Glassics Online

Classic Fiberglass Boats

Collecting, A Style Both Wet and Wild


A Style Both Wet and Wild

Andy Manis for The New York Times

Kevin Mueller's Glastron Seaflite boat has fins similar to those on the 1957 Chevrolet that he uses to tow it. More Photos >


Wild Tail Fins at Boat Show

Wild Tailfins at a Boat Show

BoatLarry Edsall for The New York Times A 60-horsepower 1957 Mercury Mk 75 outboard powers this 1956 Lone Star Meteor owned by Kevin Mueller of Rockton, Ill.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article for the Automobiles section about people who find, collect and restore finned fiberglass boats produced in very limited numbers in the 1950s and ’60s. Last weekend, I was among those who got to see some of the most interesting examples at the Midwest All-Classics boat show in Beloit, Wis., on the bank of the Rock River in Riverside Park.

Larry Edsall for The New York Times Top, a Flying Scott outboard empowers this 1958 Glass Slipper owned by Del and Di Van Emmerik of Maple Grove, Minn. Pam and Dave Moehrke of Brooklyn, Wis., brought their high-finned 1957 Vali IV.

Kevin Mueller of Rockton, Ill., who was featured in the article, brought three boats –- his 1958 Glastron Seaflite (which he tows behind a similarly finned 1957 Chevrolet), his stunning pink 1956 Lone Star Meteor and his very much unrestored “shark” boat, believed to have been the prototype for the high-finned “Bat Boat” from the 1966 “Batman” movie.

Joe Wallace of Milwaukee also brought three boats, as well as his recently acquired 40-year-old boat-show cutaway model of Mercury’s 150-horsepower engine.

Another noteworthy powerplant was the 55-horsepower Homelite outboard on Greg Anderson’s 1956 Tomahawk. Instead of the typical two-stroke motor used on most outboards, Homelite based its engine on the four-cylinder, four-stroke engine used in Crosley automobiles.


Fiberglassics or fibervillains?

Hagerty Article

 Brad Lake enjoys his Glass Slipper ‘continuation’ boat.


The correlation is obvious. As the popularity of fiberglass boats rose during the 1950s and ’60s, the near demise of wooden runabouts followed – along with some understandable disdain for the “new kids on the block.” But are classic fiberglass boats truly as ugly and unworthy as they’ve been made out to be? A growing number of collectors say no.


“It’s true that the advent of fiberglass meant the end of the wooden boat era. But I don’t think we should compare the two,” said classic boat collector Corinne Hurst, of Opelika, Ala. “The beauty of wooden boats is incomparable, so of course the majority of people prefer wood over fiberglass. But a case can be made for fiberglass. It allowed the average family an affordable boat and put them into the hands of the common man like never before. And that is still true today.

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Soddy-Daisy’s Forget restores antique boats for shows


Larry Forget of Soddy-Daisy stands beside his silver 1954 Feather Craft antique boat that he polishes regularly. Photo by Katie Ward

It’s always boating season for Soddy-Daisy resident Larry Forget. He spends countless hours restoring antique boats to make them not only seaworthy, but also see-worthy.

He and his wife Cheryl have garnered many awards for their restored boats, which are often named Cheryl’s Fancy. For example, in 1985 they accepted the Best Chris-Craft Sports Boats Inc. in Clayton, N.Y., for Cheryl’s Fancy. It was a 1947 Chris-Craft Rocket the couple later sold in 1988.

“We’ve been antique boat collecting for 30 years and married 40 years,” said Larry Forget. “We were at the first Antique Boat Race Regatta in 1992 at 1,000 Islands in Clayton, N.Y. In Poughkeepsie we got an ACBS Hudson River Chapter 1985 Classic Runabout 3rd Place. The Southern New England Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society presented us the 2nd Place in Class Annual Summer Show Award too.

“The 2012 Classic Boat Society Calendar features our 1967 Glasspar Sedan as the October 2012 boat.”

He and his wife belong to the Antique and Classic Boat Society and the Antique Outboard Motor Club. They estimate Larry Forget has restored almost one boat per year since the hobby began in upstate New York on the Hudson River.

Their love of antique boats continued when they moved to Melbourne, Fla. When they grew tired of hurricanes, they decided to move to Soddy-Daisy so they could remain close to water. That was six years ago.

Larry Forget now owns three boats and has sold other ones on which he has worked. He is currently working to restore a 1959 G-3 Glasspar Ski Boat in his garage. He said he likes to purchase boats from their original owner so he can find out the boat’s history.

“I found a friend in Hixson, Andrew, that restores too,” said Larry Forget. “We share ideas and work together. We hope to generate more interest and support in the hobby. We want people to restore and recycle their boats instead of throwing them away.”

He said he has found nice 50s and 60s-era boats in the Chattanooga area. In the 1950s Soddy-Daisy had hydroplane boat races.

Meeting other couples with antique boats is Larry and Cheryl Forget’s favorite thing to do, he said.

Cheryl Forget said Larry did not have a boat growing up, but he decided after they married that he wanted to get into boating. He started out fixing chain saw motors, lawnmower motors and later upgraded to boat motors.

Link to e-article: Soddy-Daisy’s Forget restores antique boats for shows

Link to original article scanned by Larry: Print Article

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Original print photo


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