Rod Zapf: Hydrostream HST #88

COR Driver Profile: Rod Zapf #88

1988 Hydrostream HST / Mercury 2.0 Liter

Rod drove his first boat race in 1951 and has been living close to the edge ever since. His first real boat-racing engine was a 1954 MK-20H.

With a need for speed, Rod graduated from college in 1959 and went into the Naval Aviation program, earning his wings in 1961. Over the next 10 years he flew planes off the Navy carriers Antietam, Lexington, Randolph and Intrepid (which is now a museum in New York).

While in Key West, and during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he raced Sport E and "36", having the fortune of racing in the famous Miami Stadium.

By 1967, Rod moved to California and began racing stock outboard, classes "C", "D", "F", "R" in Outboard Pleasure Craft (OPC) division, in both hydro and runabout boats allowing him to race in over 10 heats in one day. By 1971 Rod moved to over to inboard driving a 280 called the Skoshi Tiger.

Just a year later, Bill Boyes (current APBA Region 11 Chairman) and Rod designed and built the 2nd tiger with the idea of "beating the Jones" using Chevrolet power versus Chrysler.

The Tiger II won the Western Divisional race, was 4th in the Nationals, and also won the overall U.S. High Points Champion in 1976, known as the boat to beat in Southern California Speedboat Club (SCSC).

The Tiger Team then moved up to the 2.5-liter (alky) class with a Jones Hydro named "Super Tiger", and then into the 6-liter class with the "Flying Tiger". The first Flying Tiger being a home built; placed 2nd in one heat at the Dayton Globe Nationals and was disqualified in the 2nd.

The next "Flying Tiger" was built by John Gibbs and proved to be the best tiger to date winning 2 Nationals, set a one mile competition record that stood for nearly 6 years and was U.S. National High Points winner which placed me in APBA's Hall of champions.

In 1991, Rod was asked to drive the old Budweiser, one of the last of the unlimited piston hydros powered by a Rolls Griffin engine that pushed 3500 hp on the dyno.

A few years back Rod decided to put together a set of rules for an outboard class that would run around 80 mph, could be used for family fun when not being raced, low cost, no belts, no enclosed cockpit but lots of fun! This class was to be similar to the family racing of the 60's and became known as the COR (Classic Outboard Runabout) class that is growing steadily in popularity today.