Wood & Glory XX Celebrates Notre Dame’s Launching


 Presented by Wayne Mooers, Chapter Historian, July 2018

“No words can describe the anticipation and excitement I felt as I climbed into the driver’s seat next to Gerard Raney that day at Clear Lake.  I was anxious to fire-up the 100 year old, 24 cylinders, Duesenberg for its maiden voyage.  (It would be 70 years since my father, Gene, and his older brother, Dan Arena, had turned it off after her last race.) As I hit the starter button and the engine roared to life, the “Notre Dame” leaped forward like a rocket ship on top of the water.  The engine, with its 917 H.P. and 1000 foot pounds of torque took Gerard and me for a thrill ride of a lifetime.  While we raced across the water, we had a second to look at each other and just grin. I felt Dan, and Gene were sitting with us and smiling as well.

I experienced such a sense of family history on this day, for I grew up listening to stories of the triumphs and disappointments of this famous race boat, designed and built by Dan Arena. The most notable achievements include winning the “President’s Cup,” the “Silver Cup” and the “Gold Cup.”  It also broke the 100 MPH speed record in 1940.

For Gerard Raney, it was so much more.  It was a fulfillment of a 26-year promise to Dan and Gene to reproduce the Notre Dame”. Gerard had purchased the W-24 Duesenberg in 1993 and originally anticipated building a vintage race car for the engine. Upon learning the engine’s history and making contact with the Arena Brothers, he knew what he wanted to to do even though he had never built or owned a boat. His most memorable quote before embarking on this project was, “How hard can it be?”

It is my belief there is no other person who could have completed this project that included rebuilding the one-of-a-kind 1927 engine, and the building of a replica of the 1939 “Notre Dame. Gerard used some of the original drawings and the construction diary, along with photographs from that time, to create a beautiful identical twin of the original “Notre Dame”.

I have come to admire and respect Gerard and his family for who they are and what they have accomplished during these last 26 years. It has been a dream come true for all involved.”

Dan Arena, July 2018

G-5’s owner & builder Gerard Raney and driver Dan Arena launch & celebrate the Raney family’s happy moment with Wood & Glory fans

Dan Arena & owner Gerard Raney prep for launching, June 1, 2018

Rare, super charged W-24 Duesenberg, 24 cylinder, 917 HP


Owner / Builder                   Gerard Raney, Redwood City, CA

Design                                    Stepped hydroplane, two point

Year                                        1939

Length                                    22’ bottom + 3’ stern overhang

Engine                                    Duesenberg, W 24 cylinders

6 cams, 96 valves, 3 magnetos

Engine HP                              917 HP @ 5,000 RPM

Boat Speed                            100 MPH

Boat Materials                      Wood hull, aluminum cowlings

Replicated                             1993 ~ 2018

Value                                      Priceless