Many Midwesterners prefer to motor on the water
Going to the lake during the hot summer months is a treasured Midwest tradition for Michael Motherway. Even after several decades, the Northbrook resident remains loyal to his vacation ritual.
Some of his earliest times spent at Lake Geneva were in the 1950s. For several summers during high school and college, Motherway worked at an area Chris-Craft boat dealer. His job was delivering shiny new boats to eager customers.
"Imagine what a treat it was for a kid from the city to be up here all summer long," Motherway said. "I loved every minute of it."
All that time spent around beautiful, water-going vessels inspired the young man.
"I always said, 'One day I'll own a Continental,' " Motherway said. That dream came true in 2011 when he purchased his 1956 Chris-Craft Continental.
After being assembled new at Chris-Craft's Algonac, Michigan, factory, Motherway's Continental was delivered to its first owner and it stayed in Michigan. It was used and enjoyed locally for the next 30 years. It was then stored outside, where it deteriorated rapidly.
A second owner completed a seven-year restoration on the boat. It was completely stripped and reassembled to glimmering, showroom condition. During the process, the humble six-cylinder engine was swapped for a Corvette V-8.
Besides his early memories and boat-owning aspirations, Motherway was motivated to make the purchase as a change of pace for his time on the water. He spent 25 years racing hydroplane boats.
"Going fast is all over now. I'm into cruising now," he said. His 1956 boat garnered lots of attention while on display at the Geneva Lakes Antique and Classic Boat Show last weekend.
The show was presented by the Blackhawk Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society at the Abbey Resort in Fontana, Wisconsin. The weekend event showcased more than 120 vintage boats, brought by owners from around the Midwest and even as far as Idaho.