Travolta Starring in Aronow Biopic

John Travolta is starring in a film based on the life and murder of former president of Cigarette Racing Team Don Aronow. Travolta plays a man named Ben Aronof who moves from New York, where Aronow was born and lived, to Miami where he began racing offshore powerboats as a hobby.

The hobby evolved into a business and by the end of 1962, he had formed the Formula Marine boat company, which he then sold to Merrick Lewis’ Alliance Machine Corp out of Dayton, Ohio. In 1964 Aronow started Donzi Marine, before selling that company in mid 1965. In 1966, he founded Magnum Marine and in 1967 proceeded to win his first offshore powerboat racing world championship driving two 27’ Magnums, one powered by a single engine and another with triple outboards.

The Cigarette
Since he was not supposed to be building boats in 1969, according to his non-compete clause following the sale of Magnum Marine, Aronow built the first Cigarette boat under the name Cary, with the help of Elton Cary’s Miami Beach facility. After campaigning his boat, The Cigarette, around the world with mechanic Norris “Knocky” House as his cockpit companion, he won his second world championship in three years, and third consecutive United States Championship while becoming only the second American in history to win the Union Internationale Motonautique Gold Medal of Honor.

Once Aronow was able to formally open his new company, he started Cigarette Racing Team using his own designs in 1970. He sold and bought back the company a couple of times and in 1982, he formed USA Racing Team and built the Blue Thunders, 39-foot catamarans used by the United States Customs Service to patrol U.S. waters. Aronow’s close friend at the time, Vice President George Bush, was a former Cigarette owner and was involved in testing out the 39-foot cats prior to government approval.
The great speed of Cigarette boats made them popular among drug smugglers. On February 3, 1987, Aronow was murdered in his car at the end of 188th Street in Miami where his boat companies operated.