1947 Gar Wood 19’6” Deluxe Runabout “Commodore”

1947 Gar Wood 19’6” Deluxe Runabout “Commodore”


1947 Gar Wood 19’6’’ Deluxe Runabout “Commodore”

The Commodore was regarded as one of the most beautiful double cockpit runabouts of its time, and arguably of all time. In 1945 as World War II wound down to its final campaigns the new management of Gar Wood Industries decides to restyle their boat line with a completely new look. The new designs were superb and worthy of the great Gar Wood tradition.

This very rare 1947 Gar Wood 19’6″ Deluxe Runabout Commodore is hull number 9016. Only 84 of the 19′ 6″ Commodores were ever produced and only a few are still around today. In April of 1947 the boat division of Gar Wood Industries was permanently closed. Hull 9016 was one of the very last Gar Wood 19’6’’ runabouts built.

The original owner was unknown, but he upgraded the powerplant with a 1951 Cadillac 331 engine. In the early 1950’s, Joe Balcao and Eddie Santo purchased the boat for $1,800 primarily because it was considered the fastest of its time. Subsequent to the Balcao/Santos purchase, the engine was highly modified by Joseph Bianchini of Bianchini Engines in Stockton, CA where he bored the engine to 365 cubic inches, balanced the crankshaft, installed “Detroit Racing” intake manifold with dual carburetors and chrome deck intake, a racing camshaft with roller rockers, a second remote oil pump and cooler, high compression pistons, dual exhausts, and a electric fuel pump. In the 1960’s, Santos sold his share of the Gar Wood to Balcao for $600. The Gar Wood was placed in storage in a Stockton warehouse and unused from the 60’s to August of 2011 when the current seller purchased the boat from Balcao.

From 2011 to the fall of 2012, the current seller invested over $187,000 in a complete restoration done by Sierra Boat Company. A failing fiberglass bottom was replaced by a no soak membrane bottom. The side planks and deck were restored and hardware re-chromed. The engine was rebuilt consistent with period Cadillac engines and the racing modifications retained. The throttle was returned to its original steering column location. The interior was completed by Champion Upholstery in Reno, NV which brought the boat back to factory specifications of the two-tone blue and gray colors.

The seller has two extremely detailed binders for the complete boat history and for all service and maintenance records. This boat comes with a custom waterline cover to protect it. It sits on a 1987 Trail-Rite dual axle trailer.

This 1947 Gar Wood “Commodore” won awards at the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance and the ACBS Lake Tahoe International boat shows.

  • Year: 1947
  • Builder: Gar Wood
  • Model: Deluxe Runabout “Commodore”
  • Length: 19’6’’
  • Engine: Modified Cadillac
  • Trailer: 1987 Trail-Rite, dual axle
  • Price: $95,000.00