Saturday Road Trip, Part 1 – The Auction

Auction 1

Vintage outboards galore at the Stapleton Auction on Saturday morning.

Today we have the first of two installments from fellow Woody Boater and Contributor “Cobourg-Kid” who set off on a classic boating road-trip last Saturday through the central Ontario countryside. Vintage outboard motors were first on his busy travel schedule, which found him at an auction house in Newtonville. “I love the smell of old outboards in the morning.” – Cobourg-Kid

Saturday Road Trip, Part 1 – The Auction
by Cobourg-Kid

It’s no understatement to say that spring in most North America seems has taken its sweet time getting here this year.

Photos posted on this blog in late March show the white stuff accumulating in classic boats as their owners slogged home from the Sunnyland event. Here in Ontario old man winter has been particularly tenacious pounding Ontario again last Thursday with yet another round of freezing rain, snow and strong winds.

Nevertheless Woody Boaters are a hearty breed and those in my neck of the woods (central Ontario) proved that last Saturday when despite cold and windy weather, significant numbers of them showed-up at two interesting events that had inadvertently been scheduled for the same day; the first, an auction to liquidate a large collection of vintage marine motors and the second; the Trent Severn Antique & Classic Boat Association (TS ACBA) annual spring workshop.

Despite overlapping event schedules I hatched a plan to attend both events and put it in place early on Saturday morning.

At 8:00 AM (EST) I rolled into Newtonville Ontario, parked and entered the Stapleton Auction centre (a restored and repurposed circa 1950’s gas station). With a large number of vehicles parked outside I was not surprised to find a large group of early-birds inspecting the merchandise.

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Pre-auction viewing with the scent of old gas in the air.

I was, however, totally blown-away by the sheer volume of engines to be auctioned. Before me lay row upon row of stone cold cool vintage outboards, about 140 in all, most unrestored, ranging in age from 1910 to 1972. Interspersed between the Johnsons, Evinrudes, Lockwoods, Eltos, Lausons, Cailles, Neptunes, and Martins (just to name a few) were five ancient antique inboard engines (including a 1923 Clear Vision E1 Silent Dispro), several stationary engines and dozens of outboard service manuals, gas tanks, repro decals and parts was about to be liquidated.

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Johnsons, Evinrudes, Lockwoods, Eltos, Lausons, Cailles, Neptunes, and Martins

Inspecting the merchandise I flirted with the idea of skipping the ACBS spring workshop to stick around and bid on a very sweet barn fresh four horse 1909 Ferro marine inboard that was fused to its original transmission, however, the very thought of trying to haul this two hundred pound iron beast home, let alone finding somewhere to store it, ultimately convinced me to stick to my original plan.

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An amazing Ferro 4 HP Inboard engine

1909 Ferro Advertisment

Vintage Ferro Machine & Foundry Co Ad – To the Man Who Enjoys Water Sports

Before leaving I tracked down Henry Liot, the creator of this amazing collection, and asked him about the Ferro’s origins. During our brief chat I let it slip that as I had to get to the ACBS event by 10:00 AM so it looked like I would have to miss the auction bidding, casually suggesting that I probably didn’t need another antique outboard anyway as I was already the custodian of my grandfather’s revered 9.2 hp 1937 Evinrude Light Four.

Mr. Liot looked at me in astonishment then said “you really should stay; you can’t have just one outboard.”


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Vintage 1923 Clear Vision E1 Silent Dispro motor – Just Bid, Pay n’ Pac off to the next custodian.

Tommorrow in Part 2 of Cobourg-Kid’s Saturday Road Trip we attend the big 5th Annual Trent Severn Antique & Classic Boat Association Spring Workshop at Wayne Robinson’s shop near Port Perry, Ontario which was attended by 70 classic boating enthusiasts.

You can see Saturday Road Trip, Part 2 – Spring Workshop on Woody Boater by Clicking Here.


20 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Another nice story Cobourg Kid. Michigan is also hanging on to winter this year. 28 F with a fresh coating of snow this morning. Yuck!

  2. Randy Rush Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush Captain Grumpy says:

    Wow! Thats a lot of motors! I think we need more stories about old outboards. Not everyone can afford V12’S.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      Great story. It reminds me of a tour I took in Branson last fall while at the Table Rock International Event. This tour was part of the pre-events, and was at a private collection of hundreds of every year, and type of outboard, ALL in working condition!
      It brought back a lot of memories when I saw an old 35 horse Johnson that I learned to ski behind, and there was a 100 hp six cyl. Merc 1000 “Tower of Power” dock crusher (no neturual, or reverse, just forward). I had that motor on a 16 ft Anthony ski boat!

      • Tom Kelly
        Tom Kelly says:

        Could you tell me the year of the motor in the picture. I just bought a 1959 Crestliner 15′ Voyager ( in great condition ) with this motor on it. I can’t find serial number. Thanks.

  3. George Emmanuel
    George Emmanuel says:

    I’m hooked on vintage outboards! Especially the “WoodyBoater” er, a, Speedifour on the opening page this morning. That is my ’48 Speedifour and ’48 Lyman at the Sunnyland show. Thanks for posting pics of the auction—I wish I could have been there. There are several very desirable engines in that auction.

    • Cobourg-Kid
      Cobourg-Kid says:

      Wonderful restoration on that speedifour and the Lyman George , what a great combination. I was thinking of putting my granddads light four (Peterborough built) together with a 12 foot Lakefield or Peterborough fishing boat … have to restore the motor first though.. I think vic must have dropped that dang aluminum gas tank on every rock in Muskoka while he and his fishing buddies packed it in and out of back country lakes.

      • George Emmanuel
        George Emmanuel says:

        The LightFour is a neat little engine, but for that boat it maybe a bit too small unless you are just interested in a relaxing cruise. Don’t worry about the tank. Tanks are available and restorable, plus, we have decals available through club members.

        My LightFour on a 12′ Feathercraft

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      On a more optimistic note, if you ignore the snow and the howling winds, it almost feels like Spring is only a few months a way!

    • brian t
      brian t says:

      And yet here on the West Coast I was driving about with the top down today. Tues and Wed are supposed to be 75 deg, which just means that I will be playing hookie to play with the boat on the river.

      Don’t worry, spring and summer will arrive eventually…..

  4. Bill
    Bill says:

    looks like a great auction im hooked on old outboards mysellf they are a lot of enjoyment to bring back to life after they have been sitting for a few decades.a 10 hp chris craft is as much a work of art as the boats they made. great report kid

  5. Cobourg-Kid
    Cobourg-Kid says:

    Yup this am we have flurries here on the North Side (lake Ontario ) too . Good news is that the ice is out of the harbour!

  6. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Cobourg-Kid – I had Ron Stevenson of the Antique OUtboard Club in Ontario restore a 1946 Evinrude 9.7 Lightfour for my 1946 Peterborough 16′ Falcon fishing boat- a great engine and well suited to a small open cedar strip. Your suggested application for the Lightfour you have is perfect – go fot it!

    • Cobourg-Kid
      Cobourg-Kid says:

      Hey Alex a second thank you for the fantastic header shot and to TEXX for photo shopping the WN logo on the tank …. it looks like it was applied at the factory… Thinking of adding it to my light four, if and whan I restore its tank.

  7. Doug P
    Doug P says:

    Alot of boating history on the Trent Severn Canal system and an interesting adjunct to the Great Loop. It was on my Bucket List.

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