Each of the items in the Mikkelson Collection was acquired in different ways. Some of the items were in original, unrestored condition while others were in need of significant restoration and renovation. To give you a feel of the time and effort (to say nothing of the expense) of a complete restoration, following is the process I followed to locate and restore one of the showpieces of the collection, the 1942 21' Deluxe Split-Cockpit Inboard Falls Flyer.
The inboard Falls Flyers were originally built as testing platforms for a line of outboard Falls Flyers planned by the Larson Boat Works and Paul Larson. I had known that there was at least one of these boats, the 1942 Inboard Split Cockpit, was known to have been built. It had been referred to in some of the early Larson advertisements. For a look into the early advertising that let me to know that this flyer actually existed, click on the link Early Flyer Advertising.
Early in 1990 I finally got a line on the Dream Flyer, as I had come to think of this boat. Through a long and rather convoluted process, I did finally acquire this special boat. For more on that story, click on the "Dream Flyer" link.
One thing about pictures of boats that a website user has to remember is that they almost always look better photos than in real life. There is something about the fit and finish of a quality boat that you can't see in a photograph, especially a snap-shot. Although this boat doesn't really look that bad in the photo, in reality it was a real mess. Although rather rougher than I would have liked, this was the right boat, at the right time, with enough of the right pieces still attached to allow for a completed restoration to be undertaken. This would be a long process with many, many surprises along the way. Below is a selected photo gallery featuring pictures of the process as it progressed. Take a few minutes to see just how so much came from so little.
From the photo gallery above, you can see the start to finish process of the actual boat restoration. For the Mikkelson Collection, however, that is only the part of the process. Researching the history of the boat and its life is also a painstakingly slow process, but one that is equally important to the overall documentation of the boat and its provenance.
Every boat has a history. Some are easy to track, and others are more difficult. This '42 Falls Flyer was in many ways such an unusual boat that people tended to remember it. Too, it is rather immediately identifiable from any photo it was so unusual.
We hope that if you have followed us to this point, you have enjoyed a look at just what is interesting and fascinating about collecting and restoring old boats. Although this '42 Deluxe Falls Flyer Split Cockpit Inboard is a special boat in the Collection, almost every item in the museum has a story and history. Some of the stories we know better than others, so be sure to ask Paul on your next visit to the Mikkelson Collection, Inc.