The 2011 ACBS International Meetings and Show on Lake Geneva showcased a number of remarkable antique & classic boats this year. One particular boat stood out for me, a freshly restored 1948 Higgins 26′ Deluxe Sedan Cruiser named “The Andrew J” after it’s designer Andrew Jackson Higgins.
Her proud owner Jeff Oppenheimer from Indianapolis invited us aboard and, with camera in hand, gave us the “Grand Tour” of this magnificent restored Higgins. For her first judged show since being restored by Dan Nelson, Jeff prepared a sign board which nicely describes the boat, as follows… (Don’t forget you can also enlarge the photos in this story by clicking on them)
Jeff wrote: “The Andrew J” is the only Higgins 1948 26′ Deluxe Sedan Cruiser known to exist. The number produced of this year and model is obscure because a hurricane wiped out most of those records back in the late 1940’s and Katrina struck the final blow.
“The Andrew J” was found in a barn in Oklahoma back in 2005. Contact was made with the award-winning restorer Dan Nelson of Nelson Boatworks to appraise this fine craft and the determination was made to begin restoration in 2007. She was just completed and this is her first formal judged outing.
Higgins Industries was founded in New Orleans by Andrew Jackson Higgins. The company flourished in the mid 1940’s, 1950’s and early 1960’s building painted plywood pleasure and work boats enhanced with mahogany transoms and mahogany accented interiors.
Higgins Industries is especially famous for their WWII and Korean War efforts in producing military craft for the Marines, Coast Guard and the Navy. Their most notable wartime craft are the famous PR Boats and the LCVP Landing Craft as exhibited in the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, while they landed on the beaches of Normandy.
Jeff Oppenheimer – Owner and VP – Higgins Classic Boats Association
Jeff also commented – The book ANDREW JACKSON HIGGINS AND THE BOATS THAT WON WWII is a GREAT resource to learn more about Andrew Jackson Higgins and Higgins Industries. Jerry Strahan has done a wonderful job detailing the inside story of this great man and the people behind the scenes. A must read… Also visit our website at http://www.higginsclassicboats.org/ or by clicking here. The Higgins Classic Boats website is packed with information on all things Higgins, take a few minutes and check it out.
Thanks Jeff for sharing your beautiful Higgins with us here at Woody Boater, and for everyone to enjoy. She is certainly a unique, one of a kind wooden boat.