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Gentry Turbo Eagle: A Classic Project Begins

In offshore racing lore, it’d be difficult to find many boats more notable than the first 46-foot Scarab V-bottom built by company founder Larry Smith. Why? Because it’s the famed triple-engine raceboat campaigned by the legendary Tom Gentry, which he built in 1985 specifically to tackle the Miami to New York endurance race.

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Team Archer Marine in Southern California is planning to restore the Gentry Turbo Eagle, a 46-foot Scarab, back to its original 1985 form.

The crew at Team Archer Marine had a lot of cleaning to do on the 46-footer.Click image to enlargeSo when the 46-footer finds it way out of hibernation in Georgia and lands in a shop in Southern California for a complete overhaul, the project is newsworthy, to say the least. That’s why our friend Eric Colby wrote an informative article on the boat for performanceboats.com. And it’s why speedonthewater.com plans to follow the project as Dan MacNamara and the crew at Team Archer Marine in Costa Mesa, Calif., attempt a full restoration of the iconic Gentry Turbo Eagle, which not only won a world championship in 1988 with Don Johnson at the wheel and Bill Sirois on the throttles, but was the first raceboat with the Kiekhaefer drives that would become the Mercury Hi-Performance No. Six drive.

Fortunately for the boat—and its Southern California owner, who was looking for a Scarab raceboat to restore—it’s now in the capable hands of MacNamara, who has been a business partner with Smith for many years and has a vast amount of experience with the models Smith crafted.

“We got the boat here about a week ago and we’ve got it all cleaned up—now we’re chasing parts,” said MacNamara, adding that he plans to use the original motor mounts and other hardware that were saved when the boat was converted to diesel power after its racing days. “I was amazed at how good of shape it was in considering it was sitting out there for 10-plus years. There was an inch of Georgia moss on it and we found weeds growing inside the bilge. That’s not the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

“In four or five weeks we should have the glasswork done so we can start on the paint,” he continued. “From paint to rigging to building the motors, we’re doing everything here. We’re planning to put it back to its original form, except we’re going to use fuel-injection technology and possibly a modern turbo system, although Gentry was using some pretty modern equipment for the time.”

MacNamara said the goal is to finish the boat in the next six months or so. If possible, they’d like to bring it to the Suncoast Superboat Grand Prix in Sarasota, Fla., in July. Although being restored for pleasure use and poker runs, McNamara hinted that the owner may use it to tackle some endurance runs.

Speedonthewater.com is planning to visit Team Archer Marine early next month to check in on the boat’s progress and bring you more images of the classic restoration.

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