There's a lot of great content on this site, that many members never get a chance to see.. In 2016 we are committed to getting back into the groove of providing new and fresh content (Like the Webinar on EFI on January 20th), and while we are gearing up for summer, I figured I would post some of the Articles that we have done in the past every so often.

This particular article came out of the online magazine that Pink Taco and I did awhile back. If you have never clicked that Newsletter button at the top, give it a click, there's lots of great stuff in there, and on the front page!

The Last Rush - (Titled Adrenaline Rush in the final issue of the Magazine)
(Photo's By TommyGun Images!)

We recently had an opportunity to meet up with Phil Axtell to get the story on his absolutely remarkable 21' Rush. It's not common knowledge outside of bar conversations, or perhaps on the rare occasion when I'm in the company of a 21' Rush that the subject comes up, but it is absolutely my favorite looking hull of all time. From the long bow, to the smooth transition on the bubble deck, exceptionally wide side rails leading up to the gunnels, to the perfectly shaped transom, the shape of this hull is about as sexy as it gets, regardless of time period.

Long time RDP Member John OBrien contacted me via a PM saying he has a boat that I'm going to have to see with my own eyes to believe. He told me a story about a friend of his named Phil whom he had known for quite a few years, and recently Phil had gotten his boat out of storage. Being not only friends, but river friends John was shocked when Phil showed him some pictures of the boat, and it turned out to be a Blown 21' Rush V-Drive. This speaks a little to Phil's exceptionally humble character.

I talked to John and we got a meet time setup at the Pirates Den Resort in Parker so that we could take some pics of the boat, and if Phil was up for it take it out for some video and running shots. I had never seen the boat before, but when someone tells you they are bringing a blown Rush down, you can pretty much go on good faith it's going to be worth seeing and taking pics of.

As Pink Taco began setting into Photography mode I spent sometime with Phil listening to the story on the boat. Phil, like myself, had fallen in love with the Rush hull from the first time he saw one. He had first seen a rush at some circle races, and the boat that won the heat happened to be a 21' Rush. He decided right then and there that he had to have one, and the long journey of acquiring one began.

Unlike most boat builders in the ultra custom v-drive world, generally the boat manufacturers are as picky about their customers, as the customers are about their boats. This along side the fact that all the parts are custom made and expensive, is part of the reason the whole segment of boating has more or less fallen off the face of the earth with the exception of very few exotics in modern days.

Phil went and talked to Grier about building the boat, and it ended up taking him several years to talk Grier into building it for him! Grier would mutter things like "You don't want that boat" when Phil would go into the shop. When he finally convinced Grier that he wasn't going away, and wasn't going to substitute for anything else, the tone at a pace that makes glaciers look fast finally changed to "Ok we will build the boat."

Phil coming away from this with the feeling like he finally crossed the hurdle, had no idea what was in store. The boat was laid up solid red, with beautiful wooden floors, and was immediately capped. Now all that was left was to put to pick the power and begin the process of rigging it. There are few on the planet then or now, that were as talented as Grier Rush when it came to custom machining and fabrication in the application of high performance boats. With those kind of talents, they often times come with certain personality "quirks." Phil being a purist and wanting to keep the deck clean elected to ask Grier to rig the fuel fills on the inside of the boat, a thought that he believed Grier would've liked as it helps to preserve the lines of the boat. You can imagine his surprise, and the awkward silence immediately after Grier said "No. I really don't think this is the boat for you."

Phil was now more or less left with a choice, he could let his brand new hull go down the road, or learn the absolute true meaning of the word "compromise." Not something you would normally equate with buying a true custom boat. As the build progressed and more rigging and money went into the boat, Phil could ultimately end up leveraging Grier a little to get what he wanted. Grier originally told him he couldn't have back seats, and wanted to push the motor way forward ultimately building a true "Marathon" race boat. Phil wanted a family HotRod, that could could run near a true Marathon boat, or become one with minimal changes. By the end of the build, they both had learned the meaning of the word compromise.

With negotiations taking place on every aspect of the build from having back seats, to motor placement a hybrid of two visions came together to create what you see here. Once finished rigging, the boat was torn back down so all the parts could be annodized, and the Hull was sent over to Dick Vale for paint.

She was born in 2000 making her relatively young as far as featured V-Drives go, but while being fairly new she was born with a rich heritage of racing in her blood. You see the Rush hull is no stranger to the race course, and even less of a stranger to Checkered Flags. This boat was built with long distance and high speed in mind, a true marathon thoroughbred.

Grier incorporated a very special down pedal in this boat, that works on a hinge system that actually comes off the underside of the deck! You push the pedal like a clutch pedal in a car, and it utilizes the larger muscles in your leg greatly reducing driver fatigue. Because the throw of the pedal is greater there is also less resistance against the return springs reducing fatigue even more. As the last bonus the longer throw of the pedal allows the driver to take a more precise and consistent set on the plates even in rough water conditions.

The boat sports a 572 inch Big Block Chevy with a 1471 blower on it. Again Phil is exceptionally modest so all I could get out of him in our talks was "A little over a thousand HP." When I asked him about the top speed that he had driven the boat, he said "High 90's, somewhere around the century mark." Again this goes back to the modesty, because as he was telling me this I could see John rolling his eyes. I can't confirm because we didn't run it that hard during the shoot, but knowing the stats, and the hull I'd be very surprised if it didn't run near the 110 mark with a two blade in race shape.

While the boat isn't a barn find, it has certainly been in storage for awhile. Phil started having children approximately 12 years ago, and needless to say even with mufflers the fire breathing monster that is his Rush wasn't going to cut it . His wife suggested a pontoon as a temporary solution, and Phil parked his baby in storage. Here it is almost eight years later looking exactly how it did when she was put away! The kids are pre-teen now, and the functionality of a toon have finally subsided to the cool of a Performance boat.

Phil plans to spend a lot more time in this boat with his family in the upcoming season. I hope we get some go pro's on it soon so I can show you what makes a Rush an actual RUSH.