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Restoration Tribute

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Thanks to a group of Brad Smith’s friends, the first aquatic hot rod owned by the famed engine builder has been given new life.

Stroll around almost any go-fast boating event and you’ll probably spot someone wearing a Smith Power shirt. A bright light in the high-performance marine engine world, Brad Smith, the 39-year-old Missouri-based engine builder who died in a boating accident in 2013, made a big impact with friend and customers, who more often and not were one of the same. Smith Power earned a reputation for building reliable products and providing exceptional customer service.

Smith died four years ago next month, and during the past three-plus years several of his former friends have been restoring his first go-fast powerboat, a 21-foot Liberator pickle-fork model built in 1987. Longtime Smith companions Jeremy Strup, who owns the 30-year-old boat powered by a 2.4-litre outboard engine rebuilt by Top Gun Marine in Nixa, Mo., and Ryan Branch led the restoration project.

For a closer look at the restoration of Brad Smith’s first sportboat, check out the slideshow above.

“It’s hard to believe we’ve been working on it for three years,” said Strup. “But everyone really wanted to get it done. It’s a tribute to Brad. We all spent so much time in that boat 20 years ago.”

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