Riding In A Classic Boat Is Fun – Riding In A Triple Cockpit Dodge Is Priceless!


Yesterday we ran a story about a very nice (and very rare) 1930 25′ Dodge Triple Cockpit Runabout that fellow Woody Boater Jim Frechette shared with us. That particular Dodge runabout was purchased in Massachusetts in 1990 and has spent the last 20 years in Austin, Texas. (You can see that story by clicking here)

These big triple cockpit Dodge runabouts are far and few between… So we were surprised when we received an e-mail from Hessel Correspondent Alex Watson a few days ago, to report that one the first classic wooden boats to be launched in Hessel, Michigan this spring was a 1930 Dodge Triple. Coincidentally the report about the Dodge triple in Hessel came in the same day that we received the story about the 1930 Dodge triple from Jim Frechette in Texas – Funny how that works…

I asked Alex to do some investigation, and with the help of Tommy Mertaugh at Classic & Antique Boats in Hessel, they confirmed that the big triple launched in Hessel was in fact another rare 1930 25′ Dodge Runabout named “Tomorrow” and owned by Mark Clymer. Alex then contacted Mark, who provided us with these cool photos of “Tomorrow” along with some history of the rare Dodge.

Mark commented…

Hi Alex – My knowledge of the boat’s history is very limited prior to purchasing it in 1994. It was not seaworthy at the time as both the engine, hardware and decking had been removed. A restoration had begun with a new west system bottom and then stopped.

Jay Altmaier did most of the wood restoration with me in his shop in 1994, replacing all the topside wood and refastening the hull. I completed the job in my shop with Jay during 1995, including installing a new Mercruiser 7.4L 454 CI engine, along with the wiring, chrome, and varnishing, etc.

I still have the original Lycoming straight-8 engine on a pallet, along with the engine manual. It was rebuilt prior to my purchase.

I’ve been running it around the Les Cheneaux Islands every year since 1995, and have made occasional trips to Mackinac Island, and once up the Cheboygan River, and through the locks to Mullet Lake. It is a very comfortable ride and tops out around 50-55 mph.

I launched it early this year in mid-March.

Regards – Mark Clymer

Thanks Mark – It’s just so cool to see one of these rare Dodge triple cockpit runabouts from the 1930’s back in service and being used on a regular basis. The new styling of the 1930’s Dodge runabout line-up set new standards that stand out even today… With the folding Vee-windshields for and aft, along with innovative options for the period. “Tomorrow” is just beautiful – Texx

Mark also sent us a few great images of “Tomorrow” out on water around Hessel and Les Cheneaux Islands, so we thought it would be fun to take our viewers for a quick ride on the big Dodge triple…

It’s obvious from the smiles on everyones faces that “Tomorrow” is a blast to ride in, and the big Mercruiser power makes it a perfect user boat throughout the year in Michigan… Even the dogs seem to like riding in the aft cockpit…

And even the dogs like the forward cockpit. The sensation from the aft cockpit as the big triple gets on plane is cool, almost like the forward cockpits are in a differnet area code, they seem so far away at first…

Do you think these folks are having fun? To me, this image describes the essence of the classic boating lifstyle… Folks having a great time out on the water in an eighty year-old antique boat. If Horace E. Dodge Jr could only see us now… skimming across the water at 55 mph with a Chevrolet Big-Block under the hatches…

Thanks again Mark for sharing these images of “Tomorrow” with us here at Woody Boater, and thanks to Alex Watson and Tommy Mertaugh for helping us locate the big Dodge Runabout.

Oh and Mark —- We are planning to be up in Hessel, Michigan at the end of June this year and if your around, we would love to get together to thank you personally and if the Dodge is in the water, and lake is calm… We will have our cameras charged and ready just in case you decide to take her out for a spin (hint, hint) – Texx

Hessel Michigan is located at the head of Hessel Bay and the west entrance to Les Cheneaux Islands on northern Lake Huron. In the 1880s Hessel grew from a loose settlement of Indian fishermen into a lumber port where logs were brought to be loaded onto boats in the spring. Today the busiest place in town is the Hessel Marina and docks.

You can learn more about Hessel, the Les Cheneaux Islands (click here) and the awesome Antique Wooden Boat Show in mid-August, which is hosted by the Les Cheneaux Historical Association you can click here for more information. Woody Boater will also be reporting live from this event in August.

Sunset in Les Cheneaux Islands, MI - Image Courtesy Alex Watson

And lastly, if any of our viewers own or have access to a classic Dodge boat from the 1920’s or 1930’s, and have some photos and history of the boat, we would love to hear from you!


8 replies
  1. chad
    chad says:

    Thanks Mark and Alex.

    Could you give me the exact location of the Lycoming sitting on the pallet? 😉

    • jimmuh
      jimmuh says:

      Don – The earlier Dodges, the Watercars, were designed by George Crouch, one of the seminal early boat designers. The *new* boats, from 1929 to 1935, were designed by Walter Leveau, a member of HE’s design department. Crouch had left the company by then. Although Leveau has essentially no visibility as a designer, I think he did a great job of modernizing Dodges designs; our 1935 17 footer, is quite a sleek little speedster.

  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    Chad, why yes. Here’s where you’ll find Mark’s Lycoming. Drive to the yellow blinker in Hessel, turn right, then turn right. After that, turn right. Then make a right. Repeat.

    By the way Chad, beer at The Islander Bar in Hessel is free. No really. I saw the sign myself: “Free Beer Tomorrow.”

  3. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Texx, I’m thinking Horace would be happier if there was a Viper engine in that boat rather than a Mercruiser…..just sayin’

Comments are closed.