Written By: Sam Andrews
Car Donation Wizard proudly processes thousands of donated cars each month, but did you know that we also handle boat donations?
This particular donated boat is something quite special that we don’t see often, but wanted to showcase for you. It’s a 1958 Lyman 16 1/2 foot Runabout Wood boat. In addition to being an old, hand-built wood boat, the donor also lovingly restored the boat prior to donating it. A double treat!
Lyman was a boat maker founded in 1875 in Ohio by the Lyman brothers, Bernard and Herman. They made boats for the powerful waters of Lakes Erie. In 1988, years after having switch to production of mainly fiberglass boats, the owners reached out to a longtime fan of the original wood boats, Tom Koroknay, and eventually sold the company and all artifacts and blueprints remaining to him. Mr. Koroknay now operates a boatyard partially named ‘Lyman’ in Lexington, Ohio. Today the Lyman Brothers are considered historically important wood boat makers.
American wood boat culture has thrived around the Great Lakes for over a century. It was in Michigan that now-famous boat maker Chris-Craft started, and other notable names, like Garwood, Hutchinson, Century, and Elco also started in the Great Lakes region. It became an American tradition.
Reportedly, Lyman made only about 2,700 Runabouts. The donor acquired this boat in 2008 and then proceeded with a thorough restoration until completion in 2009. It is rare to find one with such a careful and tasteful restoration. The boat is almost entirely original, with the exception of a few things like the outboard motor and some upgrades like the seat cushions. The donor also mentioned the boat was featured in the July 2011 issue of Wooden Boat magazine and was shown at several shows.
This 1958 Lyman is a classic runabout model with an outboard engine. ‘Outboard’ boats have separate motors that can easily be removed for cleaning or replacement. This boat is 16 ½ feet long. ‘Runabout’ refers to a general style of small open boat for short-distance cruising in small lakes, bays and channels. Typical runabouts hold four to eight people. This Lyman has at least two rows of cushioned seating. It features a painted white wood hull, finished wood deck, interior, and window frame.
Given that Lyman switched to fiberglass hulls in the 1970s, this 1958 Lyman could be among the last all-wood models they produced. Wood boats are still made today for purists, but as the saying goes, it’s still not the same. This has increased the value of small wood boats made in the heyday of wood boat making, from the 1900s to the 1930s before fiberglass hulls took over in the late ‘50s and ‘60s.
This generously donated 1958 Lyman is a wonderful reminder of those old wood boat days. The proceeds went to the donor’s Car Talk public radio station of choice.