Steve Bunda Is Taking His E’poustouflant Prerestoic Barrel Back To Racine!

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Thanks to longtime fellow Woody Boater Steve Bunda for going to Racine in style.Prerestoic Style. Oh hell ya! Now it aint cause Steve doesn’t know how to make a boat nice. Steve owns a great shop in Wisconsin called Antique Wood Boat Restoration. Steve went for it and we applaud him for it. Taking a prehistoric boat to the fanciest pants-ciest show of the year. Go Steve Go! Here is the story from Steve’s own lips to his fingertips. Take it away Steve!

Here is the Barrel from when it arived

One more before

Last fall, I was scanning the internet for Chris Crafts and found this 19 foot 1939 Custom Barrel listed on a broker site.   By the pictures and description, it looked to be the real deal in excellent preserved condition, but it was in Montreal Canada.   After some thought and talking with the broker, I felt comfortable making the purchase and having the boat brought back to the states for the first time since it’s delivery in 1939.  A few days before Thanksgiving,  I  hired a friend to drive to Clayton New York with a trailer to pick up the boat.


When she arrived at my shop in Crandon Wisconsin, I immediately looked over the bottom, topsides, hardware, and engine and was very impressed with the over all condition.  Story has it that the boat was in storage since the 70’s and had some bucket seats installed.   The positive signs that this boat would and could be a candidate for one of the most original unrestored 19 foot barrels in existence included an inspection of the following attributes: original bottom, planking, engine, hardware, gauges, tight seams and bungs, untouched dash, and many other details.


We decided to have a little fun with her and preserve the boat so it can be seen with all her blemishes, while making the Chris Craft usable.  We flipped the boat over and sanded the bottom, spot refastened, painted, and applied a small amount of slick seam.  Top sides were a mess with several areas completely lacking any finish. All we did is rough up the surface and apply a few coats of spar varnish.  Unfortunately, the original M engine that looked real nice had poor compression and had to be removed and replaced with a newly rebuilt M that I had in stock.  A new vinyl interior was installed with special order material that matches the original pieces in the side pockets.

In the water

But first a little pee!

It took about five weeks working part time to get the boat completed as a preserved survivor or user boat . After launching  It took overnight for the hull to soak up for the boat to be used without worry of excess water in the bilge. The Lake Lucerne pictures were taken Sunday September 3rd with only one glitch – the key switch failed.

Easy does it

Yah yeah, lets go!

That kids head on the dock just exploded. I want one of those!

Taking it easy again

Nice afternoon ride with friends

Parked for a rest

Lets go again

Sitting for the barrel photo!

Please come to the international boat show in Racine this week to see E’poustouflant!

Pontoon pals! If they can get along, can’t we all.

Steve at the helm!

Clearly having a fun day of it

Its a “barrell” of fun! Sorry. Ugh..

Prerestoric perfection

Lots of smiles

How cool is that? That’s Woody Boating in Prerestoric style. They are only original once!

Le Name! E’poustouflant  which is French for “Amazing”or “Mind Boggling”!

Oh Morticia. you spoke french!

13 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I will be looking for her this weekend. Thanks for sharing this cool story. Now off to Madison for pre event run day two!

  2. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    Love it! You guys with the no leak bottoms are really missing out with one of the wonders of wooden boats. The swelling of the planks! They never forget.

    • Roberta
      Roberta says:

      Since he registered it as land display, you will have to be satisfied with maybe sitting in it in the parking lot. Maybe he will change his mind and water display. Lots of room there and a better place for such a beautiful boat.

  3. Mark
    Mark says:

    Matt – if you got a French version of “Stinky” you could call it “Pepe Le Pew”.

    Get to work on it.

  4. @WoodardWooden
    @WoodardWooden says:

    Have we covered the bottom stripe colors on boats? I feel that bottom colors have become…dare i say cooler in recent years. Im in love with the green here. Just wondering if going outside the box is Ok in the consensus. Any judges among us?

  5. Matt
    Matt says:

    HA, depending on the year and model, Apple Green Boot stripes. Orange boot stripes with orange seams. Its fun to think that bright colors are part of a forgotten history because of black and white photos. Click on the story about the find at the end of the story, there is a factory photo of the boat with an apple green boot stripe.

  6. Bob Blazich
    Bob Blazich says:

    Compared to the other major projects I’ve seen in your shop over the years, this one is truly amazing. Five weeks? I can’t believe it!! But in the right hands, miracles can happen.

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