My wife loves hot rods. Her last project was a 1972 Buick Riviera Boattail. It is beautiful. It is also huge. Some people have referred to it as “A Boat.” My only ‘old car purchase’ has been my ‘49 Ford.
I appreciate repurposing as much as anyone. I love antiques. I appreciate the way old things were made and engineered. How could I ignore a canoe that had been made out of two hoods and a roof from old trucks?
This story starts with a confession.
“My name is Zane and I have a problem with eBay. Some people Netflix and chill. I browse eBay and spend.” There I said it. It is now in the open.
One hot and humid Summer’s day I was sipping my Coke Zero and browsing through eBay. I have a thing for canoes, kayaks, and all things you paddle. There I was looking at used canoes and Wham! I see something I have never seen before, a canoe made from the hoods of two 1949 Ford trucks welded together as a bow and a stern with a center made from what appears to be an old car roof. This is thing is ugly. It is black, dusty, and has some rust. It is dented and very heavy. It is real. It was also in Tennessee and I live in Florida. Then I remembered I was about to go on a family vacation to Western North Carolina. We were headed to my old stomping grounds, The Nantahala Outdoor Center. I was heading up there with my wife and two step-sons for a few days. Could I made a side trip of a 100+ miles or so and pick up this repurposed piece of steel art? I decided I could and I placed a bid. I think it was one of those auctions where you make the best offer. They countered. I caved and it was mine. You know I don’t remember how much I paid. It was a great deal (he told his wife). I would do something creative with it. We would repurpose it into a something really awesome (never happened).
The ‘49 Ford Canoe was mine and I traveled to East Tennessee to pick it up. I brought my Honda Ridgeline pick up truck with the bed extender I use when I carry boats in my truck bed. I also brought tie-downs and a young man with a strong back to help me load it. It was an interesting bit of hide and seek to find the location but we got there and met the seller. He was a nice guy who was selling this “Barn Find” for a relative. It seems his Great Great Uncle loved to go fishing in a rocky whitewater river (the dents verify this story). He had access to a junkyard and a welder and decided to make his own version of Old Ironsides. The boat was put together CIRCA 1953. That is the same year I was put together so I know we (‘49 Ford and I) were destined to be together. We loaded up my newest canoe and eventually got it back home.
This is where my story goes haywire. I thought I would repurpose this boat into something awesome (see above) but instead, I stored it in my barn where it stayed dry and got dustier. What do you think I should do with this heavy unique piece of history? It does float. I put it in Santa Fe Lake two weeks ago and I paddled it around. It definitely floats. I piloted it solo and then with my buddy. It was a breezy afternoon so I stayed close to shore, but I had no problem getting it where I wanted it to go. We enjoyed dressing up to look “Mid-Century” and were delighted that the canoe was leak free. It was fun. Presently it is parked lakeside at my canoe rack waiting to give someone a ride into history.
So dear readers, should I leave it as is, patina intact? Should I refinish it and paint a mermaid on the bow? Should I sell it? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Meanwhile, get out there. Don’t let rocks, heat, or humidity stop you. It is beautiful on the water!