The “Fire Bomb” radio-controlled hydroplane was designed and built by John Storoz, of Michigan. This hydroplane was modeled after the 1950s style Gold Cup speed boats, and was completely hand crafted by Mr. Storoz. John was a tool and die maker in the Detroit area, and he started this project in his basement in 1954. It measures about 50″-long, 24″-wide, 10″-high at the engine, and 17″-high from the bottom of the rudder to the top of the tail fin (which doubles as a fuel tank). His custom engine is 11″-long, 8″-wide and 6″-high with a bore of 1-1/8″ and a stroke of 7/8” for a total capacity of 7.2 cubic inches (118 cc). The engine is connected to the propeller shaft by a chain just ahead of the flywheel that houses a centrifugal clutch. The flywheel is configured for rope starting.

Mr. Storoz began making patterns, molds, and castings for the engine, and then machined the components on a small Atlas horizontal milling machine, lathe, and drill press. It appears he finished the project in the early 1960s.

The radio controls include throttle, rudder, and spark advance via a three-channel Schmidt vacuum tube-type radio transmitter and receiver.

The Fire Bomb radio controlled hydroplane.
A close-up of the Fire Bomb engine.
The Fire Bomb radio controlled hydroplane.
The Fire Bomb radio controlled hydroplane.
The Fire Bomb rudder and stern.
John Storoz poses with an engine.
John Storoz poses with an engine.

Exhibit added: November 1, 2016 - Last modified: February 3, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship