The Search For Suzy’s Top Is Taking Us All The Way To The Top!

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Here is Suzy as found with her original soft top.

As we reported a couple weeks ago here and on the Boat Buzz, we set out to find a top for our beloved go to boat. Imagine trying to find a top for a 24 ft Sportsman. What does it look like? What are the real dimensions? This all started when we got some images from the time that the boat was found up in PA. Frank “CSI” Miklos documented the hanger that the boat had been stored in. It had a soft top! Where could it be? Where could we find any top? And since the boat is very very original? It needed to be an original one. WELL… First, thanks big time to fellow Woody Boater Bill Mack who happens own one amazing example of a 24 Sportsman. One year earlier, but an identical boat. AND, has a top, the original untouched un-opened top by the way!

Bill Macks PERFECT award winnig 24 Sportman, 175 original hours. Amazing time capsule. Note the soft top un opened on the bow.

Bill set out to see what would be involved in replicating the top.. Jim Staib of Fine Wood Boats the go to resource for parts with in the hobby, went into his stash to see if he had the parts, or at least some hard wear.  While that was going on. The folks at Katz’s Marina were we bought the boat and had it varnished were looking in every nook and granny for it as it may have been stored there. But they did not recall it ever being with the boat. Step in, John and Kim Kadimik. John is the guy that handled the preservation of the boat originally. All I got in an email was this image. No words, just the image.. Ahhhhhhh now it got fun…Game on..

This image was like finding a long lost friend, here was the entire community out there looking for a dumb top.. The hobby at it’s best. Folks in Ohio, New Jersey, Canada, Illinois, Florida all looking and trying to help… So? were was the image that John shot?  Trust me, my brain was racing and thinking of metal building around Lake Hopatcong.. Everyone was.. Were the hell was that shot? It got fun at this point. Well…it’s in CLAYTON NY! Yup Clayton NY at the top of the USof A.. At St. Lawrence Boat Works to be exact. What in the hell was it doing there? And Johns photo was shot over the summer! Is it still there? Note, this is not just some matching top. It’s the original top to the boat.. AND, it’s been re-chromed and all ready to go. Turns out it had been left behind when the Ploetners took home the boat over 6 years ago, in Ploenters boat years, that’s about 20 boats ago. Don Sr, and Don 2 are avid boat collectors and big time award winners.  A simple oversight. Everyone involved moaned.. OHHHHHH! So..while reporting on the Mecum auction, I noticed Don Price of St. Lawrence Boat Restoration, down in Florida…on TV buying a boat for a client, and contacted Scott Ayles to see if he could contact Don down there…. Don called right away and the top was found right were John photographed it. JESUS! A simple hunt for a top, and so many kind people all stepping forward to help.

So… It’s in Clayton… Is it in a big block of ice? Just have it shipped? NO WAY.. One it would cost over $500 bucks to ship because of the crate needed to protect it, and the size, not to mention I would puke if it got dented. So it’s a hail Mary trip, DC to Clayton and back in a day, with Jimmy and Patrick.. ROAD TRIP!!!! They tell me Clayton is beautiful this time of year.. We are going to find out Saturday. And report later on all its magnificence. Actually i have always been curious what it looks like in the winter.. Apparently there are 4 people there keeping the heat going. Now if you will excuse me, I need to coral the dogs for the sled. MUSH!

14 replies
  1. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Matt my brother is up ther now. He could bring it down to NJ and you could shorten your trip. Although there is no where as much snow as in that postcard these days and you get to at least look at The River. Maybe one of the fan boats is out and you could hitch a ride. The temp is now 34 degrees.

  2. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Is that boat in the header the one with 5200 bottom or did you put steel runners on it before hitching up the dogs?

  3. Mark C
    Mark C says:

    Can you plllleeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaa(breath)asssssssssssssseeeeeeeeee make a folder of downloadable wallpapers for our computers? Nice high res images of your top banners. Seriously Matt!

  4. Taj Mahal
    Taj Mahal says:

    Wow, very quiet today. I like the original trailer Suzy was on with its low pressure tires for beach launching. Basically they took the cradle and bolted it to something with wheels? As delivered from the factory?

  5. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Only YOU, MAtt, could get this lucky!!
    I once had the same exact thing going on with the top to a 1962 Mercedes 190SL….it did NOT end so well…..what luck!
    Enjoy the trip….

    John in Va.

  6. Scott Ales
    Scott Ales says:

    What, spell check didn’t highlight my name?

    You’re so funny Matt. It’s not Ayles, it’s Ales. A good staunch German name. Just remember, it’s like what you drink.

  7. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Matt i missed the sons of varnish logo a couple days ago. How can i see it? If i just go back a couple stories it still shows the current daily lheader ( which have been pretty cool lately i must say) i read the webpage on my phone(w/internet) if that makes any difference. I tried typing sons of varnish logo in rectangle on left side and it went to a story about katses marine on it

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