Barn Find Higgins. Bring On The Higgins.

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Dusty, just the way I like my ladies! Okay, see, boats are ladies. That was not intended to offend anyone. Well, maybe it was. I am going to shut up now and move on..

Since we have been having some fun with Higgin’s Speedboats we are getting some fun stories in. They do have a special appeal for many, myself included. Now that son lives in New Orleans I have an itch.. Oh boy. Well fellow Woody Boater George Emmanuel sent us in this fun Barn find story. Take it away George… Wait, bring it up here!


Over 20 years ago I spotted a Higgins in a shed here in Gainesville and the owner was an old-time Gainesville family person who knew my father-in-law. So I contacted him to see if he’d sell the boat and as usual the answer was “no”—-I’m going to fix it up someday. Well, I think all of us have heard that and know damn well that ain’t gonna happen. Every time I’d run into Jack, the owner, I’d ask the same question and every time the answer was the same, “George, it’s not for sale”.

Oh boy

She ran when she was parked.

About 4 years ago I ran into Jack at his favorite breakfast shop and approached him. “Jack, will you sell me the boat” and he looked at me and said, “No,—I’m going to give it to you”! His wife looked at me and said I’d better go get it before he changes his mind. There was a condition attached to it and that was if I did sell it I had to make a significant contribution to a wartime museum in his name and I agreed. We had to drag the trailer from under the shed as things were packed so tight we couldn’t get to the tires to see if they could be pumped up.


This is one of the greatest moments in a Woody Boaters life!

Supposedly it is a 1948 and I located the son of the original purchaser who sold it to Jack. His story was his dad after the war drove to New Orleans and bought the boat at the factory. They have some old family pictures which I’ve not been able to get and make copies of yet.

Going home!

It is all original and has yellow linoleum which would be pretty hard to find I suspect. The boat is on my list as I’ve just finished my ’55 17’ Sportsman.

LOVE the numbers!

Anyone got a Red “5”?

13 replies
  1. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Great story George…Cousin Susan ( or is it cousin in law ?) will be our speaker at Rotary tomorrow.

  2. Floyd r turbo
    Floyd r turbo says:

    Can you imagine back in the late 40’s, three years after the war to end all wars and with no Internet or google maps, one decides to go buy a Higgins . And then, drive all the way to New Orleans with no interstate, no cell phone, no Truck Stops America, no credit cards, and no U-Haul hitch centers. That must’ve been one hell of an adventure with vehicles of the period barely able to maintain a steady 50+ miles an hour let alone with the boat hanging off the rear bumper which were not very substantial either. That’s a good eight hour trip today on our interstate. Must’ve been several days back then and no Motel 6 to keep the light on for you. That would be a great story in itself.

  3. Mike Hodes
    Mike Hodes says:

    Thanks for sharing the story of your Higgins. I look forward to helping you with the restoration soon. Sweet boat! What will you name her? Muffet Too.

  4. Wesley Emmanuel
    Wesley Emmanuel says:

    I don’t think dad was this excited when my son was born! It was an exciting day for sure! I always thought Higgins were cool, can’t wait to help get her in the water.

  5. Steve Anderson in MI
    Steve Anderson in MI says:

    It does make you wonder why they never covered it with an old bedsheet or something. All that dust and dirt is crazy. First thing on the list must be to clean it up and see what you have underneath it all. Would love to see the pictures of it once the first layer was off it. Drain the oil and put new in it, then see if it will turn. If so, disconnect the fuel line and see if it fires with a spritz of ether. If it does, it’s time to rebuild the carb and clean the fuel tank! Good luck, it’s a beautiful boat…

  6. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Floydrturbo is right…I would love to some day get a story of hauling something like that home…what a saga…sure it was all relative back in the day…but like said…no AC….bias ply tires, shakey jake hitches….the old car needing a lube job…boy those were the days…glad they are gone but the stories linger somewhere.
    I know a guy here in Va with a Higgins like that for sale…
    John in Va

  7. Royce Humphreys
    Royce Humphreys says:

    I can remember the story of Frank Williams from Landrum, SC who regularly drove to Algonac to buy his Chris Crafts in the 30’s. Can you imagine driving back in those days? Love the history and lore that each boat has in its past. Love the Higgins and how they performed!

  8. George Emmanuel
    George Emmanuel says:

    I think the best thing about antique boat collecting is how people will do anything to track down the previous owners and get as much information as possible. The provenance sometimes is the best part of the find! I can write a story about the Evinrude yacht, the Chanticleer. I saw it when I was a kid when the original owners had it, and fortunately I knew the family. Hmmm, maybe I need to relate the story to Matt and see if he wants to run with it???—-Matt?

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