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Speedboat Legends

Eliminator’s step-vee Eagle XP line just got bigger and bigger. The 380 with integrated cockpit canopy windscreens became a popular model for the SoCal offshore market.

Eliminator teamed with the Daytona International Speedway to produce some awesome NASCAR-themed boats for the Daytona 500 race.

The full capsule cockpit option on the 36' Daytona makes it race or poker-run ready.

That first boat was a collaboration with George Verkamp, a fireman by trade with mad wood-working skills, who also happened to have a bottom mold for an 18-foot fiberglass flatbottom. Verkamp added his signature custom monkeypod wood deck and sold the blank hull to Leach for rigging and engine install. “The boat was a real attention-grabber,” recalls Leach. “Every time I took it out, people would ask where I got it and if they could buy one. It finally sank in that maybe I should be building and selling boats instead of working for Kellogg’s. It definitely seemed like boats would be more fun.” Leach initially approached Verkamp about going into the boat business with him, but Verkamp wasn’t really inter56

S P E E D B O A T | June 2016

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ested, however he was willing to supply Leach with blank hulls that he could finish and then sell. That was 1969, and Eliminator Boats was born in a small Huntington Park industrial building. It was also a time of boat building renaissance in California with dozens of boat shops dotting the local landscape hoping to capitalize on the burgeoning demand for a variety of racy watercraft brands. The early 1970s was also a period in the Southwest known as the jet boat era. Water pumps manufactured by Berkeley Jet Drive and Jacuzzi were suddenly all the rage thanks to their affordable cost, relatively low maintenance and pinyou-to-the-seat acceleration and overall performance with big block V-8 Ford, Oldsmobile and Chevrolet engines.

Being a shrewd observer of what boaters wanted, Leach immediately turned his attention to developing several new models to capitalize on the jet boat craze. Admittedly, his first attempt at a jet model was only marginally successful since it was a shallow vee-bottom which was soon modified to a more compatible deeper vee that better suited jet drive applications. And then, 1973 was a turning point for Eliminator Boats. Leach teamed up with hull designer and tooling expert Ron Ehde on a hull configuration that would not only catapult Eliminator Boats to the top of the custom boat heap, but would leave an indelible mark on high performance hull design for the next half century. The introduction of the air

4/29/16 8:47 PM

Speedboat June 2016  
Speedboat June 2016