The Baby Bootlegger is a Vintage Speed Boat of Epic Proportions
This weekend, may of you patriotic folks will be taking to the oceans, rivers and lakes to use any number of watercraft. Sure, the greater public will be at cookouts on terra firma, but true leisure seekers know that there is no better way to spend the holiday than to enjoy it from the water. And if there is one boat that screams “America” more than anything else, it’s the “Baby Bootlegger.”
Don’t let the name fool you, the Baby Bootlegger is not for smuggling babies. It is more of a smaller take on the classic bootlegger boat design, and it makes for quite the striking aquatic conveyance. It was built in 1924 for Wall Street banker Caleb Craig, who had boatmaker George Crouch design and construct it.
The Baby Bootlegger originally featured a Lycoming V12 aircraft engine. That engine was replaced with a water-cooled Hispano-Suizo V8 making around 300 horsepower. The engine sits right in the middle of the boat, for optimal weight placement at speed, and the driver and one passenger sits behind the engine. There is a second set of seats fore of the engine bay.
This incredible ride sat in a junkyard in Miami for 25 years. The owner of the junkyard owner couldn’t bring himself to demolish it and left it sitting under a tarp. It was restored in 1982 where it won many prestigious historical boat awards.
The awards for the restored beauty are fitting- in its day, the original owner Caleb Bragg raced it in 1924 and 1925, winning the APBA Gold Cup both years. And it continues to have the look of a world class speed boat today.