Motor City

  • RM Auctions secures 1930 Gar Wood 28’ Triple Cocktail Runabout built for Logan T. Wood for its Motor City sale, July 26 in Plymouth, Michigan
  • One of only 52 examples produced and restored to the highest standards, the vessel on offer performed flawlessly on the Detroit River in a recent test
  • Held during the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s weekend, the auction represents RM’s 20th anniversary sale in the Detroit area
  • Full event details and frequently updated list of entries available online at www.rmauctions.com


BLENHEIM, Ontario (June 5, 2014) – RM Auctions, the official auction house of the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s, returns to Michigan on July 26 to celebrate 20 years of record-setting auctions in the Detroit area. The well-established sale boasts a strong track record for presenting the full spectrum of American motoring history.


In addition to a superb roster of motor cars, this year’s auction will cater to boating enthusiasts, lifting the gavel on the beautifully restored 1930 Gar Wood 28’ Triple Cockpit Runabout , which was originally built for Logan T. Wood, the president of Gar Wood Industries and the brother of the company’s founder and namesake, Garfield (Gar) Wood. 


Considered one of the world’s most sought-after and luxurious classic wooden vessels, Gar Wood boats emerged from its proprietor’s passion for powerboat racing. One of America’s first “rock-star” industrialists, Gar Wood invented and patented the hydraulic mechanism for dump trucks, which fueled Gar Wood Industries’ initial success, before turning to boat building and working in partnership with Chris Smith, of Chris-Craft boats. As Gar pursued powerboat racing fame, his younger brother, Logan T. Wood, adopted the role of president, taking on the responsibility of running and managing the daily operations of the Wood Hoist Company. Logan, a brilliant businessman, tireless administrator, and skilled negotiator, expanded the business and turned it into a major manufacturing operation, which allowed his brother to devote time to his passion for racing.


“Gar Wood was a heroic, almost legendary, personality in the history of the Motor City,” says Alain Squindo, Vice President, RM Auctions. “He was a self-made man with a wildly successful business run by his astute brother, Logan, and he had a penchant for racing, which earned him the Gold Cup, the oldest trophy in all motorsport, on numerous occasions.” 


The Runabout on offer at RM’s Motor City sale, hull number 4-2048, was constructed exclusively for Logan at the company’s brand-new purpose-built manufacturing plant in Marysville, Michigan. Equipped with a powerful 200-horsepower Scripps Model 202 six-cylinder engine, it was completed and shipped to Detroit, Michigan on April 9, 1930. One of only fifty-two model 28-40 Open Runabouts produced in 1930, its price tag of $4,700 was a handsome sum to pay, even for the most well-to-do during the Depression. As the boat was earmarked for Logan, it was built with several bespoke features, including heavy bottom construction, a one-man Dietrich-style top, wind wings, a foot rest in the second cockpit, a locking engine hatch, and a gas filler cap.


Since Logan’s ownership, the boat has undergone a restoration completed to the highest standards by one of the world’s foremost vintage boat restorers. The result is an exceptional example which has been judged by authorities as authentic, matching-numbers, and show-quality throughout. This timeless beauty, equally as coveted by collectors today as it was when new, is expected to achieve between $250,000 and $300,000 when it crosses the auction podium in July.


“In photographing and preparing this specially ordered boat for the sale, we reunited two of Logan’s granddaughters with the boat. As they rode in the Gar Wood through Lake St. Clair and in the Detroit River, the boat performed flawlessly for five hours, not only outrunning the camera boats but proving that it will in fact hit 40-mile-per-hour, as advertised!” continued Squindo.


Held during the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s weekend, RM’s Motor City sale returns to the historic Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth, Michigan, on July 26. For further information, including bidder registration details, visit rmauctions.com or call +1 800 211 4371 (+1 519 352 4575 outside North America). For those interested in participating in the auction but unable to attend in person, RM offers a wealth of remote bidding options, including absentee, Internet, and telephone bidding, and the sale will stream live online at rmauctions.com, providing real-time coverage of the event.