I've owned a couple of the Cougar V-Drive tunnels. I believe I bought the original black and orange gel coat racer in 1982 and ran that with Fraser Valley Drag Boat Association for many years. It was a 1979 hull I think. The center pod was deeper and above 105 mph or so it would start to chine. I was getting close to getting hurt a few times so in 1988 or so I ordered a new one, the primarily orange one #6 in the photos. The center pod was the same depth as the two outer pods. Wayne Booth and Herb McIntyre put the orange boat together for me as Specialty Marine out of Mission, BC and they helped me make the black boat run well too. The black boat was sold to a local Mission kid and converted to jet. I successfully raced the orange boat up until 2002. My best e.t. with a 482 and 1050 dominators was 9.61 @ 122 mph at a Columbia Drag Boat Association race in Oregon. I won FVDBA high points in 1997. I would have been very comfortable driving that boat in the 9 second bracket, it was solid as a rock. Having been around racing as long as I have now I'm not sure about racing in the 8's with that combo but I would be willing to give it a try. It was a big heavy hull though, would take a lot of jam to move it that quick. I did ask for a lighter layup but was told that wouldn't happen. Whether that was from Cougar or maybe Wayne and Herb trying to protect me I don't know but I think it was from Cougar. I had the right prop and rudder combo and the boat was well set up by Herb and Wayne. I never really had the money to spend on a stout engine anyway. That boat drove as nice as any I've ever driven. The only other Cougar tunnel I drove was an outboard and I couldn't believe the torque steer at high speed.
The boat was stolen from our Moses Lake Washington race site. I did get it back 70 days later and they had taken everything but the steering column. I had just put a fresh 427 in it with some borrowed parts, had to take care of that too. It had been really thrashed too, looked like it was dragged sideways through a gravel pit. It lost all appeal for me, I had to pay to get it back, the cops didn't give a damn about anything to do with it. People bought my parts at swap meets and tried to sell them back to me. And then even my racing buddies were giving me hell for not putting it back together. It was a pretty big hit all around. All of this moved me out of the racing part of the program and into the photography/writing part of the sport, which is much more profitable by the way.
After still being angry about the thing a couple of years later I finally just handed it over to Herb. H'e taken quite a few years to put it back together and done a great job. There's still some battle scars if you look close, it's anything but a trailer queen. Those pictures you see are mine and the reason you don't see any running shots of it are I was in the passenger seat when it did run. That day was sort of a set up day for the boat, the motor was still a little cranky and there was some fine tuning to do. Herb has always been a little crazy behind the wheel, not many people are brave or stupid enough to get in the passenger seat with him. He did a couple of things that had me thinking I was going to bite it and I wasn't even driving. Something was goofy with the tach and I don't think we were geared right, not enough travel in the gas pedal either, just a bunch of minor things that needed looking to. I couldn't tell how fast we were going but it definitely got there quicker with that power than any motor I ever had in there. Of course was thinking all the time I would get to drive it but that never happened. When both of us have a little more time something like that will happen.
Here's a link to those shots, http://picasaweb.google.com/snarkula
I think the blue factory racer ended up in Alberta, I'll check my pictures but I think a guy raced with us at Shumway Lake in Kamloops with that hull.