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Classic Boat Restoration

On June 28, 2013, in News From Gayle, by Gayle Brantuk

As I mentioned in my last Glen-L Newsletter, John and I attended an ACBS Workshop last Saturday with our local chapter. The workshop was at Robinson Restoration in Fallbrook which is about an hour north of San Diego. Brian and Tim Robinson are father and son restorers of classic boats and they have an awesome place. Brian’s home along with two large workshops are on the property and the workshops are full of some beautiful pieces of history.

There were Chris Crafts, Garwoods and Hacker-Craft. Most were in some stage of restoration and a couple were beautifully restored. These men really know their stuff and I wanted to share with you a couple of things. But first, I have to say that this workshop was a thoroughly enjoyable day from start to finish. John Maddox organized the event and also asked me to share about Glen-L. We know John because he built a Biscayne 18 and his boat is featured on our website with construction photos of his boat in the article, “Building Our Classic Mahogany Runabouts” here.

John Maddox in his Biscayne 18–a new “classic”!

The day started out at 9 am with coffee and pastries and browsing among the beautiful boats. Then we all gathered in the shop and Brian discussed repairing a frame as well as duplicating a stem. Then Brian talked about drilling the hole for a prop shaft. John discussed strut bearings and the proper placement for propellers. Then there was an awesome lunch of bacon cheesburgers and other yummy food. After lunch, we had a hands-on demo of varnishing using Epifanes and the day ended around 4:00.

One of the most interesting boats in the shop was a 36′ Hacker-Craft that was built for Henry Ford in 1924. There were only two of these boats built, and this one was built for Henry’s mistress Evangeline which is what the boat was named. What a beautiful piece of history with quite an intriguing story…

A photo that hangs on the wall in the workshop of Evangeline in her glory days.

A photo that hangs on the wall in the workshop of Evangeline in her glory days.

Hacker Evangeline

Interior of Evangeline

Hacker Evangeline

Sweet Evangeline–Aren’t those some beautiful lines?

Hacker Evangeline

More Evangeline

The fuel tank on Evangeline located at the transom

The fuel tank on Evangeline located at the transom

The original Hacker-Craft speedboat was powered by a 12 cylinder Liberty engine–the type of engine built by the Henry Ford Motor Company for aircraft use in World War II. This restoration will take a while as the Robinson’s are quite busy but we sure look forward to seeing her brought back to her glory. Chances are, she’ll be even more beautiful in her second life with the Robinson’s skill involved.

Brian (dad) Robinson has his fully restored Garwood in the shop and of course, it’s gorgeous. The upholstery is quite classy and John and I liked the floor covering he used. It’s some type of jute-type carpet used for outdoor rugs and Brian said it works great in the boat.

Garwood restoration

The Garwood with picnic basket ready for an outing. This is the middle cockpit.

Robinson Garwood

Brian on the left and his GarWood–a beautiful restoration



Classy upholstery on the Garwood



The deck was done in a satin finish as was typical on the original. The windshield is a fold down type–notice the “catcher” bracket on the left.



Classic dashboard/front cockpit. Notice the carpet.


I thought I would tell you what we learned, but it appears this is long enough already, so I’ll have to write a part 2. One thing I want to leave you with is that these classic boats are truly a piece of history and restoring them is quite a responsibility. This is what many of the members of ACBS do and it’s quite commendable and necessary to preserve these boats for future generations. It’s also a heck of a lot of work. Just know that you can build your own new “classic” that can be just as beautiful. And, your classic will be part of YOUR history to be passed down through the generations of your family…


Tahoe 23 built by Gerald Hurst

Build your own Tahoe 23 with Glen-L boat plans here!



Key Largo built by John Sheperdson

Build your own Key Largo with Glen-L boat plans here!


Malahini built by George Redden

Build your own Malahini with Glen-L boat plans here!

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