You May Think You Know Whatizit. But Itz Not!


Looks very cool!

Thanks to fellow Woody Boaters Cindy and John Hendren regarding a special boat they found, and despite what you may first guess it is, some smart folks are stumped. Here is the note from John and Cindy.

Looks familiar, but its not

We had a shop tour day yesterday at our boat shop, and had hoped someone would have been able to shed some light as to the make of this unique vessel! We had a few experts here, and at first glance Ventnor came to mind (myself as well), but after scrutinizing so many variances, the common consensus is that it is a different make. It sure does resemble a Ventnor, but the stern is very round, not a V like the Ventnors; Ventnor sterns are mahogany whereas this is molded plywood, and cedar planks on the hull sides.

The hull flares right thru to the stern, a Ventnor does not. The guy I got it from had been told years ago that it was a Grenfell. All research we’ve been able to find on Grenfells shows that they only built cruisers. I’d love to see if ‘just once’, back in the 40’s, they built a stylish, funky runabout! Any ideas?


YOU CAN VISIT john and Cindy’s Restoration Business called….. Johns Little Boat Shop, HERE

And you can like them on Facebook, HERE

15 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    My search indicates a refference to a Glenfell Barrelback on the Jespersen Boat Builders website under restore, but there only seems to be one picture and it does not give much detail.

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Don’t know what it is, but whoever built it put a lot of cost and effort into casting some pretty cool hardware. I don’t think they intended to only build a few. It will be cool to confirm the builder.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Hmmm, it does look like a Canadian sense of style. Perhaps inspired by a Ventnor and a Greavette. The steering wheel is on the wrong side, like a Streamliner, and it is also more rounded than the Ventnor.

    Certainly built by someone with building expertise and money to spend. Perhaps a prototype or a boat show concept boat? Perhaps Grenfell was thinking about getting into the runabout business? Don’t know about Grenfell though. That must be a Maine thing.

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    there appears to be some big hardware on there….like they had cruiser stuff and used it???
    Ugly cool though.

    John in Va.

  5. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    About 30-35 years ago I was at the Barrett-jackson and they auctioned off a Grenfell triple. Had a checkerboard bottom. Being a small company they probably built whatever someone would pay for.

  6. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    If the steering wheel is original, looks to be mid 1950s. If Grenfell, my guess would be that the bow cap was used on something else. The windshield center bracket, resembles Ventnor. Also the side brackets also could be cut down Ventnor. Other features also mimik Ventnor other than the boattail stern, rounded lower stern, Wide cockpit roll. It also has some Arbib like influence to the designs the vents midship,. And the loover vents at the stern. Also the bow treatment is also very much Arbib like, in his earlier designs.

  7. Mike K
    Mike K says:

    im confused! it says :
    “Thanks to fellow Woody Boaters CINDY and John Hendren”

    did this guy really scored a bride that lets him bring stuff like this home? i have to hide my finds and try to make amends with the admiral later when she discovers them!!

    nice going John Hendren!

  8. Chris Franz
    Chris Franz says:

    Looks like a Barnes Brothers or a variance of a Western Fairliner. Certainly looks Ventnor inspired, with a smathering of funky hardware. My guess is a small coach built custom. Very Cool

  9. Jonn Reid
    Jonn Reid says:

    Gene fell produced many runabouts in the 1950s/60s. In fact small speedboats were how he developed his name and started his own company… most resembled Chris Craft, Hacker Crafts and even Italian Rivas. His production of 3 Ventnor look a like boats have been documented

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