17’ Barbour wood boat 1958

speedboat water ski boat

 

This very nice Evinrude powered classic is what Seabuddy images when he thinks of a Barbour boat. Crafted in wood, mostly outboard powered, and under 25’ in length. Some inboards were in production, but they do not seem to have been collected / restored anywhere near as much as an outboard powered model. I also think of Barbour as a company of the 1950s-1960s, sort of near or at the end of the wooden runabouts era.

But, I would be wrong. This North Carolina boat company goes back to the early 1930s and it closed in the mid-1990s. World War II changed from a small builder to a large one with up to 1,200 workers. War contract work did it. Towards the end of the company’s business history, they built and serviced some of the ferries for the state of North Carolina’s ferry system. These were made of steel.

In wood, Barbour made runabouts and small cruisers for recreational boaters. The metal boats were the aforementioned ferries, tugs, research vessels, fire boats, troop transport vessels, fishing boats, and barges. Some of these were big boats. They made a 155’ tanker and 56’, 63’, 82’, 95’, and 100’ boats. Much of this steel production work started in a big way in 1957. It was the re-invention of the company that Herbert Barbour founded in 1932.

outboard wood boat

I like these restored wood runabouts, as Seabuddy’s first water ski boat was a wood one ( a made in NJ brand named Sea Mac) with a 40 HP Evinrude outboard. That boat got re-powered up to an 85 HP Mercury. I was a teen and that boat was my freedom before I got an car driver’s license at the age of 17 in NJ. I had taken the Coast Guard Aux course before the age of 10. I have boated a long time.

dash wood runabout ski boat

One Response to “17’ Barbour wood boat 1958”

  • Linda Holland:

    We found this now beauty under cover at a neighboring home in the historic district of New Bern. Just a couple of blocks from where she was built. It was this owners 3rd boat. Many locals remember many hot summers on the Neuse River water skiing behind this and many similar boats manufactured right here in New Bern at the Barbour Boat Works plant. There aren’t too many of them around, but when we are out she always turns a head or two.

Leave a Reply