The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders

Obsolete Outboards
by Max Wawrzyniak


I have written in the past about the swap meets sponsored by the Antique Outboard Motor Club, and I have promised not to write about them any more.

But the annual Quincy (Illinois, USA) Classic Boat and Outboard Show is a “show” and not really a swap meet (although there was swapping going on) and since my wife actually had a good time there I thought I would mention it for those living in the midwest. I should also mention that my wife NEVER goes to any of these meets but I thought that she would find this particular one to be enjoyable.

Held in conjunction with the Quincy Riverfest, which features arts, crafts, and entertainment, the Classic Boat and Outboard Show starts off with a swap meet (told ya so) on Saturday morning and afternoon. Then, at approx. 16:00 in the afternoon, those with water-worthy craft cruise up the Mississippi River about 5 miles or so to a private clubhouse on an island for supper (those without water-worthy craft can hitch a ride aboard a houseboat provided for the purpose and travel the distance in all-weather comfort.)

After the island bar-b-que supper, the boats all return to the city front and the Quincy Boat Club facilities, which are “ground zero” for the weekend’s activities. Those who wish to leave their boats in the water overnight are welcome to tie-up at the boat club’s docks, but with a seeping drain plug in my classic aluminum Crestliner, I put the boat back on the trailer for the night and left it in the fenced and gated storage area that was made available to participants. After putting all the boats “to bed,” the crowd retreated to the club house for drinks and conversation and to watch the sun set over the Mississippi River.

Sunday morning saw the dry-stored boats re-launched and tied-up to the club’s docks, where the general public was invited to “inspect the fleet.” A fine lunch featuring boiled crayfish was served in the club house at noon on Sunday: although there was no charge for participating in the events, there was a “donation jar” at both the Saturday island supper and the Sunday to help pay expenses.

At about 14:00 Sunday afternoon, the boats were cranked-up and a slow-speed boat parade was held along the riverfront area where the well-attended Riverfest was being staged, followed by a high-speed run along the same course. Like an idiot, during the slow speed run I was fiddling with the mixture controls on my 1953 Evinrude 25 hp (subject of the Start to Finish, Book II series of columns) in an attempt to get it to idle slower, and when it came time to do the high-speed run, the engine leaned-out and stalled. Later adjusting put the engine back in top running order, but stalling in front of the crowds was rather embarrassing.

(4) pages of photos of this years Quincy Classic Boat and Outboard Show can be found HERE.

Photos # 46, 51, 113, & 129 are of the boat I brought.

I have also posted a few photos with this column One final note; I promised the wife that I would treat her to a “nice” lunch on Saturday, and we dined at The Pier, a restaurant built out over the water on a pier from an ancient railroad bridge. I had the “root beer bar-b-que chicken” and it was excellent, as was the view of the Mississippi River.

You can count on seeing me at this meet again next year.


This is a 10-year-old 1950's 14-ft Aristocraft. The son of the original builder has begun building these again. If a member of the original family begins building 1950's-style boats using the original designs and jigs and outfits the boats with original hardware, are the new boats “replicas” or current production “originals?”

There is “tumblehome” and then there is EXTREME tumblehome. I was told that the “machinery” used to force the plywood to take this shape was a large man standing on top of the panels; don’t know if that is true or not.

A nicely restored molded plywood Yellow Jacket boat on a restored 1950's trailer.

A lapstrake Penn Yan boat

Stern of the Penn Yan with 6-cylinder Mercury outboard; don’t know what year the boat is but the engine is about 1961.

Lapstrake Thompson boat for sale.

This inboard runabout was locally-built in the 1930's

Of carvel construction, the locally-built runabout had plank fastenings set flush rather than counter sunk and bunged or puttied.

A Miller boat named “High Life.” Sides are plywood, about 3/8 inch thick, and the inner faces of the side panels at the stern were kerfed in order to handle the tumblehome.