke who asked David & Kevin to build him this boat had just returned from the boat races and wanted them to build him a boat like Vulture. Hustler remained in the same family for around 40 years until the original owner passed away.
1971 – E.C. GRIFFITH CUP – Australian Motorboat Championship Unlimited.
The Worlds most spectacular sport.
“It began way back in 1910, unlimited powerboat racing was in those days a sport for the wealthy or apparently wealthy few, and their mighty motors thundered a chorus that could be heard for miles as the message was bellowed out that the greatest single event in Australian motor sport was here. They were real racing men in those days and boats were not treated with kid gloves. To race your boat back in the Golden Years of the Griffith Cup you had to drive it to and from the race meeting. Often the only navigation lights were the flames from the red hot open exhausts, but they were the pioneers of power-boat racing; they laid a foundation for the coming generations.”
Easter Sunday – 11th April 1971
Event No. 4: Boat Name: Miss-Chif, Driver: WallyCooper, Hull: David Gill, Club: VSBC
Main Race: Boat Name: Vulture, Driver: John Lewis, Hull: David Gill, Club: VSBC
These were the early days of what was to become GILFLITE!
The EC Griffith Cup is thought to be the world’s second oldest motor sport trophy still being contested…..