Bill Muncey *

Inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 1986


MunceyBillHead 72(1928 – 1981)

Bill Muncey was born on November 12, 1928 in Royal Oak, Michigan. He went on to become one of the true super stars in hydroplane racing.

By the end of his 31 years of hydroplane racing, he came to define high-speed boat racing. No man had ever gone so fast, so consistently for so long.

MunceyBillNavy 72Bill won his first championship at the prestigious Gold Cup race in Detroit in 1956 driving the first of his three Miss Thriftway boats. By 1981 he’d notched an amazing total of 62 career victories. Along the way he’d picked up a record number of titles that included eight Gold Cups, seven National Championships, and four World Championships.

MunceyBill3rd 72He was a fierce competitor and the man to beat in every race he entered. Between 1960 and 1963 he won 14 races including a string of six victories in seven races entered in 1962. At the age of 48, in 1978, Bill tore the circuit apart by winning five races in the legendary Pay ‘N Pak boat, which retired that year as the most successful thunderboat in history with 17 victories.

The following year Bill joined the Atlas Van Lines racing team. Previously, in 1972, driving the Atlas Van Line V, he’d won all the titles on the circuit and put together another of his patented six wins in seven races. Bill continued his winning ways driving the Atlas Van Lines boat to two Gold Cups and a National Crown in the next three years.

MunceyBill7th 72No one had to tell him about danger. He often pushed his boats to the ragged edge and lived through two crashed to prove it, but on October 18, 1981, at the age of 52, Bill Muncey’s boat crashed at 175 mph during a race in Acapulco, Mexico and fate caught up with him. At the time of the fatal crash, he was characteristically storming out in front of the pack in the finals of the World Championship.

To many, Bill Muncey died the way he lived, a true champion.