TRI-CITIES, WA - A year into its rebuild, the 1979 Squire Shop is in full swing. Owner Gary Laws and his crew have been working on it every week.
''We have the crew working on the left-hand sponsor which is the side for the turn," Laws said. "They're working on the running surfaces now.''
In our original story, we told you about how this project got started. Laws found what was left of the boat for sale on eBay. After purchasing the hull, Laws and former Squire Shop driver, Chip Hanauer, found the cowling at the bottom of Lake Washington... where it laid for 33 years after a crash in 1980.
''This is that exact original cowling that went into the lake," Laws explained. "You can see certain areas where we repaired damage from the crash it was 50 feet in the air before it landed. All repair work here.''
Since beginning the project and the story first airing, fans across the country have come forward with original pieces of the boat.
''That story led to another acquisition which would be the drivers cowling from the Circus Circus," said Laws. "I got a chance email from the individual who still happened to have it. He said 'hey, I saw your story with Chip bringing the cowling up from the lake and I have the other half. Would you be interested in it?'''
Slowly but surely the Squire Shop is coming together.
Laws and the crew are hoping to return it to the water at SeaFair in 2019.
4-20-17 ORIGINAL STORY:
KENT, WA - The word 'destiny' is loosely thrown around in the sports world these days. But when it comes to the Miss Squire Shop vintage hydroplane, 'destiny' is the perfect word to describe it.
The Squire Shop was built and introduced back in 1979. It was instantly a fan favorite, being driven by the legendary Chip Hanauer, who ended up having great success with the boat, including a 1981 Atomic Cup victory.
But fast-forward to 2012. A boat race fan by the name of Brad Haskin stumbled upon the Squire up for sale on e-Bay. His immediate thought? To buy the boat. So he reached out to his friend Gary Laws. After negotiations, Laws and his family eventually bought the Squire and in 2013 brought the boat to display at Seafair.
It was there Laws learned the Squire had been involved in a crash during the 1980 Seafair, and the original engine cowling was at the bottom of Lake Washington.
''Just by a chance encounter, another team a couple of years ago had lost a propeller at Seafair and they sent some divers down to recover it," said Haskin, a Squire Shop crew member. "While they were looking for the propeller, they ran across the cowling sitting at the bottom of the lake. It took two tries to get it off the bottom. Considering it was at the bottom of Lake Washington for 32 years, it's really in good condition.''
After pulling the cowling up from Lake Washington, it was time to go to work. The crew stripped down the boat, looking for parts they could use and parts they would need to be scrap. But unfortunately, most of it was unusable.
''This was a result of the 20-plus years of the boat sitting in a field," Haskin said. "It kind of helped us make the decision that we needed to rebuild the entire boat from scratch.''
So with the cowling intact along with a few other parts, the volunteer crew is going to work...restoring the vintage Miss Squire Shop. And to help, they even recruited John Watkins, who actually helped build the original boat back in '79.
''There's a lot of memories and just the excitement of doing it," Watkins said. "The speed is always a thrill. I'm hoping to drive the boat.''
The crew says it will take them 2-3 years to finish the boat, but if history tells us anything, destiny is on their side.
''A lot of pieces fall in place when you start putting together a boat like this, like getting John on board," said Squire Shop restoration volunteer Steve Compton. "A lot of parts started to fall in place to make this thing really want to come together."