10-11 October 2013
1932 Gar Wood 28' Triple Cockpit Runabout "Hornet"
- Engine no. 17616
Sold for $396,000
- One of only seven produced in 1932
- Beautifully restored to show standards
- Multiple-award winner, including Best of Show
Garfield Arthur Wood was one of America’s original “rock star industrialists.” He built a successful enterprise out of inventing and carefully patenting the hydraulic mechanism to lift the beds of dump trucks. World War I increased demand for the devices, as army trucks building and repairing roads under enemy fire were able to deposit their loads quickly and then get out of harm’s way. As a result, Wood became a very wealthy man.
In 1916, Wood began to indulge his dream and passion of dominating powerboat racing by purchasing Miss Detroit, the 1915 Gold Cup winner, from the association that sponsored her. This began a six-year boat-building partnership between Wood and Chris Smith, of Chris-Craft, which would change racing on the water forever.
Personally involved in the design and construction of his race boats, Wood’s attention to detail showed. He won the Gold Cup from 1917 through to 1921, at which time the rules committee outlawed the use of aero engines in an attempt to lessen Wood’s all-out domination of the sport! Disillusioned by this development, he decided to pursue racing on the international stage, and he did so in typical Gar Wood style. His capture of the International Harmsworth Trophy in 1920 began an unprecedented string of annual Harmsworth victories.
Wood also moved into production of boats. After World War I, he acquired 4,500 surplus Liberty V-12 engines from various manufacturers and formed the Detroit Marine-Aero Engine Company to convert them to marine use. These were used in the 33-foot “Baby Gar” runabouts, which were hand-built for the wealthy few that could afford a boat that cost three times the price of an average American three-bedroom home. From this rather unplanned beginning, Gar Wood Inc. had a major impact on pleasure boating in America, as it built some of the best-engineered, best-built, and most beautiful watercraft ever made. Boatbuilding was a personal passion for Gar Wood, and his other endeavors allowed him the financial freedom to build boats in the quality and with the attention to detail for which he was known.
The Triple Cockpit Runabout offered here was produced in 1932, which, being the worst year of the Great Depression, was not a great year for building wooden boats. Only 64 Gar Wood crafts were produced that year, which was fewer than the number of 28-foot hulls alone that were built in 1930. This example is one of only seven 28-foot runabouts produced in 1932, and it is one of five that are known to survive today.
This boat was purchased by the late Gerry Pederson, a noted collector, as an appropriate craft to mate with a very early Scripps V-12 engine in his collection. That engine was installed following an extensive restoration by Doug Morin, and it still remains in the boat today. Hornet has seen very little use since restoration, but it has benefited from extensive, recent engine tuning by Freedom Engine Service. It was campaigned actively on the show circuit in 2013, where it won Best Runabout Over 20 Feet and Best in Show at the Michigan Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Skipper’s Choice at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum Show, and Best Gar Wood at the Gull Lake, Minnesota, show.
Beautifully restored with ample power, this is an ideal addition to any enthusiast’s boathouse.
Please note that the custom-built triple-axle trailer pictured is included with this lot.