VÉHICULE Presents: Who is Ben Kramer?

Excerpt from Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Ben Kramer. Read the full story in VÉHICULE.American powerboat racing champion Benjamin Barry Kramer hates when people smoke cigarettes around him. At a concert in his hometown of Hollywood, Florida in the early 1970s, he went around the crowd pulling them from peoples’ mouths with only the words “You’re a fucking asshole” as explanation. It was an abrasive yet oddly charming act—a characterization that can be applied to his demeanor as a whole. He had no problem making himself known wherever he went, either by means of his off-kilter charm, his straight talk, or his bombastic individualism. Like any successful sportsman, he always gave his all and always needed to win, giving...

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VÉHICULE Presents: The Rise & Fall of Ben Kramer

Excerpt from Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Ben Kramer. Read the full story in VÉHICULE. “Anglos tend to work the marijuana trade, while the cocaine market is controlled by Colombians and Cubans. No matter what their specialty, the illegal entrepreneurs can be easily spotted. Young Anglos wearing scruffy Levi’s and T-Shirts, gold Rolex watches and ropes of gold chain sit around the marinas waiting for the next call from a mother ship. Current pay for one night’s work piloting a ‘Cigarette’ averages $50,000, while the wages for unloading the bales are $5,000 to $10,000 a night.” —Time Magazine, November 23, 1981, “Paradise Lost”  Ben Kramer was not only one of those “Young Anglos” but used his money made in...

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VÉHICULE Presents: Fort Apache Marina

Fort Apache Marina was Thunderboat Row's legendary high-rise boat storage facility and waterfront bar and restaurant. Founded by Ben Kramer and his father Jack in the early '80s, it was the crown jewel of an otherwise industrial 188th Street.  VÉHICULE was entrusted with this dispatch from a manager who operated Fort Apache in the post-Ben Kramer years. “In 1995, I found myself in the position of general manager of the most notorious high-performance marina in the country. It was an amazing place—just walking around the marina, I could feel the history that was made there. Everything that went on there was present. If I were to tell anyone about Fort Apache, I would have to start with the fact that the...

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VÉHICULE Presents: The Story of Ben Kramer's Apache 47

VÉHICULE talked to powerboat legend and race car driver Lorne L. about his Apache 47 – built and pre-owned by Ben Kramer – that is being restored into its original form in Miami right now. "I saw the boat completed near the end of 1986 at Fort Apache. It was a monster – 3 engines dwarfed the 47. Ben went to one race in 1987, got busted. I thought it was at the Jockey Club in Miami. Word got out that boat and rig were abandoned on the highway en route to the shop. I went on a mission to find that boat. No internet, everything was word-of-mouth – all fabricated stories of sightings from New Orleans East to Florida. All...

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VÉHICULE Presents: Who Killed Don Aronow?

The 1987 murder of Miami powerboat legend Don Aronow captivated the international boating scene. The case’s twists, turns and seemingly never-ending cast of characters leaves the killing a mystery to this day. People have tried to make sense of it, only productions misinformation along the way.VÉHICULE’s in-depth exposé clears the air around the case, bringing you just the facts and illuminates some of the Miami scene’s most prominent characters and places, including Ben Kramer, Rocky Aoki, Betty Cook and the famed Fort Apache.Excerpt from Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Ben Kramer. Read the full story in the VÉHICULE print edition. "Life for Donald Joel Aronow was a series of loud, abrupt noises. The backfires of the junked Cadillacs that he used...

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