Fellow Woody Boaters John and his son Kader Merritt sent us in this cool report regarding a special Gar Wood he is about to go to town on. We here at WoodyBoater are always so happy to see father and son stories and this will be a treasure for Kader when he gets older. Lucky kid to have a Dad with passion and an eye for the better things in life. The future is bright in Woodyboaterville! Here is Johns note.
So I’m a long time lurker on your site and love checking in periodically throughout the week to reinvigorate my lust for your wood boats.
I’ve been a sailor my whole life but have never spent any time around old wood boats or even motorboats. A couple years back I made a trip up to Lake Burton, just a couple hours north of Atlanta, and saw a slew of gorgeous rumbling wood boats.
The bug got in me and I’ve been on the hunt for the past year or so until I found an ebay listing for a 1947 Gar Wood Ensign with unique history. I don’t have a ton of ownership history but the interesting thing to me is that its GW Society History certificate shows it being registered as the “highest hull number on record of a Gar Wood that still exists today”. #649 of the 650 production.
Potentially the next to last boat they ever made. Multiple knowledgeable people have also looked at it and seem to all conclude that it is a rare original brightside boat as a last hurrah before closing the doors. Numbers matching Chrysler ace motor and all hardware in reasonably decent, restorable condition.
I had to have it. Drove up to Michigan later in the week, bought it and drug it home to Atlanta.
I’ve been restoring and building cars and motorcycles as long as I can remember but have never dove into wood boats. So here I am. Watching Snake Mountain youtube videos, bought the Dannenberg book and read it twice. All the Dannenberg forum posts, woodenboat.com… on and on.
100% hooked and it hasn’t even touched the water yet.
Anyhow, a consistent theme in your site and discussion about old wood boats is that they are all relegated to a life among old men and how there’s a lack of interest from younger generations. Hopefully I can assist you in your cause. At 35 years old with a 7 year old son, we plan to make a go at a full restoration and spread some awareness among generations to come.
Got it flipped yesterday and with the help of my partner in crime, we’ve begun popping bungs and scraping paint. Thank you for all the articles and wonderful photos that continue to encourage me to keep going till I’ve got something shiny!
A special note here from us here at WoodyBoater. We could write and publish these sorts of stories every day. It’s heart warming and special to see life, love and passion being restored to our world. And what better to embody it all in, than the rich Mahogany of a classic boat! Thank you John and Kader for that!