Thunderbird – frighteningly expensive but a 2200hp twin-engined Art Deco beauty

Here are some more photos from my brother Matthew Atkin’s recent trip to Nevada and California.

Designed by John L Hacker, M/V Thunderbird was built by the Husking Boat and Motor Works and launched in July 1940.

She is 55ft long, and powered by twin WWII Allison V1710 aircraft engines that were previously fitted to a P-38 Lightning – and that adds up to 2200hp. Fuel consumption is 4US gallons per mile.

There’s nothing about this Art Deco-era vessel that doesn’t make me want to sit down and gawp. Keeping her in this wonderful condition must be a tremendous enterprise – she’s said to cost $5000 for every hour under way, all supported by public donations, so there seems little doubt that Hacker’s amazing Thunderbird is a deeply loved boat.

Read about Hacker-Craft here, and see a video of Thunderbird being launched for her 71st season here.