Is This U22 On Craigslist A Perfect Woody Derelict Candidate?

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Nice Patina

So you be asking Woody Boater – “Hey Woody Boater, what in the heck is a Woody Derelict?” Well, here is the concept. Over the last few years, Derelict styled cars have become one of the fastest growing segments of the hot rod fashion movement.

So why should that same trend not take place in our culture? Yes, yes, wood isn’t metal – But think of this. You find a cool old original boat with tons of patina, serious patina – like this one currently listed for sale on Craigslist. An early post-war 1948 Chris-Craft U22 near Alex Bay, NY.


OK, you buy it for whatever – $3-$5K whatever, does it really make a difference? No… Anyway, you can see it’s a one-owner boat, that’s been kept up and properly maintained like any one-owner boat. It ain’t art, its a boat. Anyway, all you do to this thing is stick a new 5200 bottom on it, and varnish over the old varnish.

Re wire it for safety purposes, upgrade all the mechanical things, but leave it appearing original – with the loads of patina. It’s a way into a cool boat, thats usable, beatable, fun and safe. And it retains the 70 years of history. Each bing-bang-boom is still there.

Does the world need another perfect U22? Don’t answer that… But the world could use a cool Patina Queen – and here is the coolest part, you wont be financially upside down in it, and when you want to redo it, you always can.

So click here and enjoy the dreaming. I did speak with the owner yesterday, who was VERY nice and honest. It needs a new bottom for beyond sure. Engine has very, very low hours on it, Last in the water 4 years ago. One family has owned this boat it’s entire life. So it for sure has some good Karma in the wood…


V6 modern power, original engine is lost for good.. Remember you are hot rodding this one


I like the name for sure.

The more I write this dang story, I find myself being talked into this. Oh to have every boat. Without a doubt – a FUN project for someone!


A nice example of a “Derelict” car is this cool 1954 Chevy 210 Handyman wagon from Buck’s Surf & Speed Shop. This car runs on a modern power train and rides on an adjustable air-bag suspension system. Classic patina look with modern features. – Texx (Photo courtesy

The classic car guys are doing the “Derelict” car designs, and the popularity of them is growing around the country. So why can’t the classic boat guys give this a shot?

You don’t have to take your shoes off to climb on board, and you can take a bag of Cheetos on board (and even drop a few) – “Fugeddaboutit!” (“forget about it”) – It’s just a Derelict boat from New York!

Let us know what you think. We are waiting…

Matt & Texx

35 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    As long as the bottom is redone, and any other potential safety issues (wiring, shaft log,etc.) are taken care of, I have no issue with it. The Ramsey brothers brought an unrestored “survivor” Dart triple to Algonac a few years ago, and it was a big hit at the show.

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I think what you are describing here is more of just a good safe user boat.

    IMHO a Derelict is more of a “Sleeper”. An old car body that has patina with a modern high powered undercarriage and drive train. To do a REAL derelict in the boating world I would think you would want much more power than a V6, with some sort of well designed high performance hull, and high performance propulsion. (ie: maybe surface drives under a torpedo stern) Complete it with a rough finish and now you have a real “Derelict Boat”.

    Of course the advantage the car guys have is that you can take the body off a car and build a frame to fit it, leaving all the view-able patina intact. When you take a boat apart it has to go back together and than you need to protect the wood from the elements.

    I for one LOVE the patina boats and would enjoy seeing a true derelict, but I don’t think a U22 with a new bottom, old paint, and a V6 really fits that category.

  3. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Most of the money, time, and effort in returning this boat to the water will be the bottom and related structural components. To intentionally spend all that time and money and then somehow leave the aged, worn and deteriorated finish as a kind of “tribute” strikes me as pretty close to ridiculous. Why would someone do that? What is worth aggrandizing in the deteriorated, vulnerable condition of a boat that has aged to the point of not being functional, and is in need of help?

    Chris Wise’s boat and the Dart referred to earlier are actual survivors, I believe, and are in use (though I think the Dart is a display piece?). At some point, they will require significant work – even the Wise.

    I think this boat is a great candidate for a hobbyist do it yourselfer, who wants a nice boat with a story but also enjoys doing the work himself. Clearly there is no economic reason to hire a restorer to do this boat due to simple costs, but a guy doing his own work would have a great and worthy project. I like the power choice made by the current owner as well.

    For what it is worth, I love survivors, users and preserved boats. I don’t get the rat rod craze in cars and I certainly don’t get the intentional aesthetic subjugation that a “derelict” build would entail. The point is lost on me……

    Can someone explain it?

  4. Chad
    Chad says:

    A boat that floats and runs is a ‘user’ boat.

    The idea of partially restoring a boat to call it a derelict is a foolish waste of money.

    A running boat that has patina and wear is simply a ‘survivor’.

  5. Steve Moreau
    Steve Moreau says:

    The car guys call them “rat rods” around here, and they are very popular. I don’t really care to do one of them, but they do have there own coolness factor. Here’s one that can through the camp grounds on one of our trips. It was very cool and the guys were great talking to the campers and the kids all loved it. The guy did a very good job on it but it just wasn’t for me.
    But on a boat I have to say I’ve been thinking of.needing to do an ugly duckling. There’s a old sliverline 18′ tri hull with the windshield way up on the bow and a mercuriser 165 that has my attention. However it would have to sit for awhile and wait in line to get to it. Which I may not be able to get to it, as the wife would probably take a contract out on me.
    I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here in a derelict boat however. To me a derelict boat wouldn’t be a user boat as it would be a boat that wouldn’t be in usable condition. And after one repairs and make is seaworthy and safe then it becomes just a cool old used boat.
    Also I think a sleeper boat could be any boat the has a known performance stock but has been changed or modified to greater performance with out any outward appearance. I use to run AMC javelin that had mild performance for the factory but the AMX was sorta a factory sleeper.
    Anyway a boat that is not.being used being a derelict on new in the garage is not a happy boat. A happy boat is running down the river or across the lake with people on board laughing and have a good time. So bring them on but make the float first.

  6. Steve Moreau
    Steve Moreau says:

    Here u go $300.00 not as good as Nick’s but said best offer. I wonder if that is $300.00 to haul off. I’ll NE her “itchy”. Is this derelict enough?

  7. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    I was wondering what happened to the Su An. She has not been in her boathouse. Have seen her come and go on the River my whole life. Hopefully someone from the area will take care of her so she can return to the River.

  8. Rich
    Rich says:

    I agree with Paul. When the automotive Rat Rod started making a come back a few years ago I could completely respect and admire the skill of creating a usable car from scrap yard parts. The ability to make a part instead of ordering one is unfortunately being lost partially due to the abundance of low cost replacement and aftermarket parts. A ’57 Chev or ’69 Camero can almost be completely built from new parts. The classic boat industry doesn’t have near the parts available as the automotive, but the concept is the same. Sometimes the cost of buying a part makes more economic sense than making it, and that is understandable if you are paying someone to do the work. So the ability to create a working boat or car rather than “ordering” it is a skill that I really admire. However, to put the time and effort into the initial stage of construction but not take it to a show room finish just doesn’t work for my own taste.

  9. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    no derelict here. as said before once you have a safe bottom you might as well finish the job. I do like Horse power so a sleeper with a new motor is cool for me.

  10. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    Matt, you forgot to tell the audience one thing. No one can sell these things. After the owner has “rat rod’d” a car it is practically un sellable to someone else. The exception being a 1932 Ford. They are usually done with a car that was cheap to begin with. 1952 Chevrolet four door sedan. Who wants that? No one if its rust free and little to no body repair than it is a candidate. There is a car shop with six (6) of these different types of cars and the owners can’t sell them. The boat market is really screwy right now and I think someone getting into the hobby would be better off buying a running boat than finding an original one and dumping a ton of money into something that is a fad and only reflects their taste. I might be in the minority but I also like wooden boats to look like they did when they left the factory.

  11. Alex
    Alex says:

    I ditto Paul’s opinion above. Also, why split hairs on categorization? Are we to have a derelict class at ACBS?

    Original. Preserved. Restored. It works fine. Why complicate matters more?

    I love Wise’s boat (who doesn’t) and that unrestored Dart too. Tho they are vastly better and more practical boats than my HAL, HAL remains unrestored for the same reason the Wise and Dart do. Patina, when it doesn’t compromise safety, is fascinating.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      No ACBS category Alex. The point of these is to personalize your ride without some organization dictating to you what it is suppose to look like.

      Just fun and different through creativity – without judging or judgement from anyone.

  12. Steve Moreau
    Steve Moreau says:

    Cliff I don’t think your in the minority but an at the sleep at the helm majority. I believe that many of us love the old wooden boat realize and appreciate boats that are restored to better than factory condition and kept for the historic benefits, ones that are renovated and used as they were attended. And one that are found, repaired and put back into service. However the waters have gotten muddied up around here and we are more of a classic boat forum. But that is a topic for a later day.
    So back to your concern as I to don’t want to see another wood duck head on the bow of a boat. I have put in a couple of calls to some friends that are newly elected officials to get the ball rolling on legislation for it to be illegal for anyone to alter the cosmetics appearance of a wooden boat buy no more than 20%. Now hold on and be four you go thinking we gonna be picking up guys and gals and taking them to the big house, that just wouldn’t do as prison over crowing is a real serious tax draining problem. The punishment for the offense will be carried out right back of the court house. Which would range from having ur toe nails pulled off with a pair of vice grips to the more server cases where ur eye lids would be surgically removed.

    So what we would see is that only fiberglass boats could be rat rod’s or ugly ducking boats. Now hold on again I’m sure that there are a lot of folks that will take this the wrong way. And I’m also sure that that is a lot of folks who love there old wood also loves some slick glass, and I’m one of them. This discussion is only from a supply and demand point of view. And let’s face it there are more old glass boats out there to play around with than wooden one and there cheap, see supply side thinking. Also one just simply goes to Walmart and picks up a couple of fiberglass repair kits, a bilge pump, a set of pewter boat cleats, and a fuel water separator. And you won’t be putting a demand on the wood supply needed for our wooden boats. See supply and demand!
    Now go have fun and see you on the water with that wood duck.

  13. Nautilus
    Nautilus says:

    A U22 that needs a bottom and has the wrong engine is not worth $5,500. A new 5200 bottom is a $23,000+ proposition. A “sleeper” boat would require a lot more horsepower so the now $28,500 U22 would need an $8,000 big block Chevy…$36,500 new total. Safety issues and labor would add another $1,000. I saw no mention of a trailer, another $3,000. The result would be a $40,000 “common” Chris Craft that was safe, seaworthy and ugly but would go like hell. A buyer could probably eventually be found for $10,000. Bottom line: I just don’t get it.

    Using the auto analogy, a red convertible actually costs less to restore than a green four door sedan. The convertible would sell immediately for 4X the money, assuming you ever found a buyer for the four door. I can see no merit in the concept of “rat rod” classic boats. I give the idea two thumbs down.

  14. Rick
    Rick says:

    I haven’t been had the time to read WoodyBoater for a couple of days but my new mug just arrived and suddenly having a car drive through my office just doesn’t seem so bad. Or maybe the nitrous tank is still leaking?

  15. Brian F.
    Brian F. says:

    I am all for “user boats” but like many above it doesn’t make any sense to invest thousands into a new bottom then just leave the top sides as is… Like many folks up here in the PNW I would restore this boat to show room condition then treat like a “user boat” (we USE our boats up here).
    Scares tell a story but why try to tell someone else’s story? Like our glassic Cavalier, the previous owner used to dock without fenders (for 32 years!) so the port side was all scared up. I painted over it all as soon as I got it!! Now I have a sweet scare on the starboard-aft corner from a great night of partying aboard a homebuilt 3-story party barge!! It got windy so we used out boat to pull/push the barge away form shore. Well the transom squatted and the barge framework rubbed on the corner the whole time we were moving. The scare is hideous but there’s a story with a fun memory and lesson learned so it hasn’t yet been properly patched. That’s patina and history, but it’s my history so I’m proud of it!! A person would be hard pressed to be proud of someone else’s history…

  16. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    I don’t care about categorization at all; the entire concept of purposefully maintaining and perhaps even embellishing a degraded, decrepit finish as a way of personalizing something is a complete mystery to me. It is not even personalization if all one does is “preserve” a worn out mess of a finish that has itself been wrought by nothing more than time and neglect – it is not as though the owner distressed the finish and created it himself.

    At least with rat rods there is some creativity and vision involved – I don’t happen to be partial to that style of ride but I will credit the builders with being creative and possessing an innovative vision – simply varnishing a distressed boat portrays no vision at all. In fact, my first question would be simply “why?”, what is is supposed to mean?

    I know with the well known “boathouse” find BB of a number of years ago, the owner finally gave in and restored it because the boat could not be used otherwise.

    Why not cobble up a rat rod boat made of a derelict glass hull and graft a U-22 topsides on it? Wouldn’t that sort of thing be more in a defined “rat rod” tradition?

    I also wonder how long the craze for derelict and rat rod stuff will last? Salability is awful, as was pointed out earlier.

    • Brian f.
      Brian f. says:

      Paul, I believe Century tried doing just that.. They out a mahogany deck on a fiberglass hull and called it a “Fibersport”… There are actually a couple of these here in the PNW. I saw on from Oregon at Mahogany & Merlot this year, it was pretty slick looking and doesn’t have the typical Century sinking tendencies..

        • Paul H.
          Paul H. says:

          I saw a couple of those Fibersports and they are not bad, when done right. My thought on the boat “rat rod” would be too take several major but completely unrelated components of boats from different manufacturers and build/combine it all into one boat. That seems to me to be what the rat rod guys do – different components from different manufacturers and totally different eras, all amalgamated into one vehicle. Now, that would be a statement and a build.

          Varnishing over an impaired finish and distressed wood is another thing entirely, and it probably makes even less sense than cobbling up a multi-generational, multi-material home built rat rod boat.

          Leaving Tavares for PDX tomorrow morning, Brian – Skiff in tow for a little TLC at Jerome’s place. It’ll be repatriated to Shuswap in a month or so.

  17. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Like most boats, restoration does not make financial sense unless you do much of the work yourself and don’t aim for perfection.

    In this case, the hull was not mahogony and it is painted (no grain matching issues), so it could be very afordable to put a 5200 bottom on it, refinish it and have a very nice user boat. If you are happy with the v6, which is more power and less weight than the K, the right person could buy and fixup this boat for under $10k, possibly well under. Pay someone to do the work and yes it will go north of $30k but that can’t be the market for this boat.

    I would be up there now negotiating a sale price if there was a realistic chance I could get to it in the next five years. Alas, there is not and my wife would not tolerate another boat waiting for restoration for too long.

  18. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    I feel one may do want they wish with his or hers wood boat , car or truck. But looking at the build numbers of a car and or truck verses a wood boat , the wood boats are rarer and deserve a more thought out project completion.

  19. Grant Stanfield
    Grant Stanfield says:

    Oh, cool…

    I’d always hoped to be a trend-setter, a genre-blazer. Guess my 15 minutes has arrived…but with 45 minutes’ worth of patina..!

    Remember- they’re only original once. Survivors are where it’s at.

    • Brian F.
      Brian F. says:

      I would venture a guess that since your boat is actually in the water that yours is “lovingly original” vs the suspect U22 that is “neglectfully original”… I would also guess that most folks on woody boater would agree that there is a HUGE difference between the two.

      • Grant Stanfield
        Grant Stanfield says:

        My 1954 CC 22′ Sea Skiff was boathouse-kept on a private island for 60 years by the original owners…nothing was EVER changed for the sake of change except hull color. She has plenty of patina now, BUT was relied on each summer as the island launch, so she HAD to run, float, do her water-taxi job every day and not sink or catch fire, etc.

        These folks had a caretaker/boat chauffeur who made sure she was usable at their beck and call, if not always perfectly varnished. When I discovered she was for sale and looked her over closely, did lots of research on early Sea Skiffs, and considered her unique and somewhat pampered life, I snapped her up immediately. She’s literally plug & play and could be launched and used on day one- even smells nice, like a boathouse in the north woods!

        Buy the very nicest survivor of your favorite model that you can find- then keep her lovingly maintained. Don’t be in a rush to restore her to like-new appearance- think on it for a while. DENBY typically gets just as much attention at shows as perfectly restored boats, so..?

  20. FLASH
    FLASH says:

    I think too many have confused Rat Rod with Derelict. A Rat Rod typically is a car that contains many homebuilt parts or mismatched parts bolted or welded on to a frame of what used to some other type of car.

    The Derelict they are speaking of is a car or truck that has been found in a field or desert, could have some surface rust or patina and someone makes it mechanically sound, maybe builds a big motor for it, but it just looks like an old, very used car or truck.

    This U22 could be just that. No, you wouldn’t want to spend $25K on the bottom, but if you can do it yourself and make it safe and reliable, go for it. Use it and abuse it. Pile it full of people and have a blast. It might look like a pile of crap, but i guarantee you it would be the boat having the most fun at any show. While the rest of you are inspecting zippers, this boat would be on the water having a ball.

    I’m in.

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