If you were among the 900 million people who watched the Olympic flame on the last leg of its journey to the Olympic Park you would surely have witnessed the spectacular speedboat run down the Thames River. For me, that was the highlight of the evening. First, because I've long been a fan of fast runabouts, right back to the years when they came with polished wooden hulls. Second, because I know the Thames well from my four years living in London. And third, of course, because of the way in which the boat's progress down the river was synchronised to massive pyrotechnic displays, including a curtain of fire descending from Tower Bridge. That it was driven by famous footballer David Beckham was a bonus for soccer fans.
The 2008 Bladerunner BR RIB 35 is to be offered at the Bonhams auction on Monday, December 3rd, at Mercedes-Benz World Brooklands in Surrey, UK. Heavily customised, it was fitted with four dummy rockets with smoke canisters, a high-pressure waterjet bar and dozens of LED lights. The boat is to be sold with the original equipment still attached although most of it will be as useful as the gadgets on the original 007 Aston Martin film car. If I were buying this baby I'd get rid of the rockets but keep the waterjet bar and LED lights.
You'd be justified in asking "so what is a Bladerunner RIB 35?" Built by ICE Marine, it features an air entrapment hull plus electro-hydraulic power steering, Ullman Dynamics suspension, 4 jockey seats, a 6-speaker Infinity marine radio/cd player, SS high performance props, center console with enclosed sea toilet cubicle, and fresh water transom shower. It is 35 feet long, with a 10.5 " beam. Power is supplied by two 200hp Mercury Verado 200 (4-stroke) engines. The latter surprised me as I've always felt that fast boats should be powered by inboards but with a lightweight 400 hp sitting on the stern, who needs a big, heavy, inboard engine?
This Bonhams auction promises to be unique, for it not only includes the Bladerunner boat, but an airworthy WW2 Hawker Hurricane fighter plane (see our Hurricane blog here) and, obviously, a selection of rare and desireable classic cars. While few among us can afford vintage aircraft or modern high-speed powerboats, this is one auction that has to be as much fun for the spectators as it is for the buyers and sellers.