2014 Antique Wooden Boat / Porsche Show
April 12, 2014
By John Budinich
Photographs by Peter Wrenn and Rick Mastracci
Breakfast in Anderson
Breakfast in Anderson

As Porsche owners, we appreciate classic lines, timeless design and exceptional engineering. With this in mind, it was a natural fit for members of PCA to join members of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society for the 3rd annual combination Antique Wooden Boat & Porsche show. The show took place on April 12 at Hartwell Marina in Hartwell, Ga.

Lake Hartwell is a man-made lake, covering 56,000 acres with 962 miles of shoreline in South Carolina and Georgia. It is one of the biggest and most popular lakes in the southeast. The Antique Wooden Boat show has been one of the major events on the boat show circuit since 1993. This was the third year that members of the Carolinas and Peachstate Regions of PCA were invited to participate. The main event was held on Saturday, and started early as PCA members from across North and South Carolina gathered for breakfast in Anderson, South Carolina. We then drove along some interesting two-lane roads of western South Carolina and around the eastern edge of Lake Hartwell in Georgia. It was a great way to get the "Porsche" juices flowing for the big day ahead.

Staging at Belk in Hartwell
Staging at Belk in Hartwell
Lining up for Parade to Marina
Lining up for Parade to Marina
Parade into Marina
Parade into Marina
We met other members of the Carolinas and Peachstate Regions of PCA in the Belk shopping center parking lot, two miles from the marina. Members from as far away as Greensboro, Charlotte & Asheville North Carolina, Athens & Atlanta Georgia, and Columbia, Spartanburg and Greenville South Carolina made the drive to participate in the celebration. We even had one member drive down from Galax, VA. While the PCA group was gathering, Hartwell marina became the home for 40+ antique and classic boats from Chris Craft, Gar Wood, Arista Craft and other manufacturers. At 9:30 am, the Porsche group formed up for the drive to the marina. The show organizers arranged for a police escort down the main road in Hartwell, through the town square and into the marina. It's not often you get to see and hear 40+ Porsches roaring down a two lane road with a police escort. Many thanks go out to the Hartwell Police for their assistance in keeping the parade together. At 10:00 am, the show officially opened to the public. The Porsches were arranged in front of the marina building for the "land" portion of the "land and sea" display.

Porsche Display - Who Doesn't Like a Red Porsche
Porsche Display - Who Doesn't Like a Red Porsche
PCA Members Taking Boat Rides
PCA Members Taking Boat Rides

Over the course of the day, there were the Antique and Classic boats to view, Porsches of all years and models to check out, two vintage restored Airstream trailers on display and PCA members and boat owners to meet. Other activities included a youth cardboard model "Float-a-Boat" challenge, youth judging of antique boats, radio-controlled boats for kids of all ages to test their watercraft skills (provided by Southeast Modelers), food vendors to sample and boat rides on the lake. Due to some confusion, the marina operators were not able to provide the pontoon boats for PCA members as they did last year. That being said, PCA members were offered rides on a number of the antique & classic boats in the show. The boat's owners showed members how well the boats performed and provided an opportunity to step back in time on boats from the teens through the 50's. There was even a boat cruising the lake that was built in 1903. When not on the water or on the docks answering questions, many of the boat owners were in the display area in front of the marina examining the Porsches and asking owners about their vehicles. While not quite as old as the boats in the show, Porsche was well represented with 42 examples of the marque ranging in years from the 1960’s through 2014. Almost all models of Porsches were represented and we heard lots of positive comments from the boat owners and show attendees, whether they were talking about one of the 914s, 911s, 944s, Caymans, Boxsters, Panameras or Cayennes on display.

Crowd at the Porsche Display
Crowd at the Porsche Display
Miss America IX
Miss America IX

Now let’s talk about some of the "Stars of the Show". From the boat side, once again the "Miss America IX" was on display and plying the waters of Lake Hartwell. This mahogany Gar Wood boat was built in 1930 and was the first boat to break the 100 mph barrier - in 1931! The boat was built and driven by Gar (Garfield) Wood himself, over a measured mile course in two directions. Current owner Charles Mistele, who has owned the boat for 44 years, explained how the record was set using two experimental twelve-cylinder Packard engines making a total of 2200 hp. The boat now sports two GM motors making a total of 1100 hp, because the Packard engines were appropriated by the US Government and used as prototypes for the PT boats in World War II. Those motors were not returned after the war but the boat is still very fast to this day, capable of hitting triple-digit speeds. When Charles started it up and took it out on the lake, the sound could be heard and felt throughout the marina.

Woodwork on Holiday 25
Woodwork on Holiday 25

Another beautiful example of fine craftsmanship was the Holiday 25 on display. This boat displayed exceptional woodwork, including the compound curves present in the roofline of the all-wood cabin. It also had multiple inlays of various colored woods in the main cabin area and on the table in the aft section of the boat. I cannot imagine the number of man-hours it took to assemble this stunning craft.

From the Porsche side, every one of the vehicles in attendance was special. Charlie Grant led the group into the marina in his nicely restored red 911 Carrera. Charlie owns a restoration shop in the Hartwell area. Bill Suite, out of Galax, VA, made the trip again for the second year running in his 911 Turbo. Mark Feightner made the trip from Asheville in his recently finished 914. The GT3s, Turbos, Boxsters and Caymans on hand, drew many positive comments for their sleek lines that mirrored some of the lines of the boats on-hand. I would like to personally thank all of the Carolinas and Peachstate members for bringing their Porsches out to the show and answering all the questions the attendees had about the cars.

Chris Craft Display with all the Extras
Chris Craft Display with all the Extras

All in all, the event was another great success from both the boat club and PCA perspective. The weather was perfect and Mother Nature even cooperated by providing enough rain in the months prior to the event to ensure lake levels were full and the boats could "strut their stuff". The Porsches and boats were a perfect combination and as I said in the opening of this article, both appealed to the same basic interests. Almost every PCA member in attendance said they would be returning for next year's event and they would be spreading the word to other members. The officers of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society feel the combination of their boats and our Porsches are a perfect mix. They have asked us to make this event a permanent addition to our calendar.

If you are in the area of Hartwell, Georgia next April, look for this multi-region event on the Carolinas Region, Peachstate Region and Zone 3 calendars. The combination of engineering excellence, graceful lines and timeless design applies equally well to the Antique and Classic boats and to our beloved Porsches. Additional photos from this event can be found on the Carolina's Region website at www.carolinas-pca.com.

Until next year, keep the shiny side up and smooth sailing...