Est-ce Le Arena Craft Barracuda Prototype?

Dream Boat

We got this from fellow Woody Boater Remi from  Montreal Canada. He acquired this and now is wondering if this is a prototype? After some interneting, I did find him trying to reach out on web forums and so on. Can we solve it? We sure love this model boat from Aena Craft. Here is the note from Remi unedited.


Hi ! my name is Rémi and im from montreal in canada. Im in possession of the original dan arena first  barracuda prototype boat  the one known by the nick name  (  the dream boat ) from 1954 ads !  it was also is personal boat ! for many year,s  it was hand built from the ads design  it also receive some modification over the years to use as test for new production arenacraft design

Under the deck


Sacrebleu, Is that you Remi?

Oh YA!

That’s a bête!

That boat structure is all wood and plywood cover with fiberglass was use as prototype for full fiberglass  1955 to 59 barracuda boat we know today,s  that was also his last wood boat structure he built ! it,s a v drive

The drive        

Im looking to find any info and contact to complete the history of that boat !

Thats the note. Warms my hart!

That pink is one of my faves. This is a banner with the Barracuda logo.

Barracuda Logo on transom

So is this the first one?

Or is or was it a customized one? Like the Black Cobra. And then the question is? Is the customized version of a Barracuda that is not the prototype the cooler craft? Vintage custom is it’s own cool, and worthy of preserving when done right. N’est-ce pas? Thats a French thing.. See I tried to bring it all back? No? Maybe? Maybe a little early for bilingual humor? N’est-ce pas? 

22 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I love that model also, but find it hard to believe that Dan Arena built it with all that extra gingerbread. If he did, he also had one too many beers when he did the wiring!

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Prototype / Modefied
    Dan Arena / Someone else
    Doesn’t really matter, it is a Cool boat!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Rémi
    Rémi says:

    THE DOG ON THE PICTURE ? No! it,s not me lol ! He is my best partner 🙂 and copilote ! NOAH ! HAY !!! HE ALSO COLOR MATCH THE BOAT 🙂 AND A BIG THANK,S TO Matt Smith
    Publisher of Woody Boater TO HELP ME BY SHOWING MY BOAT IN THE BEST WOOD BOAT MAGASINE AROUND THE WORLD 🙂 PS; I try my best in english Rémi……..

  4. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Interesting boat. Always enjoy seeing the wild stuff they came up with in the early days of fiberglass vehicles. This is quite different from the ’57 Barracuda I saw at Lake Geneva, WI in 2010.

    • Greg Lewandowski
      Greg Lewandowski says:

      Kelly, that was John Gambill’s boat. He sold it a year or two after that Lake Geneva Show. Don’t know where it’s at now.

  5. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    The “hull card” indicates 1057… Interesting boat, hints of a few different manufacturers/styles. I’ll be curious to see what is discovered. 😊

  6. Rémi
    Rémi says:

    the big question actually ! and a major thing to find out ! is ! that boat is made all in wood ! structure ! and i ave told wen Dan arena start to making boat,s himself in the early thime
    they where made in wood ! and fiberglass finish but all barracuda production from 1955 was all fiberglass made !

  7. Lee Wangstad
    Lee Wangstad says:

    The “logo” on the transom looks more like the logo of the Barracuda Marine Company, division of Finley-Smith Sales, Inc. They were best known for taking other popular boats, adding a little here, taking off a little there, then splashing a mold and putting it into production. They produced a very close version of the 1958 Glastron Sea-Flite as well as a close reproduction of a couple of Starcraft boats. They also built aluminum boats. I believe that if this is truly a “prototype,” it might perhaps be something that Finley-Smith put together for possible production. There are a number of differences between this and Arena Craft boats from the period. The rear deck slopes at about the correct angle, but heavy modifications have been made. The Arena Craft utilities were called the Barracuda while the runabouts were called Sportsters. This is a rather poor image showing the Barracuda logo from Finley-Smith Sales. Bert’s boat is the real deal.

  8. Lee Wangstad
    Lee Wangstad says:

    This is a copy of the original artists rendition published in a 1954 Motor Boating magazine. It evolved from this through a few other renditions to become a production boat, like John Gambill’s “Lida Rose.”

    • Rémi
      Rémi says:

      THAT,S AWESOME 🙂 was trying to find a high quality picture of that famous dream boat ! thank,s a lot LEE 🙂 the ones i found were very poor quality ! this one will go on my wall 🙂 and a VERY SPECIAL THANK,S TO MATT !!!

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