The story of NEB&M began over 50 years ago on Brown’s Lake near Jackson, Michigan. In 1963, as teenagers, Mark Mason and his brother Tom, acquired and restored their first mahogany speed boat; a 1940 Chris Craft single cockpit 16 foot Special Race Boat, always named SEA DUCER. She was hull number 42160 and today has been owned by Alan Jackson for many years.
In 1968 Mark discovered and purchased for $500, his first triple cockpit speedboat from Harold Dyer, an 85 year old antique automobile collector in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Mentored by visionary collector Eldon Eby, Mason focused his attention on ferreting out the greatest racing speedboats of the Twentieth Century, which were custom designed and custom built for the millionaire sportsmen of the roaring twenties.
In 1969 he discovered a magnificent 36 foot International Sweepstakes Racer, SISTER SYN, a 1927 George Crouch design, owned and built by Horace E Dodge, Jr., Automotive scion of Detroit, Michigan. At an impressive 36 feet, she proved to be a daunting project for a 23 year old college student to contemplate. However it got Mark fully submerged in researching the designs by famous Naval Architect, George Crouch.
After returning from the Vietnam War in 1972, Mark went in search of a Garwood he was told lay in an old apple orchard in Parma. The owner Douglas Campbell, denied having a Garwood, but admitted that he had a 1922 John Hacker speedboat in his barn. A deal was made and Mason began researching his new acquisition. Campbell’s father had bought her from the Cadillac dealer in Peoria, Illinois. Mason eventually found her to be METEOR V, the Gold Cup racer originally campaigned by W.B. Wilde of Peoria, Illinois, who set seven world records in hydroplane competition.
In the midst of buying, selling and restoring several raceboats, Mark began searching for the legendary IMPSHI a smaller more manageable George Crouch design. Along the way, in 1976, he stumbled across BABY BOOTLEGGER and gave up his search for IMPSHI; wondering if BABY BOOTLEGGER might have been a divine consolation prize for not being able to find IMPSHI.
In 1979 he moved To Cape Cod where he restored ‘BOOTLEGGER, introducing her to the back into the boating world in 1982. As a result he met collectors who became his first customers. Still based at the Cape, Mason restored the now famous WAMPUM, a 33 foot Garwood and built MISS COLUMBIA, for noted collector Philip Sharples.
In 1985 he purchased a facility in Laconia, New Hampshire and opened the doors of New England Boat & Motor, Inc., still active today.
Over the next several decades Mason and the rest of the antique boat world found and restored most of the great boats that were extant. During the same time, Mark acquired all of George Crouch’s India ink drawings. Acquiring these plans along with other historic lines, caused Mason to realize that there were as many boats that had been lost to fires and racing accidents as had survived. His collection of original designs gave him the opportunity to reconstruct authentic racers that were lost a lifetime ago.