Adlai’s Hacker Barn Find! Starring Steve McQueen



This is just the fun we all needed. Barn Find fun thanks to fellow Woody Boater Dave “Wicked Wahine” Anderson 1948 22ft Hacker that was in a garage in downtown San Francisco since 1984.  Take it away Dave!

It seems that January is a good time of the year to buy a boat!

Last January Brian Robinson called me and asked if I needed another boat, or did I know anyone who did.

“Well, that depends, Brian, what is it?”

“It’s another Hacker” he says.

Enough said. I’m in. Brian gave me the owner’s phone number and next thing I know, John Maddox and I pack up the Dodge with engine hoist, creeper, beer, tools, floor jack, more beer, cribbage, come along, etc. The reason for all the tooling is that the boat had been stored in a single garage since 1984 in Downtown San Francisco. This Hacker was once owned by Governor Adlai Stevenson and donated to a museum in San Francisco. Peace, Love, Dove, two blocks away from Haight Ashbury.

Thar she blows

John and I put new rubber on an old flat bottom trailer with no plates and headed for Baghdad By The Bay. We didn’t know what year or model it was, but how can you go wrong with a John L. design?

If you have never been to “The City”, then you don’t know what a treat you can be in for…narrow streets that only Steve McQueen could negotiate, not two So Cal boys during rush hour.

OKAY- WOODY HERE! You got 3 minutes? Crank it up, and just bask…


I digress, we meet the owners and lo and behold, it’s a 1948 22 foot Hackercraft that is 98% complete with a Chrysler Crown motor sitting on blocks. Wow, what a rare boat! We lifted the bow with an engine hoist so that we could snake the trailer under it, use the come along to slide it onto the trailer and drag it down the 101 to So Cal.

All we have is these 4 photos. Sorry, waiting on new ones

Fast forward twelve months and I have a new 5200 bottom, engine overhaul by John Allen, original instruments sent to Kocian, new fuel tank, rub rail by Thorpe, etc., etc., etc. Hope to have it in the water by mid summer, unless January happens in August.

Nice wheels


15 replies
  1. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Like the Charger in the header pulling the boat and flying over San Francisco streets. I’ve driven the streets in that town, must have been a hell of a way to learn stick shift back in the day. Clutch control.

  2. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    Great story and header today, My wife and I drove through those streets a few years ago in our rental Mustang convertible and went to all the hot tourist spots, Because of the homeless population we probably will never go back.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      It’s sad really. The city is a pArking lot of traffic and lost a lot of its charm. And no middle class anymore. It’s like nyc but more expensive. Can’t have fun driving it much anymore. The trick is to head out to pt rays and marin. That’s still fun going up my tam

  3. Mark back in Ohio
    Mark back in Ohio says:

    What a cool story ! A neat Hacker barn find, the best car chase scene ever to grace the silver screen , The header ohhh. From what I saw in downtown San Fransisco that was a big garage to hold a 22 foot Hacker. Most were pretty small under row houses Adlai Stevenson ran for President twice. Both times he was defeated by Dwight Eisenhower. Keep us updated on the restoration of the boat.

    • Walter Lucy
      Walter Lucy says:

      One-twenty-twenty-twenty was a cool day!
      Got this shed find Charger yesterday and then wake up to another great Woody Boater blast! Thanks Matt! Keep up the good work!

  4. Frank@Falmouth
    Frank@Falmouth says:

    OMG. That header is GREAT!! And the best car chase scenes ever in Bullitt ! I always enjoy watching the 70’s TV shows. Street of San Francisco. Hawaii 50. Emergency that show cool old cars on clean unclogged streets and sidewalks. A simpler time.

    But that header! I can just picture Matt and Jimmy rushingback from a Barn Find to make a SmithGifford photo shoot!

  5. Steve L
    Steve L says:

    Love the header!
    And just like the film…that little green Volkswagen worked its way into the shot! Perfect!

  6. Dick Hansen
    Dick Hansen says:

    Anxious to see more pix of the resto project. I usually forget to document what I’m building, (To anxious to move on to the next thing). Will look forward to a shop tour when we see you all at SVL.

  7. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    I have not been to a movie in decades…but wasn’t the car chase in the French Connection or some such the under the EL equal of this one? At least they didn’t pass the same VW two of three times….?

    John in Va.

Comments are closed.