Who Wins Barn Find Of The Year, This Year? Asking For A Friend.

OH HELL YA, this was fun

In the world of useless debates, because we all are winners. Like little league baseball these days. I ask a fun question for 2021. Hey, it’s that time of year. What was the barn find of the year? In my mind, it came down to three boats. The Hydro, and Baby Chick, the 25 Sportsman, and the DEE WHITE Proto. Yes, there have been others. A cool Carver, Miss Buttaface, which is a time capsule. But as far as real Barnfinds. Rats and all. The Hydro and Baby Chick, and the Dee White prototype are on my top 3 list. Here is a break down of the two candidates. and of course I am always into a write in.

Cinderblock included

The Step Hydro Racer – Of all the boats to find and drool all over, the Step Hydro 16 Racer barrel back is the peak of the peak. Like finding the cherry on top of Everest. Its rare, Racer, Cool as hell, were not designed to last, absolutely stunning, and fun as hell when done. Also I will add, worth every penny you pore into it. Mike Green from Maritime Classics is doing a very cool Youtube series on this Racers restoration. Mike is a great guy and direct descendent of Chris Smith of Chris Craft. So it’s as close as it gets to going back to the factory to be restored.

I put into the same category as a COBRA, THUNDERBOLT find. Heck A Shelby Cobra. Also its a very historic boat for Chris Craft and a MUST have for any collector and sure fire show winner. It’s the big boob blond babe of any boat show. And can compete with the Cobra’s and so on.

Covered and now recovered

BABY CHICK 25 Sportsman – Okay, yes we found it. So discount that, personally I would vote for the Step Hydro. So dont feel weird voting that way. BUT, it was actually in a barn. And 100% There, okay no engine. So that part is a dinger. But as parts go, all there. One family owned since new, and is a 25 Sportsman, hands down the best boat Chris Craft ever made as a usable boat. Very rare, and loved by all that have owned one. This boat after restoration is a keeper, user, and will hold its value. Not cheap to restore, but worth every penny. This one has it all including tell tale details of how she was loved, and will be kept that way for a while.

And is called BABY CHICK!

The Stoped in time feel and the originalness of it all is its beauty. I actually am not in a hurry to restore her. Maybe because I already have a perfect one in WECATCHEM. She belongs in the same Preresrtic family as the Ramsey Bros Dart, and Wise boat. Sometimes old ratty age is part of its glory. This year at the Reedville Show, I will have both WECATCHEM and BABY CHICK side by side. And I would bet BABY CHICK wins the hearts and minds 2 to 1.

Oh ya!

Dee White prototype At Inland Boats In NH

THE DEE WHITE PROTOTYPE – This is a last minute addition to the event. Its rare, a prototype, and has a unique Outdrive set up. This is an unrestored gold mine of history. This is Museum stuff, and one could even question restoring it to use. Since its real history and importance is already there. You can feel it radiating off the screen and in person would send me into a trance of history and time well spend. In Storage.

So there ya have it. Three barnfinds that remind us all that “They are still out there” Or in there. Some other insane finds are below to get your hopes up. Woohoooo.

My Fave Dart owned by the Ramsey Bros

Christopher Wise and the boat his great grandfather built.

The Cobra Prototype, preserved, restored by Kats Marina

This wonderful Higgins


Stinky! Rat crap and all

THAYER IV the film boat from On Golden Pond

Found in a Barn in California and restored to a Major show tahoe winner by McHall Boats in Idaho

Launch still in there. Hold on I need to.. wait..ahhh…. CHOO!

SCARLET in the barn she was found in. Never registed and had still all the original hull cards and all. 100 hrs. Restored by Katz and now Jimmys amazing boat

BARNWOOD, found by the Harrisons and restored to a perfect Show Winner

The other On Golden Pond boat Mariah US Mail boat

Basement find in Buffalo.

Drool fest in Florida, Thunderbolt.

It’s not just boats that are barn finds. This image is the Chris Craft gang and could be the first production boat they made. I have the original with others found in a storage shed.

They are still out there! Are you?

24 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Since I’m biased as hell, I have to vote for the Ramsey Brothers Dart floating at the Algonac launch ramp!

    • Art
      Art says:

      Greg, how do you know it is at the Algonac boat ramp…………..I don’t ever remember a dock like that at the ramp.

      I can’t pick just one they are all ART in my book.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      That was a sight to see that year. I still remember that big old water pump hanging off the side to pump water out, just to keep her afloat during the show.

  2. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    I vote for all of them. My problem is I need a barn for my boat. Then someone can find my boat after I am done.

  3. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    Matt, thank you for the shout out! I’m going to have to go with the Hydro, it is such a cool boat and a very low production build.

  4. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    I thought they were all really cool. However my vote goes to the Cobra prototype. This is due to the rarity of the boat, amount that it took to restore her, and of course the sh!t that it stirred up here on woody boater.

  5. Andy C
    Andy C says:

    Even though it is not as rare as the ones you posted I still like my ’58 coronado barn find that was my familys boat when I was a kid. It was sitting in an old chicken coup for at least the last 2o yrs.

  6. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Though I am not a fan of our “Everyone gets a Trophy” society in this case I would say there are NO losers.

    Anyone how became the recipient of any of these beautys is very fortunate.

  7. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Wasn’t this a barn find? shed find? boat storage find? whatever you want to call it. “Cruisers get no respect”, Rodney Dangercraft.

  8. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Now that’s a story! Great read today Matt. I’m going to join in with the Blue Grey Arabian prototype we found and restored at Katz. Such a cool find.

    • Warren
      Warren says:

      That is a beauty. Was this a prior story? If so, what day? I’d definitely would like to know more about this one.

    • Phil
      Phil says:

      1968 Century Coronado found after a 17 plus years hibernation. Special Order 427 interceptor 400hp power plant.

  9. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Anyone can restore a complete barn find . It takes Talent on Loan From God! to bring back a field find!

  10. first53resorter
    first53resorter says:

    Bringing the Hunter 22 (McHenry, IL) into the light of day and discovering it was once a triple punched all the right buttons for me.

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