It’s A WhatIzIt With Info! GarWood Or Truscott. We need Your Thoughts!

Gar Trus 1Thats to fellow Woody Boater Arronn Carter for sending us in a fun debate on how or what to do with this cool sedan that could be either a Truscott or Gar Wood.  Honestly, either way it is what it is, a very cool sedan.Take it away Allen

Gar Trus2

I recently purchased an old wooden boat that had been properly stored for ten years in a warehouse in Sacramento. The boat is 18’6″ in length, varnished mahogany hull, with a Chrysler Crown 115 h.p. gas motor. It appears to be all original planking and frames and flooring, with fresh upholstery Her title says she is a 1945 Gar Wood. She has the open sedan style utility.

Gar Trus 20

On the back of the aft bench seat is stamped 18 A SEDAN, on the engine stringer is a stamp18 and on the steering wheel bracket is inscribed S 39 or 5 39. In my search to identify this craft, I purchased “GarWood Boats” by Tony Mollica. On page 121 I found a photograph of an identical boat.

GAr Trus4
Here is my dilemma: The man I purchased from, John Schei, found this in a barn at an estate sale near Lake Tahoe in the mid 1970’s. At some point, he came across a story about how Truscott Boat and Dock Company obtained the original Gar Wood jigs after GarWood went out of business and began a short-lived attempt at reproducing the Gar Wood designs. John saw a photograph in the Real Runabouts 2 that featured a 1948 Truscott that looked nearly identical to the original Gar Wood, and decided to run with it, having the hull emblem painted “Truscott” and installed a period correct Truscott tachometer.

Gar Trus 21

I would really like to find out if, indeed, as the title states, this is actually a 1945 Gar Wood. Post war boats by Gar Wood are few and far between, even with higher overall production numbers. I would love to hear from you in regard to the identity of “Mon Cheri”
I am in the process of caulking the bottom with interlux brown seam compound and would love to figure out what year this boat was produced. I have heard that back in the 1940’s, boats weren’t required to register the year they were built, so with the title matching hull number of 1945 Gar Wood, I have difficulty believing it is a 1948 Truscott. It looks nearly identical to the 18’6″ Gar Wood sedan on page 121 of the GarWood book.

Gar Trus 15

Gar Trus 8

Gar Trus 14

Thanks again Arron, to start the debate, i will say it’s a Truscott. Not sure why, and I have a 50/50 chance of being wrong. But the bow area is different and more streamlined. BUT, that could be a later design change from the page 121 book. Is it Rarer if its a Truscott? The fact that it was built this way based on Gar Wood design is a better story?  Whats your thoughts on this?

36 replies
  1. greg wallace
    greg wallace says:

    The shape of the bow/stem, if original, suggests this is not an early post war Gar Wood.

  2. Tom H
    Tom H says:

    Just based on the pictures of the Garwood and Truscott boats it looks more like the Truscott. Garwood, has a continual deck molding, yours stops at the fairleads. The windshield frame does not continue all the way to the rear seat, yours does. No hand rails on the cabin roof.
    Bow light is in the center of the deck, yours is back farther and has the big lifting eye in front of that. It looks like the Garwood has a curved transom, yours looks straight.

    • Eric M. Knox
      Eric M. Knox says:

      I agree with you entirely…the bow light is not correct for a GarWood of that vintage and the “shifter” as seen in the picture is not GarWood as far as I know. It should be coming out of the dashboard…We have the only “1945” GarWood built in 1945 for the Boat Show. She is not a sedan, but rather a runabout 19.6 and the things you have pointed out, just are not GarWood….my own opinion…

    • AE Carter
      AE Carter says:

      I agree with the stem difference and deck molding, however both have the lifting eye and bow light placed the same. The windshield frame does look more like the photo of the Truscott, but photography can be tricky, as my windshield frame does not actually go all the way aft. Also the transom is curved not straight. Thanks for giving it a look!

  3. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    In any case, it would not be a 1945 Gar Wood. Production started for model year 1946 and continued until early April of 1947, when it was abruptly shut down by the parent company. I have a 1946 Gar sedan that was not delivered until March of 1947.

    There are a few 18’6″ Gar sedans around, though I have rarely seen one. A comparison can be closely made.

    • AE Carter
      AE Carter says:

      The real question I have is this: How is it possible to have a 1948 Truscott that has been registered as a Gar Wood since 1945? Time travel? Clerical error I suppose. Could it have been a pre war boat, stashed away until wars end, and re powered in the late 40’s? I think the bow is more like a pre war rather than the “flowing lines” streamline of the post war designs. She is definitely lacking the bow plate of a Gar Wood.

      • John S.
        John S. says:

        Registration and titles on boats this size were not required before 1960.
        Nevada boats were required to be registered and titled begining in 1972.
        At that time you just went into the Nevada Dept of Wildlife and said I have a boat to title I think its a 1945 20′ Garwood with a outboard motor on it.
        There was probably no Garwood identification on the boat just the original tach marked Truscott. The owner probably thought that was the name of the instrument co. and he wanted a Garwood. They said ok that will be a couple of dollars we will send you a title. AND THATS EXACTLY WHAT THE TITLE SAYS TO THIS DAY.
        And thats what it will always say as long as the $20 fee is sent in yearly. You can keep a boat titled in Nev. even if your address is another state and the boat gets some use in Nev.
        There are probably lots of old wood boats with incorrect titles. I know I have had a few. Its easy to correct just some money and a day at the Cal.DMV.
        It won’t make the boat anymore enjoyable.
        This boat has been listed in the ACBS directory for over three decades as a 1948 Truscott Sedan, also shown more than 20 years ago in the Tahoe Concours and many ACBS events as a 1948 Truscott Sedan. In the water next to a 1947 Garwood utility the difference is evident.
        Its a 1948 Truscott Sedan.

        • AE Carter
          AE Carter says:

          thanks John! You would be happy to know, I am doming all the brightwork and bottom job and hope to get her up to Tahoe to play this summer! If you happen across the engine manual for the Crown 115 h.p. please send it my way. Thanks again, I love “Mon Cheri”

  4. Garry
    Garry says:

    The spacing between frames and how many intermediates are used would add to establishing identity. On a GW each intermediate is connected to the longitudinal by a block of wood shaped like a champagne glass. Where planks are but blocked the end of the plank is not a right angle cut but at an angle with the forward plank having the obtuse angle.
    There are other clues but from before the war to after the war a lot of procedures probably changed plus suppiers.

  5. Garry
    Garry says:

    Spelling? Hey it is early out here on the West coast plus fingers are old. Butt block not but block and suppliers not suppiers. Suppiers does have an interesting flavr.

  6. Brian Robinson
    Brian Robinson says:

    This boat was next to a postwar 18′ Gar Wood utility a few years ago at a Gathering of the Gar Woods event on Tahoe. I remember talking to John Schei about it. There are many, many differences. The biggest one is the bow. Gar Woods had a rounded bullnose bow, which is not something that would have been lost in restoration. Definently not a Gar Wood but a very nice restoration.

    • Brian Robinson
      Brian Robinson says:

      You should enter her in the Tahoe Concours d’Elegance this year where the Marque Class is Utilities.

    • AE Carter
      AE Carter says:

      Brian, I don’t think this is a 1945 Gar Wood post war boat either. It looks more along the lines of an earlier Gar Wood design in regard to the stem, but without the bowplate. I have read that most of the trophy fleet were customs, many of which were never reproduced. She is a beauty whether Truscott or Gar Wood, or “TrusWood” as someone joked earlier. Thank you for your input.

  7. don danenberg
    don danenberg says:

    Check with Tony Mollica.
    As I heard the story 23-years ago; When Gar Wood folded, Truscott bought them out, including 6 or 7 unfinished hulls.
    These were then ‘finished’ as Truscotts.
    Who knows if decks or hardware were different?

    Old hearsay here.., check with Tony Mollica.

  8. Eric Hansen
    Eric Hansen says:


    Here is the brochure that was provided to dealers in 1948 for your 18 sedan. The picture that you have was from this brochure, I believe. However, in my brochure, the sedan is not a photo, it looks like a drawing. If this is the case, that picture may have some artistic license when it comes to the lines. These catalogs were produced pre 1948 and some were just drawings, All the ones above 24 feet were drawings, even in the magazine ads. You can see the lines from the actual open boat that was actually a photo. 18 foot utility and hardtop should be built on the same hull. lifting ring, bow lights, and dock line chocks all look correct. I would suggest that you compare an actual 18 foot open utility and the construction, markings, and distances between fixtures, etc.(there are some around the country (check ACBS and I know there is one in Chicago). The stamping of 18 sedan and 18 makes sense. The 115 HP Chrysler was the engine supplied in 1948 so that is correct.

    Based on all of this, I believe that it is………………..a very rare Truscott. Let me know how the hunt goes!!!

    Eric Hansen
    1948 Truscott 16′ Utility
    1929 Truscott Wonderboat 14′
    1905 Truscott Rowing Skiff 12′

    PO Box 432
    St. Joseph MI 49085

  9. AE Carter
    AE Carter says:

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in. The mystery is solved, she is most certainly a “Truscotteer 18 All About”. John Schei did diligent work on her upkeep, and I hope to continue the legacy of this classic craft.

  10. Eric Hansen
    Eric Hansen says:

    And I will ad if you ever decide to sell it, or anyone else with a Truscott for that matter, let me know.

    Always trying to get more Truscotts back to St. Joseph MI. It looks as if the Las Vegas dealership in 1948 was strong as I know of a few post war 1947 and 1948 Truscotts were sold and made it out to the west coast. Here is the dealer list from 1948.

    Eric Hansen

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