A Hemi powered race boat gets respect. If it is a Keith Black Hemi engine race boat an entirely higher level of respect is given to the racer. In Hydroplanes and quarter mile race boats, a Keith Black Hemi is considered a top contender.
Keith’s first marine Chrysler V-8 Hemi was built in 1956. Black built this, his first Hemi, for his team of Black, Hallett and Greer for their 7 Litre Hydroplane. That boat, SEVEN GRAND, set a competition record of 86.455 MPH. Black’s Hemi made 375 Hp running alcohol through its fuel injection system.
Chrysler Corporation wanted to get more marine business for their Hemi engines. They made Keith Black the man to develop their marine Hemi. Black also made the engines for the Unlimited Hydroplane Miss Chrysler Crew.
He used two blown 426 Chrysler Hemi engines in the Miss Chrysler Crew. Note, two Chryslers are only 852 cubic inches in displacement, against the 1700 cubes of the converted aircraft engines, used at this time frame in the Unlimited Hydroplane boats.
The Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane was a 40 % bigger version of the Miss Crazy Thing Hydro, which had one Hemi engine. Both boats were designed by Henry Lauterbach then of Portsmouth, Virginia. Henry designed a 29’ 2” long hull with a beam of 11’ 10”. Most other hydros were longer, up to 35’ in length. U-77, her racing number, was also lighter by about 1,000 lbs. She also had a non-trip chine on the inside of the sponson. This allowed her to slide more in the turns. The engines and their Casale gearbox weighted in by about 300 lbs lighter, compared to an WW II aircraft engine and its gearbox. U-77, Miss Chrysler Crew won the UIM World Championship Regatta in 1967.
With this inside track relationship at Chrysler, Black expanded into quarter mile drag boats and cars. The GREER-BLACK-PRUDHOMME quarter mile land dragster in the early 1960s had a 236 wins to 7 losses. Greer, a successful machinist, and Black, the premier drag boat engine builder, proved the perfect match for PRUDHOMME to the young Van Nuys, Calif. driver.