“As A Young Man Of Seven, I Loved Seeing The Boat Go Down The Lake And Have Loved Her For Years.” Eric Knox

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Eric and “We Three” Photo Lee Shelly

Fellow Woody Boater Eric Knox sent us in this fantastic heart warming story about a long love affair with a very unique  GarWood. Wow, it’s pure magic when this sort of thing happens and what Woody Boating is all about. All that love and history all secured in her varnished Sapwood! That’s not a typo BTW.. At least I don’t think it is. take it away Eric, and thanks again, for reminding us all why we love our Woody Boats!

Photo Lee Shelly

“We Three” – 1945 GarWood
This particular vessel, was built with the intentions of taking orders for the 1946 year, at the New York National Boat Show, but due to the war, there was no boat show and GarWood, thinking they had a jump on it’s competition, with a radical new design, decided to put the boat (this one) on the floor of Hearn’s Department Store and did so, in January, 1946. After its arrival, Mr. William Ranney of Ossning and Long Lake, New York, came into the store to buy clothes for his daughter.

Gotta have it – Photo Lee Shelly

In a department store! – Photo Lee Shelly

Right next to? What? Men’s underwear? – Photo Lee Shelly

Stunning – Photo Lee Shelly

Love the blue – Photo Lee Shelly

He saw the boat and immediately went to the sales personnel that we there and wanted to speak with one of them and possibly order one….He was told by the salesman that was there, that if he wanted one like this, it might be in his best interest to get this one, since rumor had it,  GarWood, the boat division of the company, was soon going to be closing its doors. Mr. Ranney purchased the boat on the spot and she was delivered to Long Lake in March of 1946..

In the water not next to men’s shoes! – Photo Lee Shelly

As a young man of seven or eight, I loved seeing the boat go down the lake and have loved her for years. Mr. Ranney’s daughter was dating my uncle at the time and every now and then,  would come by our camp and take my Uncle and myself out for a ride in her…now fast forward to 1993.

Older photo of a happy Eric

Mr. Ranney had passed away and I wrote to his daughter to see what had become of the GarWood and was told that “We Three” had been her fathers “baby” and had been in the boathouse for years….so I asked what they, the family, were going to do with her…and she explained that she was going to have a talk with her family and decide…I asked, if they ever decided to sell her, would she please give me first refusal, which she did…

new photo — Photo Lee Shelly

The dramatic sky of New York State — Photo Lee Shelly

And the sun magically shines on WE THREE — Photo Lee Shelly

Out for a slow ride… and photo shoot — Photo Lee Shelly

It was about a year later, I received a letter from her, stating that they, the family, had decided to let her go and if I still wanted her, she would certainly sell her to me…( actually, this was all done with three in mind…my cousin, his wife and me….) We purchased her after asking Mr. Mollica to come verify that she was, indeed, a GarWood….

Her Chrysler engine – Photo Lee Shelly

one more of her engine – Photo Lee Shelly

The boat is the for runner to the “Commador” model and that all are patterned from..and was described as a “commander” with parts of her from wood that they had and done in a hurry, for the boat show….Sapwood can even be seen in her cover boards…not bad staining, just the way she arrived, with such short notice….

Wood – Photo Lee Shelly

Dash simplicity – Photo Lee Shelly

lines and lines and lines – Photo Lee Shelly

matching hatches! – Photo Lee Shelly

Sunset glistening on her aft. Okay that kinda sounds a little creepy. But it is nice. – Photo Lee Shelly

Even her step pads are cool – Photo Lee Shelly

She has won numerous show awards in North Carolina, South Carolina and New York. In Clayton, she has won Best Classic Preserved, Best GarWood, Best Non Restored, Best Non Restored Runabout and Best of Show…and some others from different locations.

I hope this will give you some idea as to why we love her and take such great pride in her.

Perfect day for a cruise – Photo Lee Shelly

Thanks Eric for the photos and story, what a great way to start the week! and a huge thanks to Lee Shelly for the amazing photos. Wow.


8 replies
  1. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    What a GREAT story and really special boat. Eric, your a lucky guy and the perfect owner. The history continues. Thanks!

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Wonderful story. Having just spent the weekend in Port Huron with Dave Shepler’s Mom’s Mink, I can attest to the beautiful lines and detailing of the Gar Wood runabouts. They are in a class of there own!

  3. Carla
    Carla says:

    Eric, I absolutely love your story/pics. Whenever a story like this appears, it tugs at my heart. Hagerty recognizes boats/cars with a history/desire such as yours in many ways; however, I would like to submit this to our Collector of the Month. What a fabulous representation of this history/family/emotions within our hobby. Please let me know the easiest way to connect and discuss. Thank you.

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