Behind The Scenes With Gar Wood [1935]

We were standing on the bank of the St. Clair River just below the little town of Marysville, Michigan. Several of us were there, waiting expectantly—three or four newspaper men, some of the foremen from the Gar Wood factory nearby, E. C. Hancock, the general manager and myself. The air was alive with excitement.

Suddenly, it happened. A roar like thunder came from around a bend in the river. All eyes turned toward the south. Then, with the high-pitched whine of her gears rising above the roar of her engines, Miss America appeared as a black dot far down the river. First, it is just a speck, a wedge of black encased in a cloud of spray. Then there is a flash, a deafening roar, and like a comet it passes, and is gone. Here truly is speed such as the world has never known. This is Miss America X the fastest motor boat in the world.

It gave me a real thrill to stand there and watch Gar Wood pilot his speed demon up the St. Clair during this test spin. Making about a hundred and twenty miles an hour he was traveling over twice as fast as most of us have ever moved across the water. I thought of the genius that had gone into the building of such a boat, and the years of experimentation and research necessary to solve all the problems that came along.

And now, here was Gar and Orlin Johnson, his mechanic, coming back down the river at idling speed—a mere sixty or seventy. When he got abreast of us he swung her over and headed in where we were. Several men jumped to catch her as the giant thirty-eight foot hydroplane coasted easily in to the dock. Nine tons of dynamite, thought I.

Gar hopped out, cool as a cucumber in his white racing outfit and life preserver vest. To have just traveled faster over the water than any other man didn't seem to have impressed him at all. He climbed out of the cockpit as you or I might climb out of our car after a trip to the grocery store. Just an incident to him.

"How does it feel to travel two miles a minute," put in one of the reporters, hoping doubtless to get a story for the evening edition.

"Uncomfortable," was the laconic reply from the speedboat king as he unbuckled his helmet, and took off his life preserver vest.

There they stood, Gar Wood and Orlin Johnson, probably the world's greatest racing team.

Gar Wood, colorful, fiery, millionaire about whom perhaps more has been written than almost any other sportsman. Gar Wood, the man who has been responsible for keeping the speedboat championship of the world in the United States for fifteen years. Gar Wood, the man who has been an outstanding success in everything he has tried. He is a fine game shot. He is one of the most enthusiastic amateur fliers in the land. Hard as nails, a fighter every inch, and a sportsman willing to give and take. Preparation, work, training, fair dealing, ambition, these are the things that have carried him to success. Today his hair is silver, and it blows viciously back as he sends his Miss Americas down the course, a cloud of spray in the wake. Truly one of the most colorful figures in the sporting world.

Beside him, Orlin Johnson, his mechanic, the man who has been in more smash-ups, in experimental work and actual racing, than any other speed boat enthusiast. Orlin has been at Gar's side when his broken jaw has been in a plaster cast. Orlin knows how it feels to be thrown into the waters of lakes, the ocean, and racing courses on the continent—tossed at speeds varying from 30 to 80 miles an hour. He has gone down for the second time more than once, his bones have been broken, his muscles wrenched, and his lungs taxed to capacity. But he goes serenely on giving his best to the cause of keeping America speed champion of the world.

In his hand Orlin carried two round metal cylinders looking unlike anything I had ever seen before.

"What under the sun...."

Orlin pointed one at the wall, and began to work the handle in the manner of a pump. In a second a stream of liquid shot from the object.

"You can believe it or not," said he, "but these are fire extinguishers, or at least what is left of two Pyrenes. These guns have gone with us in every trial and race since 1925. And they still work. You may wonder why they're so bunged up. Well I'll tell you.

"These two guns have laid on the floor between Gar and me because there was no available wall space to mount them on. Consequently, every time we hit a ripple they flew around. And when I say ‘flew,’ I mean just that. I've looked down at times and seen these little rascals bouncing around that floor like two India rubber halls. Each time we come back from a race, they look a little worse for wear, but dawgone it, they still work."

Peering into the cockpit of one of the new 22 foot runabouts later. I was not surprised to find a Pyrene carefully mounted on the foot boards. Out of the way, inconspicuous, but always there ready to do its job.

One of the reasons why I had come to Marysville was to find out more about the Miss America X, to learn the little secrets that were behind her outstanding performance. One thing about her that I had been especially interested in was the matter of lubrication. With her four motors delivering some 6,500 horsepower through two propellers, here was a real lubrication problem. I wanted to see how Gar Wood handled it.

"Perhaps you will be surprised when I tell you that the oil which carried Miss America X to victory, and the oil which we use in all the tests, is one which can be bought at practically every service station throughout the country," said Orlin.

"I think the boating public will be very much interested to hear that." I put in—"What is the make of oil ?"

"Texaco marine motor oil K is the winning oil, and we buy it from our local service station. It has worked out so well for the Americas that we are passing it along to owners of our stock boats.

"For that matter, now that you've started me on the subject of lubrication, we are pretty well sold on all the Texaco products out here. There are six different ones used in the "Tenth" alone. Everything from water pump grease to chassis lubricant and Marfak grease is in her. The special racing fuel which we use is also prepared for us by The Texas Company. You see, they've done a good deal of development work along these lines, and really know what modern racing engines need."

While we were talking a group of mechanics had jockeyed Miss America over beneath the electric hoist. Huge slings were put under her middle and the foreman gave the signal to lift. Slowly she came up out of her native element. What an awesome, she-devil sort of a craft. She hung there, her sides glistening in the noonday sun, and the water sliding off her glassy bottom. The power of seven thousand horses lay confined in the brief space of thirty-eight feet!

Her brilliant silver colored propeller shafts and wheels drew all eyes. The shafts seemed only the size of curtain rods. They were only an inch and five-eights in diameter, just a little bit larger than those usually seen on most pleasure boats. One of the newspaper boys, after eyeing them for five minutes piped up:

"How come those little spindles can hold sixty-five hundred horsepower?"

"Those shafts are made of Monel Metal," said Orlin Johnson, who was standing alongside. "We put this stock on test beforehand, and found that those ‘spindles’ as you call them, have a breaking strength of about 110,000 pounds per square inch. Well, we will never use all that. Even at 7,600 revolutions a minute, which is what we turn these wheels, this still gives us an ample safety factor. This new metal is so much stronger than what we used to use that we not only use it here, but on our propellers, too. It is made by the International Nickel Company, and is perfect for boat use."

Mechanics, by this time, were in the America, changing the spark plugs. Every time this brute runs she eats up 96 spark plugs. There is no metal made that can withstand the terrific heat of these motors for long. Yet I learned that the standard Champion spark plug does the best job of any, and lasts longest. After hearing this, and seeing the fine shape that the plugs were in when taken from the motors, I could understand well enough, why all of Gar Wood's stock boats carried Champion plugs. There's nothing like experience, is there?

Speaking of propellers, I saw Ted Meyer of the Federal-Mogul Company, and, as his concern had been responsible for making the Miss America wheels, I wanted to get some information from him.

"Just how do these wheels differ from the stock propellers now on the market?" I asked him.

"Working with Gar Wood," he said, "we constructed some propellers of slightly different design than is usually found. We were able to make centrifugal force apply so as to partially neutralize the thrust upon the propeller blades. This meant that all the energy was being expended in driving the boat ahead, and not coming out in a twisting motion. The results were most satisfying in speed and performance.

"We've since built many of these Equi-Poise wheels, as we call them, and they have been raced on various classes now for a period of several years."

"We're using one on the new 16 foot Speedster," said Ed Hancock, who came up at this point. "It gives us about one mile an hour more speed than we get with the standard propeller wheel."

"Say, I want to see that boat. I've been hearing a lot about it. But before going into the shop there is just one question that I want to ask Gar."

Like hundreds of other boat lovers I had gone to the little town of Marysville, Michigan, to see the Miss Americas, and learn something about the man who owns and drives the fastest boats in the world. I had followed his spectacular racing career for the past fifteen years, and seen speeds of motor boats increase from a mile a minute to more than two miles a minute, and knew something of the part that Gar Wood had played in the whole development. But there was one question I wanted to ask him:

"How did you happen to get into the motor boat business?" I asked Gar Wood as we stood looking over his new quarter million dollar boat factory.

He smiled in that wistful way that he has.

"Do you know—the day that we won our first race with the Miss America I, back in 1920, no less than four separate individuals came to me, and wanted me to build them boats like ours.

"That was the beginning of our boat business, you might say. From that point it has grown and branched out so that we now have a modern factory worth a quarter of a million dollars, and our own facilities for turning out the highest type of motor boats that can be built today. They are, in a true sense, offshoots of the famous Miss Americas, and the knowledge gained in our building of race boats, has stood us in excellent stead in building fast motor boats."

"As near as I can figure it out then," I said, "this business seems to have been founded on experience. Others came to you to take advantage of your experience in building boats."

And if there was one keynote to the whole Gar Wood organization, one fact around which the whole business seems to be built, I would say it was EXPERIENCE. Wherever I turned I saw things that were new and different to me. When I asked about them — tried to find out the why and wherefore, I invariably found that this was so, or those things were being used, because after testing or trying others out — this performed best. Some of the kinks or ideas came directly from the Miss Americas. Some came straight from the clear brain of Gar Wood himself. Some from the men who live with these boats. And many more from the tests and trials of the boats themselves. When one part of the craft didn't live up to expectations, it became a quest to find the perfect fitting for it. Everything that goes into the stock Gar Wood boats is there, I found, because it does the best job — regardless of cost.

Starting at the south end of the boat plant, which was some six hundred feet from end to end, we saw every phase of the building of a Gar Wood boat. The very first thing that drew my attention was the stout construction of the boats. The quality of the woods used — the oak, African Mahogany, airplane spruce, and apitong. Each of the woods has certain uses for which it is ideally suited. I myself had never heard of apitong until I visited the Marysville plant. It is a wood harder than oak, but impervious to rot, and is obtainable in greater lengths with straight grain.

Hence its use in the frames of these boats, where strength is essential.

Looking at the fastenings which are used in Gar Wood boats, I was amazed at the predominance of Everdur. This relatively new metal made by the American Brass Company has some remarkable qualities which make it ideal for boats. Its strength is over twice that of a brass screw or bolt of the same size, yet it withstands any and all corrosive action. The number of screws alone that go into one 28 foot runabout is amazing. Would you believe that 10,346 separate Holtite screws are used in fastening just one hull together?

This particular brand of screw, made by the Continental Screw Company of New Bedford, is used on the Miss Americas as well as the stock boats, because of its remarkable holding qualities. When you think of the strain a boat is up against, though, you like to see this stout construction.

We watched one of these boats being framed and I learned that in the frames alone there are several hundred Everdur carriage bolts which are all supplied by W. L. Gundry of Boston. Compare the strength of these frames with the old fashioned method of building them, and one can understand how Gar Wood boats take the terrific punishment that they do. Ed Hancock told me that Everdur was first discovered for the Miss America, and then passed along to the stock boats.

We walked slowly down the aisles between the boats which were taking shape. I couldn't help but notice the labor saving devices on all sides. From the overhead trolley system which comprised electric hoists and cars for carrying the hulls anywhere around the plant—to the electric power tools for almost every operation. I couldn't help but contrast these with the methods of hand building of ten years ago. What strides Gar Wood had made over the old fashioned ways.

A man with a power drill in his hand before us was a perfect example. He was drilling the screw holes and countersinks in the side planking of a 22 foot runabout. He probably made fifty holes per minute, each one perfectly drilled and countersunk to the proper depth. I saw he was using National Twist drills, and could well understand why.

Just behind him a man was inserting the Everdur screws by hand in the holes already made. Behind him was another man with an electric screw driver setting each one of the screws. How smoothly they worked, and yet how quickly they moved down the side of the hull.

After the screws had been driven home, along came a man with a box of mahogany plugs. His job was to dip a plug in marine glue and insert it in the hole covering up the screw. Of course he had to match the grains perfectly, yet he moved so swiftly it was a delight to watch him.

We stopped near a workman who was busy cutting something from large sheets of plywood. At the bandsaw he just held his wood against the saw and turned out the most intricate forms in no time at all. I asked the foreman what he was doing.

"We have come to use plywood more and more in the construction of Gar Wood boats," said he. "First of all, it's so strong, and secondly because it's so easy to handle. This man here is cutting out the complete seat backs for the 25 foot runabout, all in one operation. The piece of wood is now ready for the paint shop, then the upholstery department. When we built these up, it took twice as long, and the finished product wasn't anywhere near as strong. The U. S. Plywood Company supply all our plywood to us, and I can truthfully say that this wood is one of the greatest assets a boatbuilder can have today."

Somebody called us to the windows, which face on the St. Clair River—just a few rods away. Three of the new 22 footers were being tested together. They made a beautiful sight as they sailed down the river at something over 38 miles an hour.

"Why is it that the modern high speed runabout never leaks?" I asked Nap Lisee, designer of the Miss Americas, and all the stock Gar Wood boats. "Remember the way the old round bottom boats of our boyhood used to leak?"

"The secret is in the bottom construction," said he. "Today we build a double bottom with a layer of heavy canvas between. In the old days we relied on single bottoms, and there was just no way in the world of keeping the water from forcing its way in between the planks. Today we make the equivalent of a plywood bottom—two thicknesses of wood, running in different directions, with canvas and four coats of heavy paint in between.

"One of our 28 footers carries over 200 square feet of heavy canvas impregnated with marine paint in the bottom alone. The J. C. Goss Company of Detroit supplies this canvas to us along with all the other canvas required on the boats, such as mooring covers, decks on the cruisers, etc.

I was very much interested in this bottom construction because I knew that it was taken directly from the Miss Americas. I had to go back to where a workman was covering both sides of the inside bottom planks. He was using the special Lionoil marine gray paint that Berry Bros. had created for Gar Wood boats. After these planks were fastened, the canvas was tightly stretched over them, but not until the canvas itself was thickly laid with paint. Then as the last or outside planking went on, it was heavily covered with paint, so that by the time the Gar Wood double bottom was finally built up there were the four coats.

In going farther down the production line I noticed this same resistive paint being used on the interiors of all the boats. 'When the boats left the factory there wasn't a square inch of wood that was left unprotected. Surely it was easy to understand why the boats built fifteen years ago by Gar Wood are still going strong today.

When we reached the varnish rooms I wanted to stop and get Ed Hancock to explain to me how Gar Wood gets the marvelous satin finishes that they put on the boats. To me these boats have always carried the most beautiful finishes of any craft afloat.

"They not only look well, but they stand up," said Ed, "because we do three things. First, we use the best lumber we can buy, and second, we get the best varnish we can find, and lastly, we put it on carefully, under ideal conditions. This is an almost unbeatable combination.

"The African mahogany that the Scranton Lumber Company of Detroit ships in here is just about the finest, most evenly selected that we have ever used in building boats. It is matched for color, and of course its moisture content is exactly what we specify in our requirements. This is a big start toward that piano-like finish which you speak about.

"After the hull is planed, scraped and sanded, we fill the wood with International Paint Company's filler. We use their standard dark mahogany color, and carefully seal that filler in before we ever touch a varnish brush to the hull. We've had excellent results with this particular product. An automatic temperature device keeps the varnish rooms at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In the dust-proof enclosures the men go to work. A coat of varnish is flowed on. After drying twenty-four hours, it is sanded and the next coat goes on. So the process continues day after day until as many as eight coats have been applied to the decks of the 28 footers, for example. Then comes the hand-rubbing process which gives the boats the particular gloss of which you speak. First, with pumice stone and oil, then with rotten stone and oil the workmen go over the entire deck. After several hours of rubbing by hand you have that incomparable satiny finish which all Gar Wood boats carry when they leave the factory.

"So you see it's not one, but a great many things which contribute to the final appearance of these boats. Wood, varnish, knowledge, time and then intelligent labor."

"You haven't told me the kind of varnish, Ed, that you use on your Gar Wood boats, but I presume it's the best money can buy. I've been driving a 28-40 Gar Wood runabout for six years and I know something about the way the finish stands up.

"I'd say the varnish responsible for these beautiful finishes was one made by Edward Smith & Co. And it probably will be "Aquatite." I remember Gar Wood used Aquatite on Miss America where the varnish had to stand up due to the terrific friction caused by her sensational speed."

For an answer Ed Hancock walked over to the stock room and came out holding aloft a gallon can of Edward Smith & Company's spar varnish—Aquatite to be exact.

"There is none better, George," said he, "and we've tried them all."

Perhaps the thing that I was most interested in was the power plants of the Gar Wood boats. What motors would be used by the man who could get more power from a given piece of metal than any other? I wanted to see what a master mechanic would use in the construction of his own boats.

I asked Orlin Johnson about the situation.

"There are probably twenty makes of engines on the market," said he, "and we've tried every one of them. We've tested them all in our own boats. Right now for the job we have to do, we use mostly Chrysler and Scripps. Of course we make our Liberty conversions for the big boats, but between seventy horse power and three hundred these motors do a wonderful job."

"You know," said Orlin, "we're long on experience here. We believe that there is nothing like experience to prove anything. Scripps and Chrysler motors probably have a better record of performance behind them than any other stock motors on the market today. And when a customer buys a Gar Wood boat he is entitled to as perfect a piece of machinery in the engine room as modern science can give him."

We watched one of the Chrysler Crowns being installed in a 22 foot runabout.

"I'm told that in 1934 alone some 40,000,000 horsepower were built by this organization," said Ed Hancock. "You get what I mean about experience? They must be good."

We came upon the new 16 foot Speedster at this point, and it immediately took my eye. Here was as appealing a craft for the youngster or the racing fan, as you would want to see. Just seats for two aft, with motor ahead, and driving it gives all the thrills of a full-fledged racer. As a matter of fact its speed of 38 to 40 miles per hour makes it a real contender in any race. The Scripps V-8 motor also has the advantage of making it eligible in the 225 cu. in. class. I predict that there'll be a great many of these new boats on the waterways of the country next season.

In the far corner of the machine shop we saw a most remarkable machine. It puts the curves in the large copper exhaust pipes as they come from the foundry. It takes a bright piece of three inch seamless copper pipe, and forms it into several smooth flowing curves, just exactly as the blueprint calls for. I watched what had been merely a piece of fine copper pipe, made by the Mueller Brass Company come out a perfect exhaust ready to buckle onto the waiting engine. I saw too, some rather startling tests showing the twisting and bending this Mueller copper would go through without breaking. Surely this material is ideally suited for motor boats where the stresses and strains are so great.

I learned also that the bronze propeller shafts on the runabouts up to 25 feet were made by this same company.

One of the most interesting parts of the factory to me was the polishing and grinding rooms where the rough metal castings of all the hardware and fittings were finished up for use in the boats. A truck load of rough struts and rudders had just come in from the Algonac Foundry. These were of manganese bronze and certainly as nice a looking lot of castings as I've seen in a long time. The metal of which this particular batch was poured has a tensile strength of between 70,000 and 80,000 pounds per square inch. It will bend double before it will break. I learned too that this same foundry had made the struts on Miss America X.

On a nearby bench lay a long line of cleats, chocks and other deck hardware. These were mostly of nickel silver, and had been buffed up and were ready to go out for plating. The Harris-Beasley Company does practically all of the chromium plating on these items, because of the fine quality work they turn out. I learned while here that there are all kinds of chromium plating on the market today. Some of it won't last in salt water for even a month. It all depends on how the preliminary coats are put on. This particular company has built up its reputation on marine work, which of course is much more exacting than automobile requirements.

'Wherever I looked on the boats I could see that the latest safety and preventive devices had been installed. From the special engine room ventilating louvres and pipes into the bilge, to the Pyrene fire extinguisher mounted by the driver's seat, not a detail was overlooked.

One thing that particularly appealed to me was the non-shatterable windshields by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. Ordinarily, one would not see why it would be necessary to install unbreakable glass in a boat windshield. I asked Mr. Hancock about this.

"Several years ago we had two cases of people breaking their windshields in one summer," said he. "When we learned about them, we decided that we could eliminate this danger by using non-shatterable glass. So, the next year Pittsburgh became standard equipment on all our runabouts.

I examined the neat aft folding windshields that the 28 and 33 foot runabouts carried. These, too were non-shatterable and beautifully designed. They were big husky chromium plated affairs, which actually covered the occupants and afforded some protection. I found that they are specially constructed for Gar Wood by the Amesbury Seat Company, specialists in building marine hardware of this nature. Studying over the construction of these windshields they looked like a real boon to those folks who have to do "rumble seat" riding.

Speaking of seats, did you ever see an upholsterer making a set of cushions for a boat? I never had until I saw it being down at Marysville. If all the lumber, springs, burlap, twine, wadding, buttons, cotton, sheeting, moss and leather that goes into just one set of cushions were stacked in a pile, really it would amaze you. This material comes from Fay-McKinnon Company, one of the oldest houses in Detroit dealing in upholstery supplies.

The Gar Wood cushions are upholstered in much the same manner as automobile seats, only more heavily constructed, for the different shocks they must meet. We watched for a moment while the craftsmen mounted first the coils on the wooden seat frames. Then they covered them with burlap, and tied the whole into a unit. Wadding and moss were next cunningly fitted around the springs to make a smooth and rounded surface at every point. Sheeting held this firmly in place before the real leather was stretched over the whole. Copper tacks fastened the edges, leather piping went over these edges, and in a short time a perfect cushion came off the forms. It looked simple, but they told me that these men had devoted a lifetime to this work.

I picked up one of the hides which were being made into cushions. It was a beautiful piece of leather.

"This is a special finished leather that the Eagle-Ottawa Company has worked out for marine use," said Ed Hancock. "It is heavier than ordinary upholstery leather because of the extra strain that leather has in a boat. Spike heels stepping on it, salt water hitting it, and many times standing on it, sun's rays piercing down on it—these are some of the unusual things that leather in a boat must take every day of its life. For this reason we use only real leather on all Gar Wood boats, as it is the only thing we have found that will stand up. And we've tried all the substitutes, too."

1 was tickled to have the opportunity of trying out one of the new 22 footers, completely redesigned this year, and carrying the big 125 H.P. Chrysler motor. It leveled out on the water, and seemed to throw no spray whatsoever. It rode so smoothly, and without that continual pounding which I have come to expect in the faster boats, that I couldn't help remarking about it to one of the men when I got back to the factory.

He explained part of it as resulting from the spring suspension used in the seat cushions. Beneath the attractive leather covering were several dozen specially built box springs, constructed by the Motor City Spring Company. They were unusual shaped springs, unlike any I had ever seen. They were designed with the special problem in mind of ironing out the series of jars or jolts that the high speed boat gets when hitting the waves. They provided a support for you which was unique in my experience. I believe that this is a most important factor in any boat, and one which is generally overlooked. I understood afterward that this particular company has been specializing in boat springs for some twelve years. Again we see experience popping out.

Just a little thing, probably in the opinion of most but I was pleased to see the attractive yet useful stern flagpole and electric light assembly that the Gar Wood boats carried.

For many years I've seen yachtsmen fumbling with wires and plugs on the lower end of this pole. Every time you wanted to take out the flag pole for aquaplaning or something, you had to unplug the socket, and then invariably the loose wires dropped back down the hole out of sight. A fishing expedition generally ensued then until the wandering wires were brought up again. This new device, made by the Perkins Marine Lamp Company, consists of two prongs in the bottom of the pole, which set into a deck socket. That's all there is to it, and there is a drain in the fitting so that moisture collecting when the pole is not in use, will run off and not cause a short circuit.

There's one part of a motor boat that I'll bet no one ever even thinks about, and yet it's perhaps one of the most important things in the craft.

I'm referring to the gasoline tank, which rests unobtrusively under the stern deck with only a filler cap above to tell that it is there. We take it for granted. But did you ever think of the strain that this tank takes when filled with three or four hundred pounds of gasoline? Every wave the boat hits tries to break open this tank.

If the tank is stoutly constructed of heavy material, properly seamed, soldered and fastened there is little chance of it ever giving way. This is why Gar Wood uses Brummeler made tanks on all his boats. They are built right out of Terne Plate, one of the best metals ever devised for making gasoline tanks.

As we came to the end of the long factory a man came up bearing a heavy coil of manila rope, neatly spliced to an anchor on one end. The rope was so stout that I couldn't help noticing it.

It's Blue Heart Manila made by the Hooven and Allison Company," said Mr. Hancock. "It's about the toughest and finest line that we can buy. Anchors get pretty rough treatment, you know, and if your line lets go, you've lost a good anchor. Then, too, most folks don't let their line dry out after using, and when put away damp it rots quickly. So it has to be real rope to stand up in boat use."

We had completed our tour and it came time for us to leave. It was with a real feeling of regret that we bade good-bye to our hosts. I, for one, felt that I had experienced a real treat in being allowed the privilege of seeing so much that the average person never gets to know about such an outstanding figure in the world of sport. The things that I had seen in this new boat factory truly left me wide-eyed. But then they say we never really know a thing until we see it, at first hand, ourselves.

We climbed into the car and as we started reluctantly homeward I noticed a fleet of five Gar Wood runabouts coming down the river. The road leads along the banks of the St. Clair for some miles, and until we turned inland this fitting gesture of Gar Wood's friendship remained with us.

(Advertisement reprinted from Motor Boating, February 1935)