|Perfection in Every Rotation
For almost 75 years the Hill family has played an active role in the power boating industry. In
1935, Russ Hill Sr. started outboard racing. His love for boat racing lasted 62 years. During
the early years, Russ spent many hours modifying his engines and they were always well
In 1949 Russ Hill Jr., won the William Randolph Hearst Regatta where there were 32 “A” Hydros
in the race. Right after the Hearst Regatta, Russ dropped the lid of his prop box on his best
BRASS propeller and bent one blade. He decided to straighten this blade over the trailer hitch
ball. The trailing edges were very thin, so he bent a little “KINK” (now known as cup) in the
trailing edge to strengthen the blade. Fearing he might have ruined the prop, he did not touch
the other blade. To Russ’ surprise winning that day’s race was easy.
While testing at Lake Elsinore, California the next weekend, Russ Hill Sr. realized his best prop
was now two miles an hour faster than it had ever been. Over the next few years, Russ, Sr. and
Russ Jr. pounded on many propellers. Russ Jr. spent many hours at Dr. Wayne R. Ingles home
pounding on Stannis “C” racing propellers on pitch blocks that were rumored to have caused at
least two divorces.
It wasn’t until Russ Jr. returned from the U.S. Army in 1955 and started racing STOCK Mercury
motors, that Russ Sr. really got away from modifying motors and started modifying propellers.
From 1952 until probably late 1970 Russ Hill Sr. built 95% of the outboard racing motors in
In 1960, Salton City was paying boat racers to race. The races were only on Sunday, making
Saturday a practice day. Ted May and Russ Hill decided to smear lipstick on the front of a prop
and see what lipstick was missing and what the blades would look like after testing. Ted and
Russ had hammer on, ground on and bent many propellers but were never sure why they
ended up going faster or slower.
Ron, ten years younger than his brother Russ, always tried to win every race and especially
wanted to out do his older brother. After finishing second in the 1959 Nationals, Ron wanted to
win the 1960 Nationals. On a January day, 1960, the Hill Family learned a lot about props. The
family also learned that putting non-smear lipstick on props never wore off…Russ Hill, Sr. with
the help of Ted May, worked on Ron Hill’s “D” Propeller all day. They gained from six miles per
hour just by hammering on the blades and looking at the lipstick trail. That day changed the Hill
Ron, started racing in 1955 at age 11. Team Evinrude sponsored him starting in 1966. Ron
was 22 years old and already had more than 20 APBA and World titles. While Ron traveled
he'd sell his race props that he no longer needed or used. In 1969, Ron started Ron Hill
Propellers and most of his customers were old friends who had bought props from him as he
travel the world racing boats.
Besides being a nationally known boat racer, Russ Hill Sr. spent a lifetime building motors and
propellers seldom charging much if anything. His contributions and commitment to powerboat
racing placed him into the APBA Honor Squadron, APBA’s highest award, in 1973. Ron was
also selected to the APBA Honor Squadron in 1997. There aren’t too many fathers and sons in
the Honor Squadron.
Chad Hill was born in 1977 and at one week old attended his first Natioanl Championship boat
race. Chad won his first Winter Nationals at the age of 10. Later, at 19, Chad was the
youngest Formula One Tunnel boat driver ever. Chad has really been the one keeping the
family business moving ahead. His recent improvements for dual prop drive propellers, his
stainless steel gimbel rings, stainless steel bell housing , his Weedless Mud Motor Propellers,
his improved manufacturing techniques and a lifelong love of EXCELLENT propellers has
made Signature Propellers a world renown product.
Chad has always built his own motors, from J Stock to Formula One, just like his
GRANDFATHER taught him (One good piece at a time. Good things take time and love).
Chad developed the new Signature Dual Prop, The Four By Four the same was his
grandfather developed his father’s race props…hard work and lipstick. Chad over sees every
propeller manufactured by Signature Propellers. All Signature Propellers are manufactured in
the USA and we are proud of that fact.