The Story of Dart Boats

It all started in 1925

The history of the Dart speedboat begins in the Roaring Twenties when the desire for fun, frivolity, and speed began a boom in production of the newly-popularized mahogany runabout. The Dart quickly grew in popularity as they were enjoyed as ride boats on inland waters such as Indian Lake, achieved favorable race finishes at regattas from the Midwest to the East Coast, and developed an aggressive dealer network throughout the United States. on this growing trend, the Indian Lake Boat Company of Lima, Ohio developed a line of fast runabouts with the evocative name of Dart, beginning production in mid-1925. Continuing to ride the wave of motor boat popularity, the Dart line of boats attracted the attention of investors in Toledo, Ohio.  Webb C. Hayes, II, grandson of President Rutherford B. Hayes, put together a team that included the heads of Toledo's largest companies.  In late-1928 a new company was formed, Dart Boats, Incorporated of Toledo, Ohio. Dart Boats, Inc. was at the forefront of the industry, producing a top-of-the-line product favored equally by Prohibition-era bootleggers and the well-to-do. The company was also known for their international marketing efforts, with dealerships in Great Britain and Sweden shipping Darts as far away as the Dead Sea. Unfortunately, economic struggles due to the Great Depression and a subsequent Toledo bank crash brought a halt to production in late-1931.  Dart Boats made two styles in a 18 ½’ length boat, a 22 1/2’ by 6’ 1” (the Dart Jr)., a 26’ by 6’ 8” (the Dart), a 29’ and a 30’. The longer boats were usually offered in several designs. A 30’ Gold Dart triple cockpit powered by a Chrysler Imperial engine was considered the top-of-the-line. A Silver Dart (26’) was another model name as well as the previously mentioned “Dart” and “Dart Jr”.

Irving J. “Hocky” Holler designed the boats (he also designed some Richardson Boats/Yachts, later) to handle the Lake Erie chop and they advertised that a Dart Boat design featured: “seaworthiness, speed per Hp, and ride quality” compared to other brands of the era. 

This year at our 40th Annual NFACB Boat show we are proud to to present the Ramesy Brothers history presentation of the Dart Boat Company and  Irving Hockey Hollor's son Jim Holloer as one of our special guests. Jim's personal story's of being brought up in a time where true boat craftsmanship was at its finest and its exciting time for boating history on lake Erie, the USA and abroad. 

Dont miss this part of our show!

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