Barrel Back Speedboat Sighting On Interstate 5 Slows Traffic – Police Investigate

100_2002 - Copy If you have ever traveled along Interstate 5 through the populated areas of Southern California, you probably know that to arrive at your destination in one piece, you need to keep your eyes on the road. Six lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic all doing 90 while talking on their cell phones can be a challenge to navigate safely – not to mention keeping an eye out for a classic boat along the side of the road (like we are all programmed to do).

That’s exactly what fellow Woody Boater Bob Newcomer did this week when he spotted a rare Chris-Craft Barrel Back on display in SoCal – he slammed on the brakes, merged over through 5 lanes of traffic, took the next exit and snapped a few photos so everyone at his local ACBS Chapter would believe him. Then Bob e-mailed the photos to our friend Dave Anderson (Wicked Wahine) – who sent them to us here at Woody Boater.

Bob notes in his e-mail: This display is at the Dunkel Machinery Moving Co (I-5 between Valley View & Artesia Blvd exits) which has decorated their entire building in Christmas Lights (about a block long) and is so awesome that it slows traffic on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5. – Merry Christmas, Bob

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1940 Chris-Craft 19′ Barrel Back on display along Interstate 5 in SoCal.

But that’s not all… We zoomed in on one of Bob’s photos to discover what appears to say Police – Chicago Park District on the transom. Just when you think you know where most of the beautiful and rare Chris-Craft Barrel Backs are around the country, another one pops up – and of all places, in a Christmas display along a busy section of Interstate 5 in SoCal!

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Barrel Back transom reads: Police – Chicago Park District

And yes – our sources in Southern California confirm that this Barrel Back with the Chicago Police history is in fact, the real deal. If only a boat could talk… Imagine the stories it could tell.

Makes you wonder, if it was originally used as a Police boat – did it have a “Cop Motor”, or “Cop Prop” or “Cop Bilge Pump” or….

Nice work Bob & Dave!


22 replies
  1. ing
    ing says:

    A great way to raise the profile of woodenboats. It would be great to see some other clubs do this. i could imagine this in muskoka

  2. Rick
    Rick says:

    Probably original condition if its from Chicago as there is what only about 3 weeks of ice-out up there? I guess that’s why the clubs are so active there and north through Canada, need to get a years worth of boating done in a very short time. Great display. Thanks for the pics. Oops look at the time! Heading out to TN now (14 hour drive) for the a few days now. Stay warm y’all.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Chicago public service units like boats. I have a early 60’s jet drive from the Chicago Fire Dept. The drive would power the boat around the river, and then you could hook up a firehouse to a large port on the top, drop a gate to block the propulsion nozzle, and you had a V8 driven fire hose. I don’t have any pictures of the boat itself, so I don’t know if it was wood, aluminum, or early glass. No matter the material, it would be a cool collectible.

  4. 72hornet
    72hornet says:

    Such a neat display! M-fine, I may have seen some pictures of an alumunium fireboat with the Hamiltion Jet drive. They also have line drawings for the boat. I believe that there are pictures on line of one in Chicago. I know that the Buehler Corporation in Indy was involved on that. I have a bit of information on them.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      The jet was indeed made by Indiana Gear Works (Buehler) under license from Hamilton. Other than the fire hose hookup, it is pretty much part for part identical to the one in my 62 Chris Craft ski-jet.

      The pictures I have seen for the Chicago fire boats look like a next generation with a larger diameter jet unit and a bigger water takeoff to feed a stern mounted water cannon and a bow hose hookup. Buehler made those boats in glass and aluminum for Chicago and other fire depts.

        • m-fine
          m-fine says:

          More likely cruise around for a while, get cut off on the way to the fuel dock, sink the muthahucker with 4000 gpm water cannon, smile and wave and I drive past the wreckage.

  5. Alex
    Alex says:

    I checked. “It’s got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.”

    They traded in the old one for a microphone.

    Oh, and the cigarette lighter doesn’t work.

  6. Wilson Wright
    Wilson Wright says:

    Many of you have seen Tom Flood’s Hacker at Mt.Dora/Tavares. It was once a police boat…The name Wuzafuzz gives it away.

  7. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    Regarding the header today – the kids in the cardboard boat: That’s an annual event at the Blue Ridge ACBS rendezvous at Lake Chatuge. You get two 4×8 pieces of cardboard, a roll of duct tape and a box cutter to make a boat from. 90 minutes later is a race to see who can float the thing long enough to go about 50 yards. Great fun! The whole rendezvous is very well done, and held at the Ridges Resort. We had a blast last year, and will be going again this year. The ACBS is having their quarterly meeting in conjunction with the event, so there will be a lot of great boats to ride in!!! Here is a photo of the start of the 2013 race:

  8. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    This is my daughter with Bill Turner (about 1999) who came up with the cardboard boat builder competition about 20 yrs ago. You get 2 rolls of duck tape, 2 sheets of corrugated cardboard 4′ X 8′ and a box cutter knife and 2 hrs to build your dream boat. Great fun and no ones lost a finger yet but many never make the finish line.

  9. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    Wait a minute…are we sure this isn’t April 1st? After all, Matt and Texx have all the photoshop goodies available at the ad agency…I donno…previously unknown original barrel with cool Chgo Police history…along I-5 in a Christmas display…anyone else suspicious?

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