10-11 October 2013

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Lot 153

1932 Gar Wood 28' Triple Cockpit Runabout "Hornet"

  • Engine no. 17616

Sold for $396,000

Scripps marine V-12. Length: 28 ft.

  • One of only seven produced in 1932
  • Beautifully restored to show standards
  • Multiple-award winner, including Best of Show

Garfield Arthur Wood was one of America’s original “rock star industrialists.” He built a successful enterprise out of inventing and carefully patenting the hydraulic mechanism to lift the beds of dump trucks. World War I increased demand for the devices, as army trucks building and repairing roads under enemy fire were able to deposit their loads quickly and then get out of harm’s way. As a result, Wood became a very wealthy man.

In 1916, Wood began to indulge his dream and passion of dominating powerboat racing by purchasing Miss Detroit, the 1915 Gold Cup winner, from the association that sponsored her. This began a six-year boat-building partnership between Wood and Chris Smith, of Chris-Craft, which would change racing on the water forever.

Personally involved in the design and construction of his race boats, Wood’s attention to detail showed. He won the Gold Cup from 1917 through to 1921, at which time the rules committee outlawed the use of aero engines in an attempt to lessen Wood’s all-out domination of the sport! Disillusioned by this development, he decided to pursue racing on the international stage, and he did so in typical Gar Wood style. His capture of the International Harmsworth Trophy in 1920 began an unprecedented string of annual Harmsworth victories.

Wood also moved into production of boats. After World War I, he acquired 4,500 surplus Liberty V-12 engines from various manufacturers and formed the Detroit Marine-Aero Engine Company to convert them to marine use. These were used in the 33-foot “Baby Gar” runabouts, which were hand-built for the wealthy few that could afford a boat that cost three times the price of an average American three-bedroom home. From this rather unplanned beginning, Gar Wood Inc. had a major impact on pleasure boating in America, as it built some of the best-engineered, best-built, and most beautiful watercraft ever made. Boatbuilding was a personal passion for Gar Wood, and his other endeavors allowed him the financial freedom to build boats in the quality and with the attention to detail for which he was known.

The Triple Cockpit Runabout offered here was produced in 1932, which, being the worst year of the Great Depression, was not a great year for building wooden boats. Only 64 Gar Wood crafts were produced that year, which was fewer than the number of 28-foot hulls alone that were built in 1930. This example is one of only seven 28-foot runabouts produced in 1932, and it is one of five that are known to survive today.

This boat was purchased by the late Gerry Pederson, a noted collector, as an appropriate craft to mate with a very early Scripps V-12 engine in his collection. That engine was installed following an extensive restoration by Doug Morin, and it still remains in the boat today. Hornet has seen very little use since restoration, but it has benefited from extensive, recent engine tuning by Freedom Engine Service. It was campaigned actively on the show circuit in 2013, where it won Best Runabout Over 20 Feet and Best in Show at the Michigan Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Skipper’s Choice at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum Show, and Best Gar Wood at the Gull Lake, Minnesota, show.

Beautifully restored with ample power, this is an ideal addition to any enthusiast’s boathouse.

Please note that the custom-built triple-axle trailer pictured is included with this lot.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more