Scott Ramsey, his brothers and family are passionate about wooden boats and the classic boating hobby… So passionate that once again this year they have taken on the huge task of organizing the 2012 Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show, which has been relocated to the historic Toledo Yacht Club. Scott and his brothers Dave & Chris also operate Ramsey Brothers Restorations, a leading antique & classic boat restoration shop in Toledo, Ohio.

This non-ACBS show contunues to grow, and has become a very popular event in the Toledo and surrounding area, with close to 100 antique & classic boats expected to attend this year.  But what makes this particluar show unique is the wide range of vessels on display, from traditional wooden runabouts and utilities, to big cruisers, to hydroplanes, and even some local ice boaters will be on hand again this year.

Also, if you are in the area or planning to attend the Toledo boat show, Toledo Navy Week 2012 is also under way, in conjunction with commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, and packed with events demonstrating the mission of the U.S. Navy and their proud heritage.

The Toledo Yacht Club is among the oldest yacht clubs in North America. The club was founded in 1865 when two rowing clubs, the Undines and the Naiads, joined together and turned their attention to sailing. The first club house was erected in 1878 on Gard Island near the mouth of the Ottawa River. The Toledo Yacht Club was incorporated on October 3, 1885.

In 1890, a more elaborate structure with sleeping rooms and a second floor was built. In 1896, a rival club, the Ohio Yacht Club, unsuccessfully attempted to take over the Toledo Yacht Club’s Gard Island lease. Later that year, the two clubs merged under the name Toledo Yachting Association, maintaining city quarters in the Neptune Building in Toledo, Ohio.

When Bay View Park was developed, a twenty five year lease was granted to the Toledo Yachting Association, and a wood frame club house was erected at the present site of the club in 1903. In 1904, the club readopted the name Toledo Yacht Club.

In 1906, fire completely destroyed the club and all of its historic contents. By 1908, a new steel reinforced concrete Spanish style clubhouse was built on the site. This historic building still remains basically the same, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 12, 1976.
(Source Wikipedia)

Toledo Yacht Club – Photo Courtesy Detroit Publishing Co. (Circa 1900-1920)

Among the fleet of wooden boats at the event this weekend in Toledo will be this rare 1927 22.5′ Dart Jr. manufactured by the Indian Lake Boat Company. The Indian Lake Boat Company relocated it’s operation from Lima to Summit Street in Toledo, Ohio in 1928. In 1928, a group of businessmen, headed by Admiral Webb C. Hayes, grandson of President Hayes, purchased the rights to build the Dart boats, which then operated under the Dart name until late 1933 when operations finally came to an end due to the Great Depression.

Woody Boater reported on this very cool Dart Jr. this time last year when fellow Woody Boater Jim Staib from Fine Wood Boats spotted it and sent us photos from the 2011 Toledo Boat Show. We spotted it again in June at the Algonac Boat Show in Michigan, which is where we snapped these images. This unrestored 1927 Dart is owned by Ramsey Brothers Restorations.

Dart boats were known for their speed and the speculation is that this boat, with it’s black painted wood and hardware may have been used by bootleggers during the Prohibition to transport illegal liquor. The faded federal ID numbers (CG-819) on the hull sides are claimed to have been applied after the Dart was confiscated by the authorities for future identification.

I spoke to Scott Ramsey by phone yesterday about the upcoming Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show, and asked him if they were planning to show the Dart Jr at the show again this year. Scott said that the boat was currently soaking up and they were planning to bring it over to the show by water on Friday morning.

I also asked Scott what they were planning to do with the Dart in terms of preservation or restoration, and he said they were still undecided what to do… He went on to say that the boat has so much history and “Visible Character” that it would be a shame to change that. They even have the original engine that came with the boat.

Scott said that they have applied one coat of satin varnish on the boat to simply preserve the existing paint and patina, as it was beginning to flake off in a few areas.

The reason we decided to feature this particular unrestored boat as part of this story today, is not only for it’s remarkable originality, history and patina – but also because of the great cross section of comments we received earlier this week (on Tuesday’s story about Cyclone) in regards to preservation vs restoration.

Some viewers commented that highly restored wooden boats may not necessarily represent the true condition of the boat “As Delivered from the Factory” back in the day, with perfect book matched mahogany planks and multiple coats of polished varnish – and I understand that. Other viewers commented that preserved wooden boats were more desirable, also with varying levels of preservation, a high percentage of original wood and multiple coats of polished varnish. Some viewers also raised concerns that high level show boats often become trailer queens and may never be used, which I consider to be “owner preference.”

If you are involved in the antique & classic boating hobby, you may have heard or read about these rare, unmolested “Barn Find” wooden boats that have surfaced over the last few years. Some of those boats have yet to be restored or preserved simply because the owner is faced with the dilemma of “what is the right thing to do with the boat” and how will this effect it’s value? Once again, this is “owner preference.” But quite often nothing gets done to the boat because the owner can’t decide what to do…

If it is dead original, or a historically significant boat like the Ramsey Brothers Dart Jr. – Do you:

– Preserve it with the absolute minuimum amount of varnish and woodwork saving the original wood, even though the original wood could be fatiqued and potentially dangerous? (i.e. Don Danenderg’s investigation story)

– Preserve it as a high quality preservation project with re-plated hardware, bottom upgrade, high level engine restoration, multiple coats of polished varnish, etc?

– Completely restore it with new (safe) wood, restored power, modern technology and materials as a show quality boat?

We would love to hear your comments on the subject. And let’s be clear, the Ramsey Brothers can do what ever they want with the Dart Jr. – they own it… But it’s always fun to debate this topic with our viewers.

So if you are in the Toledo area this weekend, or within driving distance of Toledo, make plans to check out the show… And “Hats Off” to the Ramsey Brothers for putting this great event together!

Here’s the event schedule for the show and for more information, you can Click Here to go directly to the show website.


2012 Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show

Friday, August 24

12:00pm-5:00pm Boat Show Set-up
6:00pm Welcome Party / Private tour of S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker for Participants

Saturday, August 25

9:00am-5:00pm Boat Show Open to the Public:
In-Water/Land Displays/Car Show/ Marine Memorabilia Flea Market
12:00pm-3:00pm Performance by Ragtime Rick and the Chefs of Dixieland
6:30pm Patio Party

Sunday, August 26

8:00am Pancake Breakfast
9:00am-3:00pm Boat Show Open to the Public:
In-Water/Land Displays/Car Show/ Marine Memorabilia Flea Market
10:30am Chapel Service at Bandstand
11:00am-1:00pm Live Music
3:00pm Awards!


•People’s Choice
•Best Inboard Runabout
•Best Inboard Utility
•Best Outboard Utility
•Best Cruiser
•Best Launch
•Best Sailboat
•Best Iceboat
•Best Fiberglassic
•Best Non-Powered Small Craft
•Best Classic Car
•Best Model Boat

« « Previous Post         |         Next Post » »
28 Responses to “This Weekend – The 2012 Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show Features A True Original”
  1. Bill

    I saw the boat at algonac a real attention getter i hope they leave it as is maybe do whatever to get the orig. engine back where it belongs a real part of history especially if it was connected to rum running great boat

  2. m-fine

    The new wood for safety mostly applies to the bottom and certain frames. In most cases I think that can be done without disturbing the above the waterline wood. Therefore if it is needed I think it is a no brainer since sinking in deep water is not a good way to preserve a boat (who cares about the passengers right?).

    The one thing most of us can agree on is probably that doing nothing is the wrong thing if it means further deterioration and decay.

    Next, if a boat has some special history, I think a restoration to “as it left the factory” is a poor choice no matter how you do the finish. This dart, or the golden pond boats are a perfect example. The black paint for the rum runner or the extra hardware on Thayer IV are not point deductions, they are the unique part of her history that make that particular boat special. To give the Dart a protective coat of varnish and preserve the patina, or fresh black paint to restore her to her “as she was used” condition is going to have to be a boat by boat decision based on the circumstances that make the boat special, and the owners plans for it.

    For a regular production boat with no known special history, I support the owners choice in all facets of restoration or GASP modification. If full factory original is your goal, knock yourself out searching for that perfect zipper. If the romanticized much better than the factory ever built it “factory orriginal” is your dream, go for it. If you want a safer more reliable engine, more cleats, some custom chrome, built in kegerator

    • m-fine

      Ha, thumbed the submit button!

      Anyway, if you want to do some mods to make the boat more useful to you, or to give it a unique look like a custom hot rod or motorcycle go for it.

      Perhaps the only restoration choice that rubs me wrong is putting on a fiberglass bottom. It’s a wood boat, keep it wood!

      As for what to do with the boat when the work is done, I think it should be used. The look of the boat is only a small fraction of what these machines represent and too much is lost if people don’t get to see them, hear them, ride in them, and drive them across the waves. It might feel good and give you pride when someone looks at your boat and says she looks amazing but the smiles when you take someone for a ride are always bigger and better.

    • Steve Wozniak

      I would have guessed by your comments that you were a fly on the wall during the partial restoration of my Dart.

      My 1927 26′ triple had many bottom “issues”. The original engine had long ago parted company with the boat and is still unknown to me in type or possible existence. Almost all of the bottom’s frames and planks showed signs of rot whereby the original fasteners were no longer doing their job. It was always my intent to use the boat regularly , so making it safe required replacing the bottom one plank above the chine down.

      The decision to do work above the waterline was deferred but is still in the back of my head. The boat has hardware that is obviously not original so I’m facing the question of what to do. I suspect over time I will want to correct some of these inconsistencies and leave as much unmolested as possible. For me, the genie was out of the bottle when modern power had been introduced, and mods had been done to the hardware, dashboard and interior. It will never be original again, but it will be safe and enjoyed for years to come…just my two cents.

  3. Rick

    I also saw this boat in Algonac and at the time I thought what a shame it hasn’t been brought back to functionality. I broke my heart to see that hose extending out the portside vent. If it were mine (from my mouth to God’s ear) I would restore her to a rumrunner look, make her as safe as possible, get that engine back in and run her around as much as possible. Best thing for her? I don’t know but that would be my dream.

  4. Tommy holmes

    Ilove that Dart, saw it in Algonac and its a show stopper.
    “bottom is swelling up”, ya right! Well she does float!

  5. Jim Staib

    I think they should find a similar model that has been restored and display them together as a before/after

    • Rick

      Wasn’t that the case in Algonac? Then again my memory has never been photographic.

  6. chad

    Most folks don’t know this but Dart boats actually left the factory with 40 coats of varnish. Varnish so thick that you could throw a dart at the boat and it never touched wood. Hence the name.

  7. matt

    Actually , this boat has been restored to factory condition, then cleverly “aged” to look authentic. Under all that”patina” is Chads 40 coats.

    • m-fine

      The term for that is “relicing” and it is all the rage with guitars and other items where the old and abused look is tied to some romanticized “mojo”.

  8. Bruce

    All I’m going to say is I’d be willing to drive a good distance to see this boat dockside “as is”. Following a full restoration, I’ll just check it out on my computer after it hits Woodyboater.

  9. chad

    Museums are built to display old stuff.

    Boats were built to be used on water.

    If you’re not putting it in a museum, then why not restore it and put it back in the water to be enjoyed?

    Life is short. Boat often.

  10. Paul H.

    Interesting case, this Dart. Quite a rare model as far as I know. But, what is it? It is actually more of a relic at this stage than anything else. It may even be considered a sort of proto-resto mod, what – with non-original power, some non-original hardware and other “patination”, albeit not originally applied in pursuit of that objective. The boat is not usable as it is and it is not original though it looks cool. If the history of the boat could ever be known for certain and the tales behind its’ current appearance known and told, I would keep it as-is, a period-type exemplar of whatever it was (likely a rum runner). However, that apears to be conjecture at present and may remain so.

    If it was mine, I would do a sympathetic restoration and return the boat to a usable and sustainable condition. It is now an example of an 80+ year old boat in distressed condition – not much else. It is a survivor of sorts, but not a real survivor in the sense that it is intact from new. I would like to see it properly preserved/conserved and returned to use.

    I know that the 1941 Chris Barrel that was pulled from a boat house in extremely original condition some years back and sent on the show circuit as an example of a ssurvivor is now being returned to usable, preserved condition. But long term? They are boats, lets use them – on the water.

    I would like a chance to see this one as it though, looks really neat to me.

  11. MikeM

    Hey Homeister…..are you the quiet, thoughtful kid or the ham? Either way, another great header photo.

  12. JFunk

    It would look great behind my wife’s older truck, but most would stop and say, ‘Hey, that truck really needs some attention!’.

  13. Steve Balcer

    When I first saw the boat I thought to my self Finally a “woody rat rod” what a show stopper, Now I don’t have to put a ton of money into my restoration and just show up to the show as a “rat Woody” LOL

  14. Roadslayer

    Let it be known I am on the verge of a heart attack. I have what I call a 1927 Hacker Dolphin built as a 16′ version. Nearly identical to the Dart pictured above. With no numbers anywhere to truly identify it’s origins she remains today a ‘what is it’ boat. It acquired her 5 years ago in similar condition as the Dart and refinished her in gleaming varnish inside and out. The Dart is as close to any boat I’ve ever seen to what ‘Baby Grand’ may be.
    In my following car shows, there has recently been introduced in some venues the ‘preservation’ class of show car where vintage cars are left as close to original with tired paint and worn interiors and are not turned into sparkling trailer queens like millions of others so common at almost ever show. A close friend who restores cars/boat/motorcycles recently acquired a 1931 Ford from the family who originally bought it. The Ford was repainted in the 1950’s and reupholstered in the 60’s. He has chosen to leave it as is with it’s local history instead of restoring it to look just like a the rest.
    So back to the Dart. There is nothing wrong with it remaining ‘just a relic’. Without documentation it may not have been painted black by the factory. To paint her black to make her look like her alleged rum runner motif is not a restoration. To ‘restore’ her is just another exercise in the one skill in,,,,well,,,,restoring things. Also, the worlds ills will not be cured by restoring this boat. However, leaving her as-is may help others who care see and touch something that as-was. Please don’t change her,,,very much.

    Thanks. Roadslayer

  15. Alex

    Do you recall this story and its many comments? It’s a similar situation.

    True, HAL is a very different (lesser, but still cool) boat than the gorgeous Dart. But beautiful patina is special, and on decent, original wood, it is rare. Not more valuable. In fact, surely less so. But rare, and appreciated by people who treasure originality, and find it refreshingly different from the scores of bristol boats at shows.

    We elected to do a combination of things with HAL, including a trial and error mix of varnishes (mostly, but not all satin) to preserve the original patina, but also protect the wood, which would see rare in-water, gentle use. The work was done not by a restoration shop but by a local artist in Hessel / Cedarville who is accustomed to working on, and with, uncommon finishes.

    Scott (Ramsey), if you (or if other WoodyBoaters) are interested in learning exactly what we did to our original patina boat, I can easily write a follow up story to the above one and include pics. (We documented the steps in writing and photos.).

    We are very happy with the decision we made and the results.

  16. thomas d

    i have a ’37 C-C utility in the same condition. the bottom soaked up real good, then the sides and finally the deck. i like it as is but it’s up to the owners.

  17. Brian S


    I have a 1957 all mahogany 14′ Whirlwind garage find that was put away in 1964 and is quite presentable as is but shows the wear and tear of its 6 or 7 years of use plus sitting for years uncovered in a dusty old garage.

    I’m wrestling with the same preservation issues and have been thinking about some light varnishing. I would love to know the details of your solution.


  18. Alex

    Brian, I’m happy to oblige you. Give me a few days to gather the details from the man who did the work. I’ll write it up as a simple story for WoodyBoater. That way, you and any others who want to know what we did can reference it now or any time in future simply by searching keywords such as “patina.”

  19. Jay Wagner

    Have you guys heard about the (day two) restorations in the muscle car hobby? That may be the way to do this Dart.

  20. Greg Cossey

    This is fascinating. That dart looks identical to the boats my family used to build in Keewatin Ontario back in the early 1900s. I found this while searching for the Bay View Boat House. Supposedly my GG Grandfather was working there in 1903/4 when his wife joined him from England. I would love to know more. Is there a historical boating society I can talk to?