10-11 October 2013

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Lot 153

1932 Gar Wood 28' Triple Cockpit Runabout "Hornet"

  • Engine no. 17616

Sold for $396,000

Scripps marine V-12. Length: 28 ft.

  • 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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver


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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci


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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht


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Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener


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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig


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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose


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Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould


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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher


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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom


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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach


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Ontario, Canada

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski


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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

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Indiana, United States

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Mike Fairbairn


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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher


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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman


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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers


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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more