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1947 20’ Deluxe Runabout


Garfield Wood, who made his vast fortune by inventing and then patenting the hydraulic lift, was one of the most prolific designers and builders of boats in the 30s and 40s. His boats are very much sought after today, and then prized by their owners. One of his most famous designs is the Baby Gar, a 28’ Triple powered by the Liberty engines made famous during WW I for their light weight and awesome power. They were perfect for boats once marinised. It’s hard to believe these large Triples could exceed 50 MPH back in their day. That’s still quite fast even by today’s standards. Gar Wood was always pushing the envelope with his designs and speed, and was in fact the first person to break the 100 MPH speed barrier on water. He was a boating rock star during his time.

To reach a larger audience and offer boats to more of the eager boating public, his company, Gar Wood Boats, began producing smaller yet just as exciting powerboats. One of these examples is the truly elegant Deluxe Runabout and Commodore in the 20’ length (actually 19’ 6”). Both the Deluxe and Commodore are the same hull, with the Commodore offering a little more ‘bling’ with extra hardware, etc. Still, both are one of the most attractive designs ever manufactured in that size Runabout. Just ask anyone who knows anything about boats.

This particular boat is the second we’ve taken on for this client. The first was an absolutely stunning 1960 19’ Capri. He still uses the boat on a regular basis yet wanted something more ‘exotic’. Well, this model fits the bill just fine. Following an extensive search we located this boat in Holland, MI...and the 5200 bottom had been completed earlier by a very competent restorer. Then the owner lost interest and decided to put her up for sale. My client snatched it up right away, less it get away.

The bottom was done correctly, but she still needed a lot... new sides, decks, transom, a lot of structural work, engine rebuild, chrome, flooring, interior, etc., etc. We decided to skin, then glue/screw her together for added strength and durability. A very wise decision I believe. So, with this history now conveyed... here are the pix. She turned out just as nice as we’d hoped.

Yes, Gar Wood did indeed know a thing or two about boats. This is one of his finest examples. Now she can live life again enjoying the water and pleasing all who gaze upon her...just as it should be.