The Gerry Lo: Billed as the jewel in the crown of this collection, the Gerry Lo was known as the fastest boat on Lake Minnetonka in the 1930s. It was made by Dingle Boatworks of St. Paul for Frank Griswold, who made his first fortune by inventing a spring-loaded traffic signal for streetcar crossings and went on to own several Twin Cities businesses, including the Calhoun Beach Club (then a hotel). Christened, by tradition, after syllables from his two daughters' names, the Gerry Lo is powered by a Rolls Royce engine designed for British tanks. It cost $25,000 at the time, about the equivalent of a custom-made Duesenberg automobile. The Gerry Lo once raced against a small plane flown by Dr. Gig Young (father of the actor of the same name) from Excelsior to Wayzata and the boat beat the plane. Some onlookers speculated that it had all been a publicity stunt to bring visitors back to the then drought-ravaged Lake Minnetonka.
The Baby Gar IV: It was built for Garfield Arthur "Gar" Wood, an inventor and entrepreneur who held several speedboat-racing records. In 1925, Wood raced the Baby Gar IV, outfitted with the same Liberty V12 engine found on World War I fighter planes, against a powerful train, the Twentieth Century Limited, from Albany to New York City on the Hudson River, and won. The three-hour race was broadcast live on the radio -- all publicity for Wood, who went on to sell 67 more Baby Gars to wealthy buyers around the world. At a time when a new house cost less than $2,000, these pretty babies went for an average of $10,000.
The Harriet: Built in 1909 for lumber baron and Walker Art Center namesake Thomas Walker by Moore Boatworks of Wayzata, the Harriet was used for family entertainment. A carefully restored interior includes windows that open by sliding down into the hull and an original "head," as an elegant brass plaque on the door puts it. As recently as 10 years ago, the boat was in service as part of Excelsior Park Restaurant.
The Sugar Lady: One of the most famous Chris-Crafts around because it's won so many shows and has been photographed so often, this 27-foot runabout graces the auction's catalog cover and is expected to draw some competitive bids. One of only eight left in the world (of 62 made in nine years), the Lady has her original engine and convertible top.