There’s nothing quite like a good old “garage find” story during the winter months to “warm the cockles of your heart” – and we have a great one today… But today’s story has a twist, because it ends with another challenging Woody Boater Pop-Quiz. But in order to properly answer today’s WB Pop-Quiz, you first have to read the story so you have all the facts.
Fellow Woody Boaters Brian and Lois from up in the North-East first contacted us a few months back with the story of their very cool, very original 1957 Whirlwind, and they are now reaching out to the Woody Boater Community for some advice.
Texx – Here’s the story of how I acquired our “garage find” 1957 Whirlwind runabout.
My next door neighbor passed away in the early 1990’s. In July of 1996 his widow was getting ready to sell another property down the street where the boat was stored. This was originally her father’s boat and she asked me if I would help her sell it since she knew of my interest in wooden craft.
My neighbor and his father-in-law used it to go fishing. When the father-in-law died in 1964, the boat never came out of the garage again, although my neighbor would talk about from it time to time and actually showed it to me once. It was dirty and so full of lawn chairs and bric-a-brac that it was tough to get a good idea of it’s condition, but I was impressed with the all mahogany look.
Anyway, I took a closer look this time and could see that the hull was very sound and decided it would be worth buying for myself, so I made an offer and it was accepted. I dragged it up the street on its rickety old trailer with frozen wheel bearings and stuck it in my garage.
Fast forward to 2003 when I finally decided it was time to get the Whirlwind cleaned up and back in the water. I took the 1957 – 18 HP Johnson (original to the boat) to an old time outboard mechanic to get it running and he replaced fuel lines, water pump and ignition parts.
The boat has some nice features, including an all-varnish finish (most Whirlwinds came with a painted bottom), a sliding utility drawer under the rear seat…
It rides and handles very well even in rough water, especially compared to my previous boat, a 1958 14′ Penn Yan lapstrake that would loosen the fillings in your teeth in a chop. I’m also impressed with the fact that it could be in storage for 30+ years and after all those years, not leak a drop.
We entered the Whirlwind in the Lake Winnipesaukee New England Chapter ACBS boat show in July of 2003 where it won a 2nd place in its class, despite having the same finish it went into storage with in 1964.
Everywhere it goes, whether on the water, on display or on the road, it gets a lot of attention.
I’m impressed with the quality and durability of the molded construction and the fact that the group of men that developed the Whirlwind Boat Company was able to successfully transition a military technology from WWII (used to build products like amphibious gliders) to a profitable civilian use in the postwar era.
Two years ago I bought another example of a military-to-civilian transition, a 1947 Willys pickup, so we’d have a vintage tow vehicle for parades and shows. My wife Lois and I have had a great time with the Willys / Whirlwind combo.
Brian & Lois
Thanks to Brian & Lois for sharing your great “garage find” story with us today.
And Now For Today’s Pop-Quiz
Here at Woody Boater we are proud to say that our daily viewers are some of the most knowledgeable people in the classic boating hobby, including both professional and amateur restorers, collectors, brokers and wooden boating enthusiasts from around the planet… And Brian & Lois would love hear your advice, opinions or any tips on how to give their classic Whirlwind what Brian refers to as a “Refresh” without loosing her 50 years of Patina.
In the case of the Whirlwind – I like the term “Refresh” rather than the overused (and often misused, often misunderstood) word “restoration” for a wooden boat. If you can help, we are sure Brian and Lois would greatly appreciate it, so they can do the “Resfreshing Work” over the winter and continue to safely enjoy their classic original Whirlwind for many years to come.
And the best part, for anyone who comments today, you will be treated to unlimited free virtual cocktails and shrimp puffs at Fridays 2nd Annual Virtual Holiday Party compliments of Woody Boater HQ.