1924 22′ Toppan High Speed Launch Barn Find!


Ohhhhh, look at that, perfect dust, just waiting for Kate Upton to come clean it!

Thanks to fellow Woody Boater Gary Michael of Woodboats.org we can all enjoy a fun barn find of a very rare launch. Gary moved the launch out of a barn in CT early fall after 40 years in storage by the original owners. “With her original Kermath 50 in tact and turns freely. Built in Medford Mass and sold out of Boston Mass only the 2nd Toppan launch to turn up and this one has the high speed hull.

Volo parked in the same spot she has been for 40 years!

The old girl started out on lake Sunapee NH for around 20 years then moved to CT and used for a while then parked in the barn untouched for 40 years. Needs a refinish but is in great original condition.” Gary Michael
So how did Gary come upon this cool fast launch? Take it away Gary.

Get it outta there Gary, come on, we all want to see her! him? What is a VOLO? Is it safe?

Oh yeah! That door way is 10 cm wide! It’s time. PUSH Gary PUSH! OK PULL… AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

“I got a call in July about the Launch and the owners wanted to sell. I offered brokerage, our annual auction or possibly buying the Launch but I let them know I was building a showroom and was not buying at the moment. I set a time to see Volo in September and I met good friend Lee Heinzman in CT the owner of the only other known Toppan to take a look and it was a good chance to have lunch with a real collector of historic boats.

BAY oh BABY! in the sun again. Like a good boat should be.

The owners were late but the caretaker let us in to see Volo , I was surprised to see a planing hull on a 1924 Launch, Lee’s is an earlier launch with a displacement hull. When the owner arrived we talked and got some history on Volo , they told me they used it on Lake Sunapee for 20 years and moved it to Ct when they moved, not sure where they ran it there and then it was stored in the barn in the pictures 40 years ago. He used to turn the engine a few times a year in case he wanted to use it but he never did”. Gary


Ready to go, just add gas, and some other small stuff. Lets go boating!

part of the original motor

Thanks Gary, it’s always fun to share, especially on these short winter days. Although yesterday it was 72 out and we all went boating!


16 replies
  1. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    Nice find, hope we can follow what the future hold for this boat.

    What the heck happened? Went to sleep it was 70, listening to the lake. Woke up at home, it is snowing and the lake is a giant ice cube.

  2. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Thankyou for sharing Gary. It is nice to know that there are still boats in barns not touched ion decades. Time capsules made oput of barn wood.

  3. Rick
    Rick says:

    Great find. Sweet looking boat. Now we need some background information on the company. Come on Matt you can’t expect us to do any research for ourselves.

  4. Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy says:

    Gary lives 2 miles down the road from me. He is always rooting out obscure boats! Always entertaining to see what he has in his yard!

  5. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Great Find! I was wondering about the wheel being in the forward cockpit – one look at the “Sea Dog” model in the bottom of the ad tells the story – it has been moved forward or was custom ordered that way.

    It will be fun to see what develops with the boat!

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    That’s a very interesting lifting “frame”. Someone must have had a surplus of small diameter tubing laying around. Maybe period for the boat? Love to see these “finds” as they emerge into the sunlight. Is that a straight 8 motor or a “two plug” per cylinder 4, I wonder. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brian S
      Brian S says:

      It looks like every other plug wire goes to another distributor
      at the front of the engine, so it’s probably a 4cyl with dual ignition and plugs.

  7. john watt
    john watt says:

    Are you sure that boat never spent any time in Quebec as the old regestration for Quebec used the D letter in the regaatrations John

  8. Ned Lloyd
    Ned Lloyd says:

    About the reg. #’s, …. Keep in mind that prior to about 1964 boat registrations were with the U.S. Coast Guard and not witht he indivisual states. So the reg. would not have started with the two letter state abriviation.

    • Gary Micheal
      Gary Micheal says:

      Volo is a one family launch owned since new and was only used on Lake Sunapee N.H. and somewhere in Ct when they moved. No evidence of any other registration on the hull.To answer Brian it is a dual ignition with magneto, 8 plugs for a 4 cylinder.

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