updated Feb 2004




The Alberta B / Wa - Hite circa 1925


That's Bill at the wheel of his custom built Elco Express cruiser. Originally christened the Alberta B, it's 37 feet long and was powered by a 200hp Hall-Scott engine. It could hit 35mph which was very fast in the 1920's for a boat of that size. But Dodi Knapp's "Miss Demure" Sea Sled went 45 mph So out came the Hall -Scott and in went a Liberty V-12 aircraft engine which proved to be too much for the hull. I have learned that although they were good pals, Dana and Dodi always had a rivalry going on when it came to boats. The name was changed to "Wa-Hite "in 1930 after Bill and Alberta divorced. I have an unconfirmed report that Wa-Hite means "up yours" which would be understandable as there was great aniomosity between the divorced couple that followed Bill to an early grave in the New Year of 1939.

After Bill died, Ella sold the boat and it went through several hands and major neglect. Master marine mechanic, Dan Acierno of Sayville, LI. discovered it in the woods decades later and rescued it. The boat was fully restored using the original factory blueprints that Dan still has, though he no longer owns Wa-Hite . Today it is in Lake Tahoe and reportedly up for sale for close to the amount of money Bill left Ella in his will.




This was a radical design for Elco at this time. The Red Stamp on the print says CONFIDENTIAL. Known in the teens and twenties mainly for sedate cabin boats, during WWII Elco PT Boats became legendary for their speed and performance.




Formerly "Alberta D" I believe it should be "B"

Alberta's middle name was Benham

Sept 1930 : Bill notified his insurance company of the boats name change. Boat was insured for $ 9,000.00

William Floyd Estate /fiis




There is nothing DEMURE in this Hacker design boat that Otis "Oak" Palmer in Moriches built for Dana in the late '20's or early 30's . That's a Liberty V-12 Aircraft engine with straight pipes. (HELL OF A DUCK CALL!) & RAW BRUTE POWER!!!!

photo courtesy Dan Acierno




photo courtesy Jack Libaire





who could? Not The Coast Guard for sure....Dodi ????

That's the Libaire Family in the boat circa 1940. Ella sold it to them.. Henry A. Libaire was a director/ member of the NYSE and longtime friend of both Dana & Dodi. Young Johnny Libaire went along for the fun times . He is now around 91 years old and lives in Oakdale. He said you could hear this boat coming 10 miles away

photo courtesy Dan Acierno



This is the actual Liberty V-12 that Dana had installed in the Wa-Hite, undergoing restoration at Dan's shop in 2002






Dana had three Rolls Royces * , two that I have paperwork on were, a 1920 Silver Ghost chassis # 14 C.W. and a 1926 Phantom # 73 D.C. Although these are not photos of his actual cars, You can see home movies of one of his Rolls here. In the 1920's you purchased the chassis from Rolls and then had the body of your choice installed by a custom coach builder. I am sure at least one of them if not both was an open car because John LaBaire said Bill had oarlocks installed in the dashboard and door trim to hold the shotguns they used for hunting. LaBaire said that Dana and Dodi really were hard on cars back then. Plus the roads were terrible and the cars were always driven to the limits on and off them. I have copies of several repair bills from Rolls Royce of America in Garden City for Dana's actual cars. One has a $750.00 estimate to repair the chassis on the Ghost in 1927. Had to be a hell of a pot hole or was it a lopped tree he drove over?

 * Source RROCA







William Shepherd Dana & Friend circa 1930