by Mike McBride member of the Indiana chapter
I found a picture with my father-in-law sitting in a 1947 Chris Craft Deluxe. That’s when the
dream started and the bug hit me.
My wife’s parents owned Holiday Marine on Lake James in Angola, IN. My father-in-law had
told me about the phase of going from wood boats to fiberglass boats. He would strip the
hardware, take the woodies to the parking lot and burn them. He never owned a wood boat from
the time I met my wife, but I found pictures of him and my mother-in-law in a 1947 Chris Craft
Deluxe. From that point, I knew that I needed that date and model of boat.
I started looking and finally found one that was a project, at the Antique Boat Center in
Cincinnati, OH. My wife and I signed the purchase agreement but were not able to trailer the
boat home because we didn’t have a hitch on our vehicle. Half-way home we got a call from the
salesman who offered us $1,000 to tear up the purchase agreement, but I wanted this specific
boat so his offer was declined. We soon drove back to Cincinnati and brought our new baby
home. The boat was a real project boat. The previous owner had put vinyl over the dash, took
out the front seats and put in bucket seats and fiberglassed the bottom. I took the boat
completely apart and used all the pieces as a pattern for the new mahogany. The process was
started by ordering the wood from L.L. Johnson in Charlotte, MI, since we live one hour from
their business. Starting with the keel and working my way up to the finished project took me
approximately 2 years.
I was distracted during the restoration, when a gentleman pulled in our driveway and advised me
that his son was selling a wood boat. I knew at that time that I didn’t need another wood boat but
if his boat was of value, I would buy it. During that visit to look at the boat, which was in very
rough shape and was of no value, my eye was drawn to a 1948 Chevy Pickup Truck. This truck
was in the early process of being restored by someone who had lost interest. I then proceeded to
finish the truck restoration and then went back to the boat. Within a few years I was pulling my
1947 Chris Craft Deluxe with my 1948 Chevy truck.
I had difficulty with throwing away parts of the old boat and knew that I could re-purpose much
of this wood into picture frames, bird houses and other items. Enclosed is a picture that shows
the process of restoration in which the planks were used as a frame. The picture is an oil
painting, painted by my son, and it shows where I was in the process of restoration. The old
hatch was made into a table that we use at our boat show.
Our first boat was a 1952 Chris Craft Holiday, named “Nancy II”. Someone asked me why I
named it “Nancy II” and I pointed to my wife and said, “this is Nancy I”! I felt it was only
appropriate to name the Deluxe, “Nadeen”, after my mother-in-law, who is pictured on the hatch
of a Deluxe.
I still continue to enjoy the restoration process and the camaraderie of the ACBS organization.