9-10 October 2014

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Lot 150

1930 Chris-Craft 26' Model 111 Runabout "Muse"

  • Hull no. 10072

$220,000 - $260,000

250 bhp, 824 cu. in. Chris-Craft A-120 V-8 engine. Length: 26 ft.

  • Finest American watercraft built for the who’s who
  • Expertly restored and presented
  • Multi-award winner

Many of the boats of the 1920s and 1930s were purchased by famous people, or at the very least highly successful ones. Chris-Craft would even tout the owners of their boats in period advertising, as their crafts were carried as tenders on some of the most lavish yachts of the day. Those owners included Alfred Sloan, Frederick Fisher, Vincent Astor, Frank V. DuPont, William Randolph Hearst, Edsel Ford, and K. Lee Guinness.

Also included amongst that list of Chris-Craft owners was Charles S. Pearce. In 1928, Colgate and Palmolive-Peet Corporations merged, and Pearce was named its president. He also served as the president of the International Cellucotton Company. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1900, he became an active alumnus and served as a trustee of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), along with the president of the Pullman Corporation and former Wisconsin Governor Walter J. Kohler. WARF provided funding to commercialize ideas developed through the university, including Warfarin, the most commonly prescribed oral anticoagulant drug in North America. Pearce’s office was located on the 37th floor of the Palmolive Building in Chicago, one of the most prominent buildings in the city.

Charles Pearce also enjoyed his recreational time in northern Wisconsin, on Red Cedar Lake, near Birchwood. On May 26, 1930, Chris-Craft Corporation shipped this Model 111 Runabout, hull number 10072, to Wisconsin through the Wilson and Richardson Dealership in Chicago. Hull 10072, the 72nd 26-foot Runabout built in 1930, was equipped with a Chris-Craft A-120 250-horsepower, 824-cubic inch V-8 engine and a 19x24-inch propeller. Green leather upholstery was specified, as was as a Loraine spotlight. Pearce’s Runabout carried the name Muse right from the factory.

Mr. Pearce enjoyed the boat for several years, but as time and progress marched on, Muse eventually concluded her useful life as a “yard boat” in southern Illinois. She was later discovered there and moved to Minnesota, where she passed through several subsequent owners. Muse was purchased by her current owner in 2004 and then placed in the capable hands of Nelson Boatworks in Minnetrista, Minnesota. There, she underwent an extensive examination of restoration work that had already been completed, which included a new bottom and the addition of new decks and transom. The original hull sides were in remarkable condition and kept original. The Model 111 was finished, prepped, and detailed with an eye toward the show circuit. The original green leather upholstery was re-created by Rod Souza in California, and the instruments were restored by Mark Clawson. She also received a jaunty Dietrich convertible roadster top. Included in the sale of this craft are a custom-built tandem axle trailer and two full mooring covers.

While her original A-120 engine was lost to history, Muse has been fitted with a correct-type A-120 engine that was originally installed in hull number 10057. The engine was restored by Long Island Boat Shop in New York, an engine builder noted for the restoration of rare marine engines. It has most recently been serviced, tuned, and water-tested by Freedom Boat Service, and it carries the original and desirable twin-carburetor fitment.

Since restoration, this stunning Runabout has been shown to the delight of wooden boat aficionados. She has been awarded Best of Show at Keels and Wheels in Seabrook, Texas; Where It All Began in Algonac, Michigan (held at the original Chris-Craft factory); the Les Cheneaux Antique Wooden Boat Show in Hessel, Michigan; and the BSLOL Rendezvous on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota.

This beautifully presented Muse is sure to inspire its next owner for years to come.

Alexander Weaver


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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

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