1930 Dee-Wite 35’ Torpedo Triple Cockpit
Gold Cup Racing Runabout
1st Owner: Joseph B. Lodge
1930s Speed: 63-77 mph
Designer: Russ Pouliot
Builder: Dwight Boat Works
Engines: Two 500 hp Liberty V-12s
Displacement: 6 Tons
Miss Dee Wite II is an awesome sight to behold. Her art deco style is both majestic and wild. Her racing history is well known as are many of her many infamous exploits under Al Barbee’s ownership.
She is currently mid-way through a total restoration and the permanent injury of my restorer makes this project available.
The literature describes Miss Dee Wite II as a 35′ Torpedo triple cockpit single step hydroplane. She was designed by world famous naval architect Russ Pouliot and constructed in 1930 by the Dwight Lumber Company Boat Works in Detroit, Michigan. She is the only Dee Wite Torpedo known to exist.
Joseph B. Lodge personally supervised her design and construction for his Gold Cup racing competition although she was also designed to carry over ten passengers in luxurious comfort.
Powered by twin Liberty V-12 500 hp engines, Miss Dee Wite II is capable of over 77 mph and was entered as #U20 in the 1930 Harmsworth Trophy races with Miss America XIII and IX. Many original photographs and magazine articles are with the boat and her pedigree and history are very well known.
Miss Dee Wite II was purchased by Al Barbee of the Coca Cola Company in the early 1930s, probably after she was advertised in the December, 1934 issue of Motor Boating Magazine, relocated to California, renamed Saxon, Jr. and enjoyed a long and successful racing career under Barbee participating in events ranging from Southern California to Lake Tahoe in the 1930s and 1940s. Barbee is believed to have sold her in 1948 as she was advertised in the July, 1948 issue of “Sea Magazine”.
Long-time Newport Beach resident, John Miller, was in the boat business on the West Coast from the 1930s through the 1950s and is still active in the wooden boat hobby today, he vividly remembers Miss Dee Wite II in her original condition in Newport Beach in the early 1950s.
Don Pederson, also a long time Southern California resident and wooden boat enthusiast, relayed to me in June, 1994 that he had followed Miss Dee Wite II’s racing events and Al Barbee’s riotous exploits. Don recalls Barbee taking a nighttime full speed ocean ride with a boatload of intoxicated passengers from Newport Beach to Catalina Island, buzzing Avalon Harbor, and being arrested for a night in jail on his return. He also relayed that Barbee did not survive a barroom brawl in a Los Angeles bordello.
Barbee added five Brooklands type windshields which were a very stylish enhancement to Miss Dee Wite II. From original photographs, five fold down windshields have been fabricated in order to maintain this feature.
Following Barbee’s ownership Miss Dee Wite II disappeared for a number of years. During this time her decks and engines were removed and she was on her way of being converted to a fishing boat until a member of the Antique and Classic Boat Society found her in the San Fernando Valley (see photo) saving her from further humility. Her dash board, gauges, throttles and port and starboard lights were gone, but discovered a few years later gracing the wall of a Southern California restaurant.
She now has her original large dash ratcheted accelerator throttles, refinished steering wheel, restored Dee Wite dash name plate, restored dash gauges with the correct Dee Wite logo, the original port, starboard and bow light housings and glass, two sets of engine compartment vents, two large bow and stern cleats, eight fender cleats, twenty chrome rail stand-off deck supports, four large step pad frames, two smaller step pad frames, gas filler ring, Miss Dee Wite II spoke type gas cap, exhaust trim rings, etcetera.
Miss Dee Wite II’s marine Liberty V-12 engines, one right rotation, one left rotation, have been professionally rebuilt and updated, at a cost exceeding $50,000 each, with present day state-of-the-art technology for clean and efficient operating performance while still maintaining their original exterior stock appearances. Don’t confuse this with a basic $30,000 restoration as these are state-of-the-art motors with every possible internal update to make them operate in a clean and efficient manner contrary to most Liberties. One engine is detailed to show quality standards and is fully operational on a steel test/shipping stand. The second engine is being completed to match the first engine.
Miss Dee Wite II’s speed ranged from 63 mph to 77 mph. Barbee’s modifications through the 1930’s, achieved and impressive 77 mph. With the state-of-the-art modifications included in the current engine rebuilding process 80+ mph is possible.
Specific questions regarding the Liberty engines can be referred to Mikal White who has become quite a Liberty expert. Mike supervises my automobile and wooden boat collection and is equally at home working on Silver Ghosts, Duesenbergs, Maybachs, Liberty V-12s or anything else for that matter. He spent years researching, consulting with experts around the country and rebuilding the engines to their state-of-the-art condition.
A complete hull restoration will complete this worthy project. The integrity of the hull shape is sound, it is not bent, bowed or broken. Excepting that the deck from the front cockpit rearward and about three feet of the stern been unceremoniously removed, the hull is relatively complete. Fortunately, the stern was cut at a “step” in the hull so fabricating this non-structural feature will be relatively straightforward. It was my intent to “sister” most of her skeletal frame to new members for authenticity purposes and replaced all exterior wood. We have original photographs of the hull from all directions, looking up at the bottom while being hoisted into Lake Tahoe, as well as from above looking down on the decks and into of each of the three compartments which will greatly assist in the hull restoration.
The hull is currently stored in a Michigan warehouse.The engines as well as the deck hardware, instruments, original photographs, magazine articles and other historical data, etcetera, are located in California.
Miss Dee Wite II is photographed on Pages 123 and 124 of Robert Speltz’s book “The Real Runabouts, Volume III”. Much of her history is relayed on Page 125 of the same book. Many original photographs, magazine articles and magazine advertisements are with the boat, some are displayed here: Joe Lodge seated in the center of the mid-cockpit with other formally dressed gentlemen; Joe Lodge standing in the forward cockpit; an October, 1930 “Motor Boating” magazine article on Miss Dee Wite II; December, 1930 “Motor Boating” advertisement offering Miss Dee Wite II for sale stating that she is “guaranteed for 70 miles per hour”; November, 1930 “Motor Boating” upholstery advertisement picturing Miss Dee Wite II’s interior; Magazine photo showing Miss Dee Wite II making a 63 mile per hour exhibition run during the Harmsworth Regatta; Miss Dee Wite II photographed alone at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, typed on the back side of the photo are the words “Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, Grosse Point, Mich. Henry & Richmond, Architects, Boston, Mass”, probably an advertising photo for the yacht club architects.
Miss Dee Wite II’s history is well known and well documented. She is an impressively designed and powered one-of-a-kind masterpiece that is in a class by herself, truly a Duesenberg of wooden boats.
Miss Dee Wite II is believed by most experts to be the only remaining unrestored authentic Gold Cup Racing boat in existence.