BAM, the project
36' Cigarette, originally built in 1972. As far as I can tell (there has been some question as to whether it was KAM I or II, but I just met someone who worked on the boat at Lake X and recognized it immediately as KAM I ) , this boat was the original Kiekhaefer Aeromarine I, built by Don Aronow and Carl Kiekhaefer for the world champion offshore racer and eye surgeon, Doc Magoon. I am owner #4.
When I purchased the boat in 1978 it was literally in pieces. It came with 4 engines. A pair of Kiekhaefer 454's with front gear drive and a pair of 482's. All 4 were completely disassembled. It was rigged with Kiekhaefer/Mercury #3 Speedmaster drives, mounted very low. Along the way someone had cut the skegs off of the drives.
As this was to be a pleasure boat for me, I had decided that the existing 3 man cockpit set up had to go. The rear cockpit bulkhead was folded back over the fuel tanks to create a rear seat, The front bulkhead was cut out and a new one was installed about 18" forward of the original.
By the time I had finished patching all the holes and redoing the cockpit and dash a 55 gallon drum of resin was consumed. BAM weighs 11,800 lbs with the blower motors.
The 482 engines were sent to George Foltz, an engine builder in Detroit. After over a year they came back with just about 620 HP using GM iron heads. I don't know where George is today, but his son Carl (CFE) still does all of my cylinder heads, and is considered to be one of the best in the business.
In 1983 I became involved with Peter Guild of Pro Motor Engineering. At the time Pro was just outside of Chicago. They had done some offshore engines for Howard Arneson, and was one of the few shops in the area with a dyno. Until this point I had built a few engines with limited success. Over the next few years, I finally learned how to really build an engine. Soon I had over 850 HP with a pair of 540 Cu In tunnel ram engines. I was able to run them an entire year between rebuilds, including some APBA divisional racing and the World Championships in Key West.
in 1980, after a few runs on Lake Michigan in Chicago we headed to Lake X for some testing. Our best result was a little over 80 MPH with 1.5 ratio drives Schwebe lent me for the test. The boat would run just about 78 with the 1.4 ratio drives I owned at the time. Last December, just before pulling my 1000 horsepower blower engines the boat ran 106 MPH.
In my 20 + years with this boat I have run #3, #4 and #5 drives, with and without 12" and 16" extension boxes, mounted, low, high and in between. I have run gear ratios from 1.4 to 1.575, props from 2 blade 15 x 24" to 18 x 32 4 blades. By this time I have a good feel for what this boat needs to run, and along the way learned a few things about drive heights, setbacks, gear ratios and props. One of the best things I ever did for handling was the addition of an 80 gallon ballast tank in the nose.
Last December, I found that the transom has some rot. After running the boat for 20 years, I have decided it is time for a major re-rig. Instead of just re-coring the transom, I ham going to extend the back of the boat. This way I can eliminate my extension boxes.
more to come as the project progresses.............