Miller Boat History

My father, David F. Miller the originator of Miller Boats, started off his career by working for Northrop Aviation during WWII, building wind tunnel models. Obviously his work was Top Secret! All his models had to be built to exacting measurements out of wood. Needless to say, he was extremely accurate. After the war ended, he went back to customizing cars. In 1952 he started building all wood flatbottom ski boats utilizing the latest boat tech (v-drives). His experience with aviation designs helped put him ahead of everyone. He was the first boat builder to utilize "Afterplane" in his bottom design and built the first boat to exceed 100 mph in the 1/4 mile on gas and carburetors in 1959. Keep in mind, back in 1959 engines were much smaller, the engine used for this world record was under 400 HP.!! Needless to say, Everyone in the boat business back then, copied my dad's concepts and design. But one thing they couldn't copy was his skill with wood. Take a look at this 1959 all wood Miller and compare it to other boats back then. Look at the transom where the sides meet the deck, it's all perfectly faired in. NO flat Spots, NO straight lines!!

The picture to the left is a 1958 Miller unblown gas (foreground) in a dead heat with a blown fuel Sanger. The Miller Boat belonged to Hal Holt and it held the worlds record for Carburated Unblown Gas at 101 mph.
My dad was so far ahead of everyone else with hull design and hardware configuration in those days that the competition needed an extra 200+ hp to keep up with a Miller!


The boat with all the trophies is a 1965 Miller circle boat. All those trophies were won in circle boat racing proving just how well Millers could turn too!

This is a 1967 Miller built for Wilt Chamberlain. My dad is giving instructions to Wilt on how boats ride and handle in turns etc. I was there and what's really funny about this picture is just before the picture was taken, Wilt took the boat out with his brother and proceeded to do 360's like he was trying to spin the boat out. When he came back in to shore, my dad went nuts on him, telling him not to do things like that till he gets experienced with driving flatbottom boats. Look at the expression on Wilt and his brothers face, like two kids getting yelled at by their dad. Wilt lived in San Francisco at the time playing for the Warriers. He would cruise the S.F. bay all the time with his Miller flatbottom. Rough water didn't bother him or the boat.


Picture of the first boat my dad made in 1951, picture taken at mud lake, I'm holding the boat.

The following pictures are of my family and our 20' Miller V-Drive I built in 1983. Pictures were taken in 2002 at our favorite lake.