Arizona | Lot 44
1990 Gar Wood 33' Baby Gar "Victoria"
$165,000 USD | Sold
| Phoenix, Arizona
16 January 2014
- Beautiful recreation of the vaunted Baby Gar
- One of the most desirable boats of its day
- Vintage boating experience with modern conveniences
425 hp, Marine Power 502 cu. in. V-8 engine. Length: 33 ft.
Garfield Arthur Wood was one of the first “rock-star” industrialists in America. After inventing and carefully patenting the hydraulic mechanism for dump trucks, Gar Wood Industries became a successful enterprise. World War I increased demand for the hydraulic devices, as army trucks that were building and repairing roads under enemy fire needed to deposit their loads quickly and get out of harm’s way.
Since Gar Wood Industries was very familiar with the process of selling their products to the government, they also had an inside track on buying from the government. After World War I, Gar Wood bought 4,500 surplus Liberty V-12 engines from various manufacturers, and he formed the Detroit Marine-Aero Engine Company to convert them to marine use. The availability of these engines prompted Wood to begin building 33-foot Baby Gar runabouts for the wealthy few who could afford a boat that cost three times the average three-bedroom home in America.
From the rather unplanned beginning, Gar Wood Inc., which became the boatbuilding division of Gar Wood Industries in 1937, had a major impact on pleasure boating in America, and it was supported through the Depression by the considerable financial wherewithal of the company. The boatbuilding division was driven by Gar Wood’s passion, not profits. As soon as he retired in 1945, at the age of 65, the directors of the company voted to discontinue building boats.
It must not be overlooked that Gar Wood boats were some of the best engineered, best built, and most beautiful ever produced. Boatbuilding was a personal passion for Gar Wood, and his other endeavors allowed him the financial freedom to build in the quality and attention to detail for which he was known.
The first “production” boats built by Gar Wood were the 33-foot Baby Gar runabouts, and from 1922 to 1929, a total of 67 of these Baby Gar hulls were built. The first 22 hulls were constructed by the Smith family of Chris-Craft fame, who had been Gar Wood’s original race-boat building partners. The subsequent 45 hulls were built by Gar Wood’s own company.
This example was built in 1990 by the Turcotte Brothers, who hold the Gar Wood trademarks and are the only builder authorized to brand their boats as Gar Wood. This 33-foot Baby Gar was built using modern cold-molded epoxy construction that encapsulated the mahogany and provided a light-weight, strong, low-maintenance hull. It is powered by a Chevrolet-based, big block marinized V-8 with a reduction transmission. This powerplant provides plenty of speed, while also maintaining the original handling characteristics of a 1920s-era boat with a large propeller at relatively low rpms.
Modern amenities have been built into the Gar Wood, including a hidden stereo and a bow thruster, for ease of dockside handling. Also included with the sale is the custom-built triple-axel trailer that the Baby Gar is presented on.
Modern construction and vintage design: what could be better?