Barrel Back Barn Find Big Reveal!

Drive up dirt road

Driving up a dirt road

Thanks for waiting and playing along with all the fun teasers. Today is the day we introduce the planet to this amazing Barrel Back Barn Find. Last Wednesday Jimmy called me to tell me about this little speed boat he knew of in Georgia in a Dairy Barn.
We talked to Larry the owner on the phone late Wed afternoon, and by Thursday at 10 we were on the road to Jackson Georgia, 12 hours of pure fun and excitement.
We arrived late at night..a sleepless night by the way. What could it be? I had a hunch from the talk on the phone that it might be a small Barrel Back racer from the talk. We didn’t share photos but it just felt right, and Larry is a real class act. The rounded stern was the carrot for the drive. Paint and such can be added, but in the end, the fun is the journey and the gamble.
The moment caught on a short clip.

We arrived at the farm at around 8:30 AM and were hit by how this was like every barn find dream looked like. An old barn on a farm with a cool something in it. But fantasies are never exactly what you imagine. Below is a video of the actual moment we turned the corner. WOW,

barn find barn

Jimmy and Larry two outstanding men in their field. OK, technically its Larrys field

Cause the little brick barn was a perfect hiding place for her. Sitting there for years, decades, Heck in 15 more years, a Century! Yikes.

First scene

Oh man! Its a racer!

Well. There she was, just sitting there. My knees went weak, a real live 16ft Barrel Back Special Racer. One of the first barrel backs ever made. They only built 167 of these from 1937-1940 Also noted as the first barrel back boat. As we go closer to her, we could see that she was all there, and looking a little ..OK alot like a rat toilet. But it just looked like dream to me.

chris craft barrel back barn find

Untouched since, well we aint sure.

After we got over the emotion of actually finding a rare barrel back sitting in a barn, we started the inspection.

Barn find windsheild

1977 sticker

Well.. Good News bad News. The bad-ish.- She had been fiberglassed over completely in the mid 1950’s. The good news, she is tight and very straight. So in a strange way, the fiberglass may have saved her in the Georgia heat and humidity? We will never know. She wont sweep the shows, But this little gas sucker is going to just be fun Woody Boating the way she has been used for decades.

After we struck the deal, we got to extracting and loading her on the flatbed. No way we were trusting an old trailer.

barn find truck

We be woody boat barning!

Next get that sucker out into the open! Here for the first time in a looooong time, she sees daylight. Imagine the 2001 Space Odyssey music!

Ok, that was shockingly easy..

Now.. If you ever have had to drag a boat onto a flatbed with tires that are peeling of the rims in Georgia summer humidity, you can relate. I recommend bring a change of cloths. Yikes, I dint know I could sweat like that. But with an ear to ear grin!

barrel back Starbord

Out in the daylight.

BArn find Photo Barrel back

Back up the truck.. carefully!

barrel Back Barn back

Lets get her loaded up.. UGH

Barn find Comealong

I was shooting sweat! Ha

BArn find load

Flat tires add a little drama as they peel off the wheels

barn find with Jimmy

Larry and jimmy

BArn find Inside header

Ready to go!

Barn Horse

Hey! Thats my boat, I wondered where it was.

After 3 hours we were on the road back to Reedville to spend the weekend digging into what we had just done.  Lets talk tooth picks!

tooth pick

The lights on the trailer kept flicking on and off. A little tooth pick jammed into the attachment saved the day! not one issue. Toothpicks! A simple thing that saved so much!

off to dump

Phew. thats a drive!

We quickly ran over to Tiffany Yachts in Burgass VA to switch trailers and get her so she can be worked on and transported.


So, not to leave you hanging around. Tomorrow we show all her goodies. Including her hull number and an amazing rare engine part. Stay tuned. What? You think I am not going to milk this for all I got. Just look here at the tease.

barn find oil can

Oh the things you can find in the daylight! See you tomorrow!


41 replies
  1. John Baas
    John Baas says:

    Wow! The story of the find, the trip, the BBQ and the photos and videos all outstanding! It just doesn’t get any better than this! Well worth the wait. Nice work men.

  2. Dave Clyne
    Dave Clyne says:

    In our very own Olympics Barn Find category, you get a Gold medal for this one ! Well done.

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    What a BEAUTY!

    Guess I know what we will be riding in at Dora next March.
    If I only had PhotoShop I would put a shot together of her sitting in front of Palm Gardens!

  4. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Very Nice, Now the fun begins to determine the restoration / preservation plan . This would be a great project to give the general public a idea of restoration options and related costs.

  5. Wylie
    Wylie says:

    Congrats Matt on the red white and blue find. It’s going to be interesting to see the history and the cleanup. I’m available for any more barnfinds in Dixie.

  6. Stephen Fowler
    Stephen Fowler says:

    Perfect. Nothing better than a barn find story, especially when the model is such an interesting one. You will be able to get thousands of blog posts out of her when you start the restoration!

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      The trailer is a murry trailer and might be headed to the glue factory. If you live near us, come get it.

  7. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    wow, great story and pix…but that is one sweet looking boat! Wonderful ass end……not much different from my Argentine runabout….which is “going boating” this week for this first time this season!
    John in Va.

  8. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Wow !…Great find..Now you’ll need a double decked trailer for Weecatchem on the bottom and this one on top. Wonder what engine she has ?….and I thought the little racer had a stepped bottom.

  9. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    Barn find! Barn find! Barn find! Wowwowwow!! What excitement!! Great looking boat!! I’m not much of a Racer can but even I’d have gone for this one!! It looks like it’s a Red, White & Blue. Is that possible? You might keep it Prerestoric for a while but I smell a full blown restoration in its future!!

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      These came in red white and blue and some were varnished. I love the painted racers. I swear the blue is a pre war engine blue?? More on that later.

      • Greg Lewandowski
        Greg Lewandowski says:

        Matt, beautiful boat. The classic boat gods were smiling on you to find this one. At least stain and varnish the transom. It will add a classy look to the whole boat.

      • Don vogt
        Don vogt says:

        Wonderful find , Matt! Not sure about the blue. The pre- war engine blue is a bit darker, I think than the boat, but won’t swear to it. I have asked Matt Byrne to update us on his replica. Should be a good source of information as this is repaired.

  10. Tommyholm
    Tommyholm says:

    Looks to me like Jimmy does all the work, picture boy. And you can wait all the years but it will never be a Century. ?

  11. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    I thought you guys had the same humidity issues on the Great Wicomico as we do down here? only toss in a little more salt sweat. I wonder if yours is the racer this guy from Macon has been telling me about for the last 10 years or so that he owned and I said yea…okaaay. A 16′ barrel back CC RWB in middle Ga? And he said he’d never sell it. And we never saw it….and I can’t recall his name…but who cares. Maybe you’ve got the holy Grail. Hope you had some towels on the seats of the official Woodyboater tow vehicle.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      Not sure about it being that boat, I know we had to go to city hall, and a great old guy walked up and rememered being out on it back in the day. The boat was raced in the area. As well as water ski boat back in the day. She does have the original engine. Stay tuned tomorrow.

  12. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Congratulations! That is one great find, appears to be very complete and from what you are hinting at has some history. Can’t wait for the pages of this story to continue turning… 🙂

  13. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Congrats Matt! I’m happy for you. That is a cool boat with great lines. I’d leave the patina for a while and get it running.

    • Don Vogt
      Don Vogt says:

      dan, i think it is an iva light? i have one in which there is a little gizmo that sits on top of the middle of the window frame and then the light attaches to it. cant totally make it out but appears to be that?

  14. Chad
    Chad says:

    Nice find!

    Having been coated in fiberglass should make it a “post-prerestoric” boat, right?

Comments are closed.