1966 Old Town Sport Boat
Serial number: 175990 12
This Old Town wood and canvas boat measures 12 feet in length, 48″ at it’s widest point, and 17″ deep, rising to 23″ at the bow. It weighs approximately 98 lbs, and along with two rowing stations can carry an outboard motor in the 2 HP to 8 HP range.
Construction began on April 6, 1966, and it was finally shipped on July 20, 1966 to Zimmerman’s of Keene, New Hampshire. The original color of the hull was green, and the cedar hull was complimented by a mahogany transom and gunwales, all varnished.
This beautiful little boat is in remarkable condition, and needs only some minor transom and gunwale repairs. Intended restoration will include those items along with re-varnishing of the interior and re-painting of the hull in the original green enamel.
1947 Gar Wood Cavalier 18′-6″ deluxe utility
Serial number: 7342
In 1916, a partnership began between a brilliant and wealthy American inventor and the C.C Smith Boat and Engine Company for the purpose of creating the fastest racing boats the world had ever seen. The inventor was Garfield Arthur Wood, better known as ‘Gar’ Wood, and the results of his financial backing and speedboat racing experience together with the boatbuilding expertise of the C.C. Smith Boat and Engine Company resulted in the racing boat “Miss Detroit” winning the 1917 Gold Cup.
A long period of near-total dominance of the Gold Cup races would follow that 1917 win. Gar Wood became famous as the fastest man on the water. He even began racing his boats against the fastest express trains of the era over long distances such as between Miami and New York and beating them.
Ever the showman, Gar Wood dressed in formal attire and a top hat in the 1924 Buffalo Launch Regatta to demonstrate that his race boat, ‘Baby Gar IV’, was a ‘gentleman’s runabout’. It didn’t take long for wealthy speedboat lovers to begin clamoring for a ‘Baby Gar’ of their own, and production soon began to satisfy that demand. What is amazing is that the demand was there despite the fact that in 1924, a Baby Gar cost as much as three average three bedroom houses!
Gradually, the partnership between the C.C Smith Boat and Engine Company and Gar Wood became strained. Two companies finally emerged, one that would become known as Chris Craft, famous for beautiful factory production boats built in large numbers that were affordable enough for the average person to attain. The other company, Gar Wood, would go on to produce some of the most sought-after collectable boats of all time. Gar Woods boats, while expensive, became famous for their speed, beauty and breathtaking design.
Today, while thousands of classic wooden Chris Crafts are admired at numerous boat shows around the world, less than 300 Gar Woods are registered with the Gar Wood Society. Their rarity is also reflected in their price; some Gar Wood models are worth two to three times as much as their Chris Craft counterparts.
This 1946 Gar Wood Cavalier 18’-6” deluxe open utility was a jaw-dropping new model when it debuted. While Chris Craft had the 18’ utility that would become known as the Sportsman, it just couldn’t compete with the smooth flowing lines of the Gar Wood. The Cavalier had a beautiful split cutwater that swept smoothly upward into the gunwale rub strips, a flared bootstripe, styling that looked more like a runabout than a utility and blazing performance. In fact, a Gar Wood Cavalier is capable of speeds up to 37 MPH with as many as 6 passengers!
Picture taken during a 1946 photo shoot; copyright Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection
This particular Gar Wood was shipped from the Marysville, Michigan plant on January 31, 1947. It’s first owner lived in Burkehaven, New Hampshire, which is on Lake Sunapee. I have been able to contact the original family, and they continue to run a marina on Lake Sunapee. If you’d like to see the family’s history, along with a photo of the original owner of this boat, here’s the link: http://burkehavenboatworks.com/familyinfo.htm
Only 82 of this model Gar Wood were ever produced, and in 1947, just a few months after this boat was built, Gar Wood closed it’s doors forever. In the years to follow, two companies would produce copies of the ’46-’47 Gar Wood Cavalier eighteeen-six deluxe utility. Those companies were Gar Plane Boats of Cygnet, Ohio and Truscott Boat and Dock Co. of St. Joseph, Michigan. Of the original 82 genuine Gar Woods however, less than 16 are believed to survive.
Update: A new trailer has been completed and the Gar Wood is now on it. Load Rite custom designed one of their Elite series aluminum I-beam inboard trailers just for this boat, and it is just a perfect fit. Not only does the boat fit on the trailer, but the Gar Wood now fits in my garage. . .a very good thing. Here is a picture of the new trailer:
A period Chrysler Crown marine motor has been obtained to power the Gar Wood. The original Chrysler Crown M7 would have been 115 HP. The motor that I have purchased is in good operating order, and is a 1952 Chrysler Crown M47S. The primary differences between the two motors would be the use of sodium filled exhaust valves in the M47S and twin carburetors resulting in an added 20 HP over the original M7. The motor should look and sound appropriate, and I believe that Garfield Wood himself would have approved of the added performance!
Here is a picture of the new motor for the Gar Wood:
1929 Old Town Yankee Canoe – 16 ft.
Serial number: 100730 16
This classic wood and canvas canoe is in need of some planks, 3 ribs, stem and gunwale repairs, and re-canvassing.
According to Old Town’s advertising material from 1929, the Yankee model was designed to be an especially stable canoe. In fact, Old Town said that as near as possible, it was close to having the same stability as one of their 17 or 18 foot models.
The original build sheet for this canoe has been located and is available. It was shipped on May 23, 1929 to its first owner in Branchville, New Jersey.
c. 1949 Penn Yan Rainbow canoe – 17 ft.
Serial number: RC 114
Grade: Spruce deck and gunwales
What an elegant wood and canvas canoe this is! I love the extreme amount of recurve to the bow and stern…it curves nearly a full 180 degrees. In fact, compare the shape of the Rainbow’s bow with the shape of the Old Town Yankee just above. The Yankee is a pretty, classic shape, but the Rainbow. . .it’s just special! Did you notice the external stem with brass stem band? This canoe includes a removable floor, too.
As you can see, the canvas has been removed, and the interior is now stripped. Next wil be the replacement of three cracked ribs, a little bit of planking replacement, and some repair to the extreme stem ends.
Check back soon for a progress report!
1956 Thompson Take-Along Model 240
Hull #62107M – Measuring 11′-5″ long, this is a very rare rowboat that is constructed much like a wood and canvas canoe. The transom has a good amount of tumblehome to it (this means that the shape is wider at the bottom, and curves distinctly inwards as you move up towards the gunwales).
One of the most appealing things to me about this boat is the way that delicate steam-bent braces sweep from the gunwales down to the tops of the seats. . .really beautiful.
At the moment, the canvas is missing, some of the planks have holes in them, and a couple of the ribs are cracked. Restoration will involve painstakingly removing copper clinch nails from the affected planks and ribs,and removing the broken components. Once off the boat, the original parts will be copied, steamed and installed in the boat to replace the broken original portions. New canvas will be insalled, and the boat will be finished in such a way that hopefully, it looks as it did back in 1956.
UPDATE: While work has not begun on this boat, I have just obtained a motor for it. I now have a 1956 Evinrude 3HP Lightwin which is simply perfect for this ultralight boat. The motor has spent it’s life stored away in a boathouse, and is in amazing original condition. It is so good in fact that I have no plans to change anything about it…it runs well and looks great. Not only do I have the motor, but the original owner’s manual, a list of Evinrude service dealers, and even the warranty certificate in the original envelope from Evinrude Motors! (I was shocked to see that first-class postage used to be only 3 cents!)
When this boat is restored, it is going to be such a nice package. The whole point of this boat is that it’s light. . .only 90 lbs. That is light enough to put on top of a car or SUV. Likewise, the motor is designed to be light too, weighing only 32 lbs. Imagine a nearly 12 foot long boat and motor combination weighing only 122 lbs!
1940 Old Town dinghy
Old Town Canoe Company manufactured their canoes and dinghies in two grades: ‘C.S’, or common sense was the standard and most common crade. ‘AA’ denoted their highest grade, a craft constructed of clear cedar with mahogany trim.
This ‘AA’ grade dinghy is in amazingly good condition, and while the seats do not appear in the photo, they have survived. The original build sheet from Old Town shows that this dinghy was delivered on July 23, 1940 to the famous Hinkley Boat yard in Manset, Maine.
1940’s vintage Penn Yan dinghy
This little Penn Yan has just come in, and pictures will be posted soon. Measuring a bit under 8 ft. in length, a bit of research will be needed to nail down the exact year and model. The condition of this boat is such that I still haven’t decided to restore it or use it as a ‘pattern boat’. The canvas is missing, many of the ribs are broken, gunwales are broken, and the planking is in pretty sad shape, too.
It appears that this is most likely a Penn Yan ‘Aerodinghy’, an ultra light boat that was designed to be lifted unto a yacht without the need of davits or any other mechanical help.
Check back to see how the restoration progresses!