View Full Version : Antique Raceboat Discovery Identification Needed ?

01-29-2012, 11:43 AM
I was just sent this photo of this very cool Antique Raceboat from some friends who are trying to identify the boat's designer , builder, and possibly the exact raceboat itself.
I have requested some additional deailed information & photos.
So far~
This is ALL I know.
Stay Tuned~

At this point I do not know if it has any name painted on it's stern, any name ,or numbers stamped anywhere on it's mahogany hull, if it has any deck hardware, engine, or shaft, strut, rudder, or enigne. das instrument gauges ,etc.

This great Antique raceboat was found sleeping in a barn after 50+ years at long-term storage
I have requested some more & detailed specific photos to help us pin-down it' positive "ID".

To me~ It looks very much like a John Hacker & Co. design.

Can anyone here on the forum help us get a positive "ID" on this hull ?
What are your thoughts as to it's designer & builder ?

Any information & help greatly appreciated !

01-30-2012, 12:53 PM
This does look like a Hacker design. There is a similar boat on Winnipesaukee, it has always neen on this lake to the best of my knowledge.


The full history is there. This boat is a multi stepped hull. I rode in Scotty when it belonged to Harvard Forden, and clearly recall the porpoising . . Possibly this boat that has just been found is older ?. . doesn't look to be a stepped hull.

Try to get some more pics! A very cool find!!

Mario L.

01-30-2012, 04:53 PM
My friend Jeff B. from the AACA forum said that a fellow named Al & his Dad discovered this boat some time ago in a Detroit, or Mass, area barn and have been tryng to identify it's builder & designer ever since.
The boat has a very small & tight driver's cockpit with a centrally located steering wheel, throttle & controls. There is said to be an additional tiny open cockpit behind the captain's cockpit just ahead of the stern transom.
The boat also has two very large metal trim tabs, or cavitation plates, with mechancal adjustment controls.

Note the bow has a very unusual deck "Mascott" above the bow's plated cutwater.

I understand this boat is NOT for sale.
More photos are said to be on the way to me~
Stay Tuned for an update~

01-30-2012, 06:40 PM
I just mailed the photo to my buddy that restores the old woodies, he had one similar to that a few years back.

01-30-2012, 07:14 PM
Hmmmm. Looks an awful lot more like the Wilson family's "Miss Canada" Greavettes to me...

01-30-2012, 07:24 PM
No don't think so . . .


Mario L.

Rob M
01-30-2012, 09:03 PM
It does have lines like Douglas Van Patten styled boats. Could be something obscure by Greavette.

01-30-2012, 11:11 PM
After viewing a few books i have , the Greavette Streamliner really comes to mind but then again so does a Fitzgerald & Lee speedster , but i could very well be wrong................

01-31-2012, 03:19 PM
Is this set up for an outboard ?. . I see no forward engine hatches, and found other pics of the hull with center steering . . it's small, lots smaller than Scotty . .


02-01-2012, 01:51 AM
I have been puzzled as to why we see no underwater running gear on this hull.
ie: rudder, shaft, strut prop, etc.
None of my questions have been answered to date.
I am still waiting on additional photos & info from Jeff B.

02-01-2012, 03:35 PM
Finally we have additional photos sent today by the boat's owner Al, via my AACA friend Jeff B.

The current theory among many mahogany speedboat collector/restorers seems to be 50/50 % that this hull may have originally been a straight inboard that sadly had it's aft third torpedo style stern chopped-off and a crude outboard style transom added much later; along with those giant trim tabs, or cavitation plates.

02-01-2012, 05:49 PM
First three photos ~

02-01-2012, 06:06 PM
Second Set of Photos~

02-01-2012, 06:25 PM
Final set of photos~~~

The Black & White vintage photo of the boat on a cradle on a marine railway is the famous raceboat "Scotty" which still exists today in original un-altered condition in a museum.
"Scotty" had a step-style bottom.
Both boats do seem to be of very similar designs.
Mario sent along this museum link above.

If you can picture this mystery hull without the aft third of it's transom & hull cut-off this MAY be what this mystery hull once looked like originally ?
The boat is now only between 14 and 15 feet long now.

Do you believe that the aft third of this hull was chopped-off in the later posssible outboard conversion ?
In my opinion this MAY be a real possibility ?

What is YOUR opinion ?

Al, the hull's current owner, says that the storage barn's owner claimed that this mystery boat once was said to have had some connection to the Dodge family & possibly famous millionaire boat-racer & playboy Horace Dodge Jr. son of one of the very famous Dodge Brothers of Dodge automobile fame.

02-01-2012, 06:32 PM
Definitely looks lopped off to me. Hope if a restoration happens, it goes back to the long, sloped tail. Cool lines.

02-01-2012, 07:06 PM
Al, & his Father, the boat's current new owner are long-time "Full Classic" pre 1940 High -End Classic Automobile collectors with a world class auto collection of very expensive and noteworthy autos.

If Al, & his Father can finally determine that this boat hull once was configured like the world famous "Scotty" raceboat they will have this hull properly restored by a skilled boatwright/restorer who is able to re-loft the possibly now missing aft 1/3 of the stern & transom.
It will take a highly skilled restorer who can re-loft the missing torpedo stern cross-sections & re-frame the missing aft torpedo stern third of this boat and then spiral steam bend the boat's new replacment South American mahogany planking.
Proper strut, rudder, shaftlog, & shafting , and prop, along with a vintage period correct marine race engine would also be fitted & rigged along with proper period deck & dash hardware..
It would be a costly job indeed !

But~ First Al, & his Father, have to find-out what they really have sitting here .

What are YOUR opinions ?

Was this hull originally a much longer torpedo stern inboard style raceboat/gentleman's racer ?


Was it always an outboard style hull as it currently now sits today. ?

Rob M
02-01-2012, 08:47 PM
Seeing the additional pics it does look to be modified. Something does not look quite right on the lines of the boat. It almost looks like the tabs were sculpted by cutting out another cockpit row. The transom looks a little crude.

I guess a way to help determine the authenticity of the current set-up is to try to pin down the exact era of similar hull styles and whether outboards were even utilized on raceboats/gentleman's racers in that era. Usually it is when boats outlive their usefulness and relevance for one era, when someone then acquires them and modifies them to a more current standard.

02-01-2012, 09:31 PM
There was a similar stylye boat at the ACBS booth in the Toronto boat show a couple weeks ago. The builder was unknown , but it was said to be "Century Whirlwind" inspired from the '30's. It is 13'.
6992869929I have sent out some "feelers" to my regular woody touch points. We'll see if any info comes back

Rob M
02-01-2012, 09:51 PM
Century could be getting closer. Here's a link to a thread on pre-war Century outboard race boat...


02-01-2012, 10:26 PM
I also found more pics of the boat hull online, there is a forward hatch but no indications that I could see of there ever being an engine installation.

is this boat still in MA?

Scotty is much larger and was built in 1928 and is a multi step hydro
Baby Bootlegger was designed in the early 20s and is a single step hydro ..

This hull has only one step, out boards were developed in the early 1900's and were small bits of power, one has to wonder if this boat was a design exercise predating the above boats?

I suggest Al remove the handle on the bow and see it there is any indications of a foundry or a name underneath or ID in the casting.

Mario L.

02-02-2012, 08:29 AM
Okay Brad,



If there are no leads from this....

02-02-2012, 10:28 AM
Thank's for all the help and opinions so far on this mystery hull guys.
I am sure the boat's owner will appreciate this.

Sean (Woobs)~
The woodyboater.com post was great idea !

Rob~ In the mid 1970s a family in Ocean City NJ, named Cherry, had a super rare Chris~Craft Cobra (The mahogany boat with that big gold aft deck fin & hatch) in a boatyard storage building sitting unused for several decades.
Dad & I tried to buy that Cobra several times from Mr. Cherry~~~with no luck at all.
Finally an older black clamber was actually given this boat for Free, and he sawed open the entire deck & threw the big gold fiberglass fin away making this rare boat into a clam-boat/ utility workboat.
What a waste of a super-rare boat.
Only about 50 were originally built in two sizes 18' &21'.
That rare boat today would be worth well over $ 100,000. to collectors.
People did in fact make stupid alterations to rare mahogany boats when they were no longer wanted by their original owners.
And I cannot count the number of great mahogany runabout speedboats that I saw cut-up in South Jersey boatyards with a chainsaw and sent to the boatyard's "Burn-pile when I was a young kid poking-around all the South Jersey coastal area boatyards.
Seeing this would have made you cry.

02-02-2012, 02:15 PM
Yep, darn nice of the Woody boys to lend a hand in identification...
It should be "right in their wheelhouse"....gfaw.

Dr. David Fleming
02-03-2012, 01:34 PM
I used to be the editor of the Antique Outboarder Magazine of the national Antique Outboard Motor Club. I have several antique outboard hulls from the 1920's. I believe Crandall Craft made a runabout hull quite similar and also a racing sled with step hull. Crandall Craft was a California company and its styling was quite rakish campared to the run of the mill boat of the time. Crandall had the forward transom with the bottom extending aft like a tab or plane. I don't believe they sold many of the runabouts but the racing Crandall was a real record setter and would not be surprised if the World Speed Record was set in a Crandall hull. I believe Ray Pregnizer (sp) set a record on the Flint River in Michigan in 1933 using the Johnson XR-55. I have the engine but the hull is long gone. Record only lasted a few months as they were resetting it almost yearly.

Check Crandall Craft for their exotic 1930 runabout. Bob Speltz books on The Real Runabouts should have some info.

Will kick your pics to a few guys in the antique outboard world and see what they think.

02-04-2012, 06:25 PM
Thank's Dr. Dan !

New Update~

I just got an email from my friend Jeff who has been in email contact with Al (A.J.) the boat's owner.

A.J. states that the steering wheel location was moved from the left hand, to the center position, at some time in the boat's distant past.

He also stated that they see that the boat's "Back" (stern) shows signs of alterations.

I have emailed back asking how the outer planking was actually fastened to the hull's frames.

02-06-2012, 03:54 PM
I'm gettin' some e-mails back....

Here is the first blush at your boats origin. You might want toget the two books mentioned. The call has gone out to others and theywill reply thru me as they want it that way. I will forward them as theyarrive. Jim

Subject: Fw: identification

Good Day Gents, This is a significant find and a good looking boat. To my mind it couldbe Hacker who started some of this "Streamliner" design withGreavette starting in 1935 with the "Curlew" now owned by MurrayWalker. On the other hand the Sainted George Crouch pioneered this shapein his Gold Cup boats such as "Baby Bootlegger". Now for the"kicker "? Douglas Van Patten apprenticed with GeorgeCrouch? He forever admired G.C.'s designs and championed them in theWilson/Greavette "Miss Canada" series. His later Streamlinerswere re-designed to have this kind of shape and his always talked aboutfavourite subject his revolutionary "Double Parabolic"bottom. I went back in time a bit to 1983 and reviewed somepersonal letters on file that Douglas exchanged with me. At thattime I asked him to read and comment on the validity of facts in a manuscriptthat I had written on Greavette Boat Co. history. It never came tofruition though because Aud Duke and Harold Wilson beat me to it withtheir two Iconic books full of generous detail. I have copied Mark's goodfriend and historian Ken Bassett of Onion river Boatworks who may have seenthis boat or it's likeness before. Thanks for a chance to "stretchthe olde brain" Joe

PS. Harry you shoulddefinitely have a copy his very detailed letters for your current MC IV project. Some wonderful references in them to the Wilson Family, Rolls Royce power etc.

02-13-2012, 07:04 PM
Ten new photos arrived this afternoon.

Note the Step in the hull bottom !

02-13-2012, 07:22 PM
Next four photos~

02-13-2012, 07:35 PM
Last Two Photos~

Note the unusual lap-style bottom with a "Step" in the hull & the number stamped the hull's interior frame.

This is getting more interesting & unusual with each photo email !

This HAS to be an old Raceboat of some advanced type in my opinion ! !

Never saw an outboard with a sawn-off transom lke this~

I have been around old Mahogany runabouts for 56 years and I have never seen anything like this unusual compound curved hull ! ! !

AJ has told my friend Jeff that the boat's planking is fastened with "brass screws"~

It looks to me, from these photos, like the boat was fastened with countersunk Bronze screws that were later "Plugged" with mahogany plugs.
This is a very traditional plank fastening method.

02-15-2012, 11:48 PM
New photo arrived from AJ today showing how the old port shaft steering position has been changed to the cockpit's new center drver's position during some older hull re-fit.

FlatRacer, aka BarrelBack
03-14-2012, 04:11 PM
Some thoughts:

I think we can rule out it ever being intended as an inboard for three reasons; 1) the lack of an engine hatch, or at least one large enough to drop an engine through, 2) the lack of stringers substantial enough to carry an inboard engine, and 3) the absence of a shaft hole through the bottom aft of the step (plugged if modified). Even in a scenario in which the hull was built as an inboard and never rigged, sat for awhile, then was subsequently modified to accommodate an outboard, it would still have much more substantial stringers.
If the species, grain, and density of the wood in the transom isn't noticeably different from that of the rest of the hull, that would further confirm its originality.
I think I remember seeing a similar hull pictured in a book on the history of the Century Boat Company. I don't have that book in my possession (it's at Dad's house) so I can't verify that right now, but maybe Frank Miklos over at the Century Boat Club can verify this. The other thing that has me thinking it could be a Century is the number stamped in it. If it is a serial number and the number represents the sequential building of actual boats (two very big "ifs") then Century is probably the only company building out boat race hulls in that era and in that kind of quantity.


FlatRacer, aka BarrelBack
03-14-2012, 04:50 PM
The 1930s Century Black Demon pictured here: http://centuryboatclub.com/decade/30s/Outboards/30soutboards.htm came in both double and single step versions, but don't feature that signature George Crouch bullet style topsides design.

03-14-2012, 06:07 PM
A second article update with a half dozen new photos was posted on woodyboater.com two weeks ago.

There is indeed a large engine hatch just foreward of the drivers cockpit.
It is now screwed shut~~~another non-original butchered alteration.
It is easily big enough for any period correct inboard engine.

The later outboard cable & pully steering system was poorly done; and shows little signs of use.
The steering helm was swapped to the now center cockpit position ; from the original port position.

The outboard transom, as it sits , now looks like it was poorly hacked-off and a flat notched outboard style transom poorly added..
The workmanship on this transom alteration is not in keeping with the overall quality of this original compound curved hull.

I have always suspected that at least 1/3 of the original aft torpedo Gentleman's Racer hull is now missing.
Thus the need for those monster size trim tab planes now on the boat's alterd new transom needed to cure poor balance & handling issues caused by hacking-off the old torpedo style stern..

Reg, of woodyboater.com, has posted a photo of a very similar torpedo stern Gentleman's racer that is now restored & running..
It looks like this boat's twin sister.

Chck-out UPDATE the Mystery Part #2 update on this unusual mystery hull now on woodyboater.com

03-14-2012, 06:19 PM
Brad , great read on Woody Boater and Eric thanks for sharing the link to the Century boat club on the Black Demon ..............and what do you think of Centurys utlmate racing Craft the APEX ? Brad / Eric i was just reading a little more about the redesigned Black Demon that led the outboard line-up with a flat transom .

02-15-2013, 10:07 PM
Cool history and thread - but it doesnt look like a donzi or cigarette:boggled: