Meet Art, Janie And Molly-O Armstrong.
While in Algonac we had the pleasure of riding along with Art Armstrong’s family, Janie and their amazing 1939 24′ Chris Craft Deluxe Utility Molly-O. S-O whats so special about this utility other than it’s just cool is its history and uniqueness.. O and that it’s never left the area, O and it belonged to Arts grandfather, O, and his grandfather ordered it from Chris Craft, and O, was able to customize it, and O it has a cool 350 in it so it hauls, and O it has a wonderful patina, And O Art was able to buy it and find some of its uniqueness back. And O, Art is a great guy and tells a great story. Basecly Molly O is one of the Armstrong family.
Art tells a great story of trying to find the steering original stick at an old home the family used to own. He stopped by and asked the new owner of the family home if he would check in the garage in the back if there was a long metal pole back there. The new owner came out and BAM the original stick was found.. That’s literately like finding a needle in a haystack.
Another was trying to find the original windshield which had been switched to a larger windshield after a wreck with a 300 ft ferry. The Chris Craft was fine, the ferry, 3 weeks in dry dock.
Art was not able to locate the original windshield since it had been sold for scrap just two weeks before he located the place it was.. Thankfully Art found a new one on a grey boat about to be destroyed on the Island. Wow. the boats never left the area on Harsons Island right across the water from where she was made on a custom factory order by the Smith Family for the family. One of the family was not interested in the boat and Arts Grandfather knew the Owen Smith and they asked if he wanted in.. Yes of course, but asked for some special stuff. I suppose they made batches of the same hull to make it more efficient.
We think, there was group of these made and this is one of just a few known of still around. The fact she is still doing what she does best in the area is amazing. Thanks Art and Janie for sharing.
I am not sure when you would use the steering stick, especially if there is no throttle or shift back there. Does the stick stay in at all times or does it get stowed?
Its for fishing, had one in a 1958 skiff, works great.
Had one in my 22′ Sea Skiff. If you were fishing solo, you could maintain your trolling line while rigging your poles or crab pots.
Figured that had to be the idea.
Guess i don’t do enough fishing to know the tricks.
You set your trolling speed, or putting around speed, and fish from the rear cockpit, or you can just set back there and socialize. It really is a neat feature, Lars Okerson has a U22 at SML with an original one on it. When he takes people out at our show he can go to the rear cockpit and tell them all about the boat, the lake, and the mechanism.
I saw a U22 at a restoration shop in Algonac a few years ago with the rear stick, has to be a very rare option.
Here is Dream On, a 1940 22′ Chris Craft Deluxe Utility the boat was restored by Russ Arand and it was recently here in the shop for coats of varnish. It has the factory throttle and steering pole which works very well.
This boat rides extremely well and hold the whole family.
According to Chris Smith this was one of the favorite boats built and the family was known to have a few of them back in the day.
What a cool story and cool boat. Family heirlooms are the best especially when the history is remembered. Matt, thanks for getting the story and history.
Matt could you please e-mail me a link to the article as I have a new windows 8.1 and don’t know how to use it yet.
I have been on the Molly O with Art and Jaine, brings back a huge smile reading this article. Thank You.
What a great story and boat! I need a ride..