Rare Photos Find Perfect Home – With The Boat!
Through some more over the top detective work, we have found the boat some of the rare photos are of. Chris Craft IV is at Muller Boatworks being completely restored for fellow WoodyBoater John Allen. This is an amazing boat and even more amazing that we have some original photos to give to John. It makes this all such a perfect story. Here is the note from Kathy Muller.
Good Morning Matt–
We are convinced our boat (IV) is the boat in your photos– “rare photo” and “rare photo guy”. We’ve been looking, comparing and consulting all week. The dash is the give away– most have the tach in the middle of the two smaller gauges– your photos and IV are identical, with the Clum switch, ampere, oil, the large Corbin tach and the rectangular hole below (probably Orberdorfer switch).
Bruce Barnard bought the boat years ago– he and Mark Mason found it in a boatyard in Detroit. The boat had been converted to the traditional front-drive configuration and was complete and original, but in old, distressed condition. I don’t know if you know Bruce- he’s really the go-to guy for old Chris Crafts. He’s owned many boats, including some of the Roman Numeral Chris Crafts– Godfather VI and Babs LX. He disassembled the boat and found the old dash behind a panel behind the engine showing that it was originally a rear-drive boat.
He proceeded to restore the boat, got about half way, and put it aside. Last fall he decided to sell the boat to John Allen. We picked it up in Florida and brought it to our shop in New Hampshire where we will finish the restoration. The attached photos were taken leaving Bruce’s shop. At this point, I’m researching the history and finding missing parts and we will begin the work later this spring. The biggest challenge has been finding good photos of a rear drive Chris of that era– and there it is.
The photos attached are for you to see– I don’t think most people would be as convinced as we are without seeing the original steering wheel with quadrant, deck hardware, hatch covers with back fastened intermediates, pleated seat backs, etc. If there is interest, I can easily put the boat together for a few photos.
This is one of the most interesting project we’ve tackled. It shares many details with the early Baby Gars– the red lead bilge, steam bent intermediate ribs, and lots of small, time consuming construction details that were quickly dropped when Chris Craft started production of the 26′ line.
Thanks for your help–
You can follow Muller Boatworks here on their facebook page.
It is amazing that the photos and the boat pictured have both survived separately all these years and will finally be reunited. Great story with a happy ending!
It all comes back to NH.
What is the length of Chris-Craft IV? Interesting story of those very early rear drive runabouts. Do you know anything about the original engines used? I can’t wait to see it finished and in action!!
Yes– IV is 26′ with a 6’6″ beam. The earliest Chris Crafts (Rose Mary for one) were powered with the 4 cyl. Hall Scott A-7-A engines. (I posted Rose Mary’s builder’s sheet after an earlier WB story.) Bear Cats used the A-7-A as well. Chris Craft started to use the Curtiss OX-5 around the time that they began production. I’m not sure exactly when, but looking a transoms, the Curtiss is a V-8 with a dual exhaust and the Hall Scott is single.
Great story! Thanks Kathy and Matt. It just seems right when things that should be together actually get together.
This story creates all sorts of new questions to illustrate the history. E.g., what the heck is an Orberdorfer?
A bilge pump.
I suspected as much. The Orberdorfer web site has some history but nothing saying they made electrically driven bilge pumps in 1922. Can you expand on this?
Great story! Is there any record of how many of these rear drive 26 footers were built and over what year’s? Beautiful!
The records should be included in MacKerer’s Notebook which is at the Mariner’s Museum. I have a few isolated pages– there was another rear drive completed in August ’22 with a Hall-Scott. The Museum’s collection has been in storage while preparing their new library, but they anticipate opening up access this summer.
Here is a link to the Orberdorfer history website