RM Hershey Highlights – 1941 Chris-Craft 27-Foot Barrel Back “Runaway Jane”

A bit of a diversion here — the Hershey PA event from RM Auctions delivered a huge swath of old-world excellence. More pre-war cars, coaches and trucks than are typically seen at these events, to be sure.

Among the collection’s top earners is this stunning 1941 Chris-Craft 27′ Model 115 Custom Runabout.

Widely know as one of the most beautiful boat styles of all time, any Chris-Craft is a beautiful sight on the water.

But this “Runaway Jane” is particularly beautiful, with the stunning handmade tail section forming almost a perfect half-circle. Dubbed the “Barrel Backs” for a resemblence to a wooden barrel, finding an original in such magnificent condition is rare indeed more than 70 years since its original assembly.

1941 Chris-Craft 27

RM Auctions


9 – 10 October 2014

Lot 264

1941 Chris-Craft 27′ Model 115 Custom Runabout “Runaway Jane”

To be auctioned on Friday, October 10, 2014

Sold for $258,500

  • 27061 Hull no.

300 bhp, 502 cu. in. Mercury Mercruiser V-8 engine. Length: 27 ft.

  • One of only three examples built for 1941
  • Restored by noted antique boat experts
  • The ultimate in American pleasure craft


For the 1932 season, Chris-Craft introduced a totally new 27-foot custom runabout model to replace their outgoing 28-footer. The new runabout offered a stronger and heavier hull with a greater beam, and it could accommodate a wider range of engine options and offer even better performance. The new model was successful and remained in their lineup as the flagship of Chris-Craft’s outstanding runabout fleet until1941.

In 1940, when plans were being prepared for their 1941 models, Chris-Craft’s design team was confident that the time was right to add even more special streamlining to their three custom runabout models. The slowdown created by the Great Depression seemed to finally be over, and this was the perfect time to offer exciting design treatments to potential buyers. It was also a time when the lure of fast runabouts was capturing the imagination of sportsmen who enjoyed being on the cutting edge with the latest objects of modern design. Beautiful boats that provided exhilarating performance offered the water equivalent of the prestige and enthusiasm enjoyed by contemporary sports car owners. Fast, attractive runabouts offered enormous appeal, and Chris-Craft’s classic runabouts were the boats to been seen in.

In 1940 and 1941, Chris-Craft’s 19- and 23-foot custom runabouts captured a great deal of attention with their beautifully rounded transoms, which were commonly referred to as “barrel backs.” Chief Designer Bill MacKerrer expanded the barrel back concept by rounding the top of the stem and continuing this stunning treatment to the covering boards, which were over the full length of the boat. The construction required superb craftsmanship that was usually reserved for custom boat builders. The effect of the rounded covering boards provided Chris-Craft’s custom runabouts with a very tasteful, modern appearance that was absolutely unique.

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.

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