Perseverance Pays Off
June 26, 2018
Like most collectors my eyes are always peeled for a forgotten, hidden gem. For me those are the best finds. For many years I drove past a 17’ Higgins Sportster tucked in a barn on an old Gainesville family’s property visible only in the winter when the vines covering the fence had died back. The owner was a friend of my father-in-law and that opened the door for conversation about the boat. “Jack, how about selling me that boat”?—“Nope, I’m going to fix it up someday”. How many times have I heard that statement!
Jack’s health was slowly deteriorating, and I knew the boat would continue to sit. Every time I would see Jack I’d ask the same question, and I got the same reply. That went on for over 20 years. About 3 years ago I ran into him and his wife in a restaurant and again the question was asked. Jack looked at me and said, “George, I’m not going to sell you the boat,—-I’m going to give it to you”! His wife looked at me and said, “You’d better get over there and get it quickly before he changes his mind”, and I did that afternoon.
We estimate it is a 1948 model with a Chrysler Ace engine. The boat has a curved dash and was originally purchased by another old time Gainesville of whom the son Tom is a friend of mine. When I contacted Tom about the boat Tom told me his dad ordered it from Higgins and drove to New Orleans to pick it up. It is now at my shop awaiting a restoration after I finish my 17’ Chris Craft Sportsman.