1952 Gibbs 14' Twin Cockpit Runabout - VGC - All Metal 1947 Ford Coupe Rat Rod

1947 Ford Runabout Standard

Technical specifications of Ford Runabout 1947

Price: -
Condition: Used
Item location: West Central Illinois, United States
Make: Ford
Model: Runabout
Type: Twin Cockpit
Trim: Standard
Year: 1947
Mileage: 99,999
Color: Rusty Patina
Engine size: none
Drive type: outboard
Interior color: Pink / Black
Vehicle Title: Salvage
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Car description

Up for sale is a 1952 Gibbs 14' Twin Cockpit Runabout in Very Good Condition. This is a True "Barn-Find" from a farm estate sale that was literally found upside down hanging in the rafters 16 feet off the floor where it had been stored since 1955. It is an All Metal home-built semi flat bottom that started life as the hoods from 2 - 1947 Ford Coupes and can best be described now as a Rat Rod for the Lake. The origins of this creation were conveyed to me by family members and goes like this: In 1952 the builder (credited in the name) who was a WWII Air Force bomber crewman, decided he wanted a speed boat. But seeing as how he was located out in the middle of nowhere Illinois surrounded by nothing but flat corn fields; his choices were limited to say the least. Back then turn-key pleasure boats were just not available and most enthusiasts had to build their own from plans or kits out of wood. Now, also being a farmer and a skilled mechanic who raced motorcycles and dirt cars for fun; the challenge of building his own boat would be easy but wood was out of the question. The plane that got him through the war wasn't made of wood; his motorcycles weren't made of wood; his dirt track cars weren't made out of wood; and they sure didn't build battleships out of wood. So metal it was and he started gathering materials from around the shop and farm.
After the war he had bought a '47 Coupe which was Hot Rodded, raced; and wrecked. He always liked the nose of that car which also inspired this build. He bought a second hood at the scrap yard and clam shelled them together. The main frame is 1 x 2 tubing with 3/4 x 1 ribs, the body is all sheet metal, and true to the times - the seams are lead filled as well. The only wood used was in the transom and for the splash rails on either side. It took about a year to construct and when finished was loaded in the back of the grain truck along with a cooler of beer and it was off to the river they went. The story of that first outing was something to say the least but we'll save that for later. There were several more trips made that summer of '53 as well.
Over the Winter he decided that a really nice interior was what was needed next but it had to match the interior of his Pontiac. That's were the Pink and Geometric Black comes in. Seat frames salvaged again from the '47 were used and custom fit dash panels were fabricated as well. The leaded seams were loosening from all the vibration and so the hull was covered in a new product called "fiberglas". Unfortunately; in the summer of '54, the State of Illinois started registering pleasure boats and requiring other safety equipment as well that the runabout did not have. Then plans for a steering wheel, gauges, and the required lights were made but never completed. The project sat for a year, was then abandoned, and put into storage where it remained for almost 60 years.
Having grown up with pleasure boats and weekend outings to the lake with family and friends; I was intrigued with the find of this one. When I had heard the story; I was infatuated with the undertaking. And when I saw the boat sitting right-side-up with all of it's detail; I was enamored and just had to bring it home. Since then, we have added the period correct Hot Rod trailer and have proudly displayed it at several local shows where it always attracts a curiously amazed crowd. No one has ever seen anything like it before.
Unfortunately; having lost our extra storage space and the spare time to attend shows; it's time to find a new home for this one-of-a-kind piece of workmanship and someone who will love it as much as we do. Comes just as you see it with the exception of the outboard motor which has already sold. Shipping will be at the buyers expense and arrangement or it can be picked up as well. If you have any questions, (most likely several hundred) please ask. Thanks for looking.

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