A Garform At The Antique Boat Museum. Great! Now I Want One Of These.


Jan 1947 ad for Garform

If you haven’t noticed, The Antique Boat Museum is OPEN! And a worthy road trip for sure. The Museum and Clayton and surrounding Thousand Islands are a perfect setting for all that’s classic boating.The good folks at “The Museum” are sharing some cool rare stuff they have for you to enjoy the history and texture of our little universe.  Here is a little tease about a rare Garfom they have!

Gar Woods Sr. & Jr. inspect prototype of Garform Jan 1947

Gar Woods Sr. & Jr. inspect prototype of Garform Jan 1947

The name Gar Wood is synonymous with mahogany runabouts and raceboats but in a little remembered chapter after WWII, Gar Wood Jr. and his father experimented with synthetic materials for use in small boat construction. In 1947, Gar Wood Jr. began producing the Garform which was the first epoxy resin fiberglass standardized boat in production.

historic photo of Garform

Jan 1948 – Garform flown in for 38th National Motor Boat Show – first boat to be shipped by air for Boat Show

Wood Jr. referred to his new material as “Nautilite”. Garforms were produced for less than a decade. Despite the short production span, several thousand of the various Garform models were produced. Not many appear to have survived to the present day as a consult of the ACBS directory from 2002-2018 turns up a total of 11 Garforms. That number is brought up to 12 when you include the Antique Boat Museum’s Giabor, a 1948 Garform.

At the Museum

Wonderful lines


Wonderful Dash


20 replies
  1. Mark Edmonson
    Mark Edmonson says:

    In my travels over the years I have located a Gar Form, in the Blue water area. Never really thought it would be worth restoring, but now that I see one done I guess I better go get it……….I feel the itching already

      JEFFERY DAVEY says:

      I am restoring one as we speak, its a 1949 17ft. The model is the 49er inboard 4/45 hp gray. It was sitting in a barn in Wi. since the 1970, took me 6 months to find out what it was. We plan on having it done for the Green Lake Wi. wood boat show, this august. Mine is the same color Blue/White, ours has a centered mounted inboard, the one you have a pic of is a v-drive boat they built both models. Its very cool can wait to get her done and show her off!

  2. Tuobanur
    Tuobanur says:

    I didn’t even know they were messing with fiberglass that far back. That is a cool looking boat.

  3. Dave
    Dave says:

    I located a Garform several years ago and brought it back to MN. It appears to be in complete, original condition. It currently is on display in the Gar Wood wing at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum in Alexandria, MN. I would like to get it into the hands of someone interested in restoring it.

  4. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    There was a nice article about the Garform in The Brass Bell a year or two ago. This one looks FABULOUS!

    You will have to make the museum a “road trip” since both the Oswego and Champlain canals are closed due to high water.

  5. Syd
    Syd says:

    I believe that the first Acbs show to have a fiberglass boat entered in it was the Finger Lakes chapter and it was a Garform. I believe that he brought it out from Mi. This was in the early 80’s. He also won an award.

  6. Briant
    Briant says:

    Wait. Several thousand were made yet only 11 (and a few more) are still with us?

    See, this is another example of the crap I was barking about a week ago with that Cobra left in the bushes to rot. It amazes me that people spend big money on stuff, only to not take care of it. It is just use it and abuse it, and then toss it away.

    And you guys can jump down my back again and instruct me that it is their God given right to do that…except that finite resources are used and then we have to deal with the junk left over…usually in a landfill. What a legacy we leave for the next generation.

    Thankfully, not everyone is a selfish schmuck and takes care of their stuff….the evidence is the number of wood and plastic boats that were actually cared for….the ones we enjoy today.

    It is sad though that boats like this Garform are the exception, and not just a beautiful, yet common toy enjoy by those thousands….

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:

      I suspect there are at least 100’s more out there. Just because they are not listed with ACBS does not mean they don’t exist.

    • Sunday Funday
      Sunday Funday says:

      Whoever is pissing in Briant’s Cheerios…PLEASE STOP!
      I’m sure it was funny the first time, but the poor guy can’t take anymore and I’m afraid he’s gonna crack!
      Maybe he should switch to Bacon in the morning 🙂

      • Briant
        Briant says:

        Bacon. Bacon? BACON? Let me tell you some things about bacon…..

        Kidding. Bacon is really good. Idiots that cannot be bothered to care for their stuff, not so much.

  7. Stan Petersen
    Stan Petersen says:

    In the late 1980’s I found two boats, a Shepherd and a Garform, in a warehouse in Esthjerville, Iowa. I bought the Shepherd. I wonder what happened to the Garform?

  8. Dave Nau
    Dave Nau says:

    There are surely a lot more than a dozen Garforms left. If they made thousands, and given they don’t rot that same way as a wood boat, they must be out there to be found.

    I never thought I would say this, as I much prefer classic fiberglass outboard boats, but if I ever get and inboard boat, it would have to be a beautiful blue and white Garform.

  9. Reddog
    Reddog says:

    Looking at the picture of the 2 ladies in the boat, what does the passenger have around her neck? You can tell she is wearing a 👙. , But what else a towel. A women’s Dickie?…It’s definitely a cool looking boat and paintjob.

  10. thomas d
    thomas d says:

    been trying to buy one from a man for at least 10 years but will not sell and it’s just sitting out in the weather.

  11. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Cool info…never heard of one! Like Greg….I think it is a great design.

    John in Va.

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