Thinking Of Getting A Classic Car? Wake Up And Smell The Varnish!


Classic Boating on The St Johns River Cruise.

One of the top things that new folks interested in Woody Boating say is..”Man I love that boat, but man oh man that is a ton of work” And they go off to the next piece of crap car that they will work on for two years.. But for many of us that live in Woodyboaterville we know a little secret. The secret is that our cool wood speed boat that can take over any bar dock or Lake is just as easy to take care of as any modern boat. In fact, in the long haul it’s a better place to put your money. With new technology and amazing varnish formulas, you can use your Woody Boat trouble free for some time. And when you are done with it, sell it and not loose a small fortune in depreciation like a new boat. A simple no soak 5200 bottom enables someone to trailer a boat, use a boat lift, and have years and years of trouble free fun. Varnish you say.. Well, think.. keep the boat covered.. Like you should with your classic car, and every two or three years have the varnish refreshed, and your Woody Boat looks brand new.

Lets take a 1965 Mustang vs a 1947 Deluxe Runabout.. They both would cost you around $25,000 today for a nice one. And cost about the same to restore. More than 25K by the way.. There are tens of thousands of 1965 mustangs out there today. More GT’s than were ever built as well. So the cost is the same. Ya think the Mustang is less work than the Runabout.. Think again.. Ya can’t leave that 10K paint job out in the sun for two years and not expect some problems. The 289 in the Mustang needs all the same stuff the Flat head 6 does. Tires, Shocks, all sorts of maintenance issues that a car has that boats don’t. OK boats have stuffing boxes, packing and other things. But it’s all equal.. It comes down to a new bottom.. OK.. Hows that frame on your Mustang, How bout those lower rocker panels? Yup rust.. How’s the fit on the hood that was replaced in 1982..Doors,  The dash cracking? Did you replicate the orange peel paint on the lower rockers like the factory did?   My point is. Classic Cars have many issues that somehow have become normalized in peoples minds. And classic Woody Boats have an image of being a lot of maintenance. Times have changed, materials have changed, and slowly classic boats have become easier to own. So next time you are looking at that Camaro you always wanted. Just think.. Where can you floor it all day long? On the weekend, does your significant other want to go out on a highway or a lake? Will your kids remember a weekend on a boat or in your muscle car? When was the last time your neighbors thanked you for starting your un mufflered car? You can find all sorts of cool ready to go boats from our sponsors on the right. Some with Warranties.. Oh, thats right….can’t get that in your classic car, can you?

17 replies
  1. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    Love both but I don’t have any desire to restore a car… If I end up with one it will be ready to roll… Not all cars can be rebuilt. But a wood boat no matter how bad it is, it can be rebuilt… To me biggest issues are engines and missing hardware… Anything made of wood can be re-made…

  2. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    You are spot on this morning, my man. I am a perfect example of someone who has boat, classic muscle cars and classic muscal wooden boats. My $6000.00 1970 El Camino ended up costing me around $35,000, to get her where I wanted it to be. I stopped counting last year, cause it took all the fun out of it.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I like to compare the cost of owning my boat to the cost of owning and operating a Gulfstream jet. It turns out a wooden jet boat is less than half the cost of a modern jet!

  4. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Don’t forget the smell….The moldy interior of an old car or that unforgettable fragrance of an old boat?

  5. Jim Volgarino
    Jim Volgarino says:

    Decided about 12 years ago I wanted to explore the whole wooden boat thing after functioning as a crazed gearhead for 30 years before that. Did all the normal gearhead stuff and have owned and restored plenty or at least enough that I should know better.
    Anyway…the classic boats intrigued me and I did plenty of research and finally decided I could handle a classic boat. I’m completely happy with where I finally landed (nice 62′ Chris ski boat) and indeed the family loves going out in the Chris on a weekend well ahead of cruising in the 64 Impala.
    Of course, I’ve spent the time and expected to have to deal with maintenance (stripped the bottom a couple of years ago…that was fun?) but overall, it’s no more work than any boat and gives me a whole bunch more pleasure. We use our woody constantly and I keep it covered and on a lift throughout the summer.
    I’ve bunged it up occasionally but parts can be had and I’ve learned how to keep things shiny when I want to and don’t worry when the grandkids make a mess. Hey…it’s grandpa’s boat! Let’s go for a ride!!

  6. Gary
    Gary says:

    Frank hit the nail on the head squarely!
    After a Porsche, a sailboat and an airplane my 1937 after restoration has been a dream.

  7. Alex
    Alex says:

    Question. If a mullet is the required hairstyle for a classic Camaro, what’s the proper hairstyle for a Deluxe Runabout? And is a hard-to-maintain ‘do? And does one use gel or varnish to keep it in place?

    • ranger
      ranger says:


      and horses- now there’s an expensive hobby you want to think twice about…maintainence at both ends

      motorcycles, planes and classic cars…oh, my!

      the classic boating life for me!

      • WoodyGal
        WoodyGal says:

        Right on Ranger! My boat doesn’t bite, kick or buck & usually does what I ask it to do. I do miss the varied equine personalities tho.

  8. Tyson K.
    Tyson K. says:

    I would have to agree with the statements made here. I have my little 61 17′ ski boat. and it will be in need of a revarnish this upcoming fall/winter. Something I’m going to undertake with a knowledgable friend of mine.

    COMPARED, to my 1959 Chevrolet Parkwood station wagon I have been restoring. It wasn’t so much the metal work, and rust replacement that was the killer, it was the hidden costs. Sandblasting the body, powder coat this, powder coat that. rebuild the rear end. “What do you mean, my wiring is no good?!” I can see how a boat, expecially a classic woody, would be MUCH more econamical for a family to enjoy, compared to the neverending tossing of money into a pit that, you quite possibly will never get your money out of.

  9. thomas d.
    thomas d. says:

    “a simple 5200 no soak bottom”. is there such a animal? i must be doing the hard one. thanks for all the great lake Dora coverage. wish i could have been there.

  10. Stuart Bailey
    Stuart Bailey says:

    I made a recent trip down to lake Hopatcong the old run down Hocken joes marina has raised up from the mat and is looking like a fit fighter.I cant wait to see the next mechanical Mahogany marvel that floats that Katz’s Cove marina knocks out.

  11. Jay Wagner
    Jay Wagner says:

    Sitting in parking lot with my “show” car in 95 degree heat convinced me that boating was the way to go! Also the swimsuit clad ladies helped also!

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