Feast your eyes on Miss Universe. While this gorgeous nautical beauty queen may look like it just stepped out of a 1920s pageant, the 33-foot rocket ship was built just 16 years ago in 2003 at a cost of more than $500,000.
If its sleek, sexy lines don’t set your pulse racing, its raw power will. Taking pride of place midships in the boat, with no cover to mask its mechanical beauty, is a thundering Italian-built BPM V-12 packing 750-plus horsepower. At wide-open throttle it’s capable of pushing Miss Universe to an eye-watering, literally, 60-plus mph.
Now this varnished mahogany marvel is being offered on the popular auction website Bring a Trailer with what the selling agent describes as a “ridiculously low” reserve. But hurry: The auction ends April 17.
Miss Universe was built for passionate wooden boat collector Warren Greatbatch, whose father, Wilson Greatbatch, invented the heart pacemaker.
He commissioned acclaimed American yacht designer Geoff Dickes to create the stunning hull shape, inspired by the legendary Miss America Gold Cup racers of the 1920s and ’30s.
The task of building the boat went to Vermont marine artisans Tom Hill and Peter Russett who spent 5,000 hours over 13 months constructing the inch-thick tongue-and-groove mahogany-plank hull and stepped laminate bottom.
After initially installing an air-cooled Curtiss V-12 aero engine, then a Rolls-Royce Meteor V-12 tank engine—both gave off too much heat—Greatbatch found his perfect powerplant: a water-cooled 12-liter V-12 marine engine built by Verona, Italy-based BPM Motori Marini. With its six dual-barrel Weber carbs, it was factory-rated at 750 horsepower at 4,800 rpm when new.
In the Miss America tradition, the big V-12 was left exposed in the center of the boat for all to see—and hear. The small cockpit behind the massive engine features a comfy leather bench seat for three with a custom console and classic wood-rimmed wheel.
“The sound is just music to your ears,” says Florida-based broker Scott Ales, who is orchestrating the sale for the owner. “As the revs pass 1,300 you get this deep, wonderful drone that gets louder all the way to 4,900 rpm. We’ve taken the boat to 60 mph on Lake Dora here in Florida and there was still plenty of speed left.”
Ales says the boat has only been used for approximately 50 hours since completion, and after a recent service is ready for its new owner. It even comes with its own custom triple-axle trailer.
Take a look at the listing on BringaTrailer.com; there are more than 300 photos, including build photos and design drawings. There are also videos, like the one below, showing Miss Universe in jaw-dropping high-speed action. A beauty queen indeed.