To trace the roots of Magnum’s racing success, one needs to go back to another famous name in the yachting world: Richard Bertram, who, after graduating from Princeton, moved to Miami to start a yacht brokerage firm and a boating career as a competitive sailor. In 1958 Bertram discovered one of the cornerstones of modern powerboat design—the deep-V hull.That summer, at the America’s Cup, Bertram saw a powerboat knifing through the confused surf at nearly thirty knots. “No one had ever seen a powerboat performance approach it.” Bertram immediately saw the potential of this new deep-V hull designed by C. Raymond Hunt and commissioned Hunt to design a thirty-one foot deep-V hull with the same 24 degree dead rise, hard chines, and running strakes. Bertram had the boat built in wood in Miami and Moppie, as she was called after his wife, was launched in 1959.
The following year, in 1961, Bertram and Griffith won the Miami-Nassau race in a fiberglass version of the original boat. Bertram became the most famous name in powerboat racing. This was also the year when the thirty-four-year-old Don Aronow, a real estate developer in New Jersey, moved to Miami where he began racing for a hobby. Aronow asked naval architect and Offshore World Champion, Jim Wynne, to design for him a deep-V racer similar to the one Hunt had designed for Bertram. He called the racer “Formula” and as Bertram had done, he built a company, Formula Marine, to go with it. In 1964, Aronow won the first of sixteen career victories in his new Formula 27 , Claudia II. When Don Aronow launched the Maltese Magnum 28, also later known as the Magnum 27, it immediately set the tone for the company as a builder of strong and reliable power boats. It was this formula of tough and reliable fast boats that had been proven in competition that made it easy to convince the public that a Magnum was the boat of choice when they wanted to enjoy the thrills of high speed on the water for pleasure.
By 1970 Magnum began to feel the stiff competition from the Cary ( Elton Cary was a former partner of Aronow’s) and from Cigarette Racing Team. The brand’s savior turned out to be the Italian Marchese, Filippo Theodoli. Filippo had developed an early passion for the sea during his training at the Naval Academy, graduating shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Together, he and his wife, Katrin, became Magnum’s greatest ambassadors in Europe, cruising the most popular ports in the Mediterranean, meeting with clients, and generally showing off the flashy Magnums among the more staid European yachts. “The rest is history…”