Fellow Woody Boater Jim Frechette from Austin, Texas was looking for a small Chris-Craft triple cockpit runabout to restore as a personal “Daily Driver” years ago. In the spring of 1995 Jim received a call from a friend to inform him that there was a 1930 20′ Chris-Craft Model 100 Runabout for sale in Oklahoma City that he should check out…
Jim said – “I bought it from an antique car dealer in Oklahoma City in 1995 right after the devastating bombing of the Federal Office Building. The showroom windows of the dealership had been blown out and several of the cars were damaged. The old Chris-Craft triple was stored in the back of the dealership and undamaged, as if that would have made any difference as the boat was so rough.”
Jim bought the boat and hauled it back to Austin for a much needed restoration. Although rough, the boat was very complete, had all of it’s original hardware with the exception of a few things like the original Chris-Craft steering wheel which he was able to locate later.
Once back at his shop in Austin (Fleetwood Boats), Jim began work on the boat installing the new keel, heavy duty frames for the larger V8 power, but was able to save much of the original wood on the hull sides.
Although the boat has reamined mostly original, as this was going to be Jim’s new “Daily Driver” the underpowered 75HP Chrysler was replaced with a modern 230HP Chevrolet 350 V-8 which now propels the 80 year-old runabout a little faster!
And in 1996/97 the little Chris-Craft triple, now named “Moxie” for her 230 horses of “Intestinal Fortitude” as Jim describes it, was looking good ready for her re-launch.
Since her re-launch in 1997 “Moxie” has been in continuous service around Austin, and attended boat shows in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. When we see the top up, I remember Jim telling me about days in Texas when it was just to darn hot to go boating… Hard for a northerner like me to understand when we only have six months of good boating weather and worse yet, Alex only has six weeks of boating weather in Hessel… (sorry Alex)
“Moxie” has cruised the St. Johns River through central Florida in conjunction with the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival in 1998 and was also used for one of Jim’s favorite classic boating events, the 400 mile Tennessee River Cruise a few years ago. The modern V8 power comes in handy for those long range, multi-day river cruises.
“Moxie” is also a celebrity… She was used in the 2005 movie The Wendel Baker Story which was shot on Lake Travis, near Austin. The film starred Luke Wilson, who also wrote the screenplay and Luke’s brother Owen Wilson, Eva Mendes, Kris Kristofferson, Seymour Cassel and Will Ferrell. The film premiered at the 2005 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas in March 2005.
Here’s a shot of Eva Mendez getting ready to shoot a scene in “Moxie” – Jim has some fond memories of making movies on the lake.
Austin, Texas is a wonderful spot to visit too, maybe a potential candidate for the upcoming WoodyBoaterPolooza in 2013… check this out from the local newspaper – Thousands of country music fans bobbed in the waters of Lake Travis on Saturday at AquaPalooza 2010, a free two-day music event accessible only by boat.
They came armed with canoes, water noodles, inner tubes and anything else that would keep them afloat while they waited for the big attraction: country music star Brad Paisley, who took the stage about 5 p.m Saturday.
Dubbed the world’s largest on-water celebration, AquaPalooza was expected to attract about 4,000 boats and 35,000 people.
Jim Frechette recently freshened up “Moxie” with a few coats of fresh varnish and will soon begin the long drive from Austin, Texas to Tavares, Florida to attend the 2012 Sunnyland Wooden Boat Fesival with his lomg time co-pilot Mark Fender, a veteran of many boat road trips, like Tennessee River, Grand Lake, Table Rock Lake and others.
It’s always a pleasure to see Jim and Mark at a boat shows and share some laughs together. They also know where all the good boater friendly, drive up restauraunts are in the area – Them and the Kadimiks from New Jersey.
For more information about the popular 2012 Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival in Tavares, Florida which runs from March 22-25 you can click here to go to their website. The 25th annual event on Lake Dora is once again expected to be well attended, it’s always well organized and central Florida is a perfect place to be in late March.
And if you are planning to be at the show, make sure you stop by the Woody Boater tent for a visit and talk classic boats! Stay tuned to Woody Boater for more pre-event updates as we get closer to opening day.