The Tale of the Junkyard Nautilus
It was nearly 8 years ago now that I was emailed from a gentleman out of Princeton, BC by the name of Andrew Nordquist after he found my website, and he piqued my interest considerably when he started telling me of a strange and wonderful model of our beloved Nautilus that he'd found... wait for it... in his local dump!
Here is the story, as told by Drew:
Hi Bob. Here is the story of this amazing find.
On Saturday, June 6th. me and my brother were asked by our grandparents to go make a dump run. so we loaded the truck and drove down to the Princeton Municipal Dump. As we were entering, my brother looked over to the one area of the dump where they sell bikes and dressers and what not and asked me, " Hey Drew..what's that fishy-looking thing over there?"
I was looking to the scrap metal pile and confused as all get out and asked where? He pointed over to the "east Princeton mall" as the locals here call it and said " Over there, that blue fishy thing"
I saw it and couldn't stop my self from instantly thinking "NO WAY!!!" After going through the dump check and paying to drop off the junk we quickly drove over and I went over to the boat, and there she was, sitting on her field stand on top of a badly painted Winnie the Pooh dresser.
I looked through the sub, inspecting it to find it had all the radio gear and the big 6v 3 amp motor. I asked my brother to go get the guy at the office so i can talk to him and he said "You want the damn boat..you go talk to him" so I did. I trudged back up to the office and asked the guy about the "goofy looking boat". The guy said " it just came in, I haven't had time to look at it yet". So i talked to the guy clearly not letting on that I knew exactly what it was. I told him it had silicone around the top part and it had some bent linkage. The guy hummed and hawed then looked at me and said " so it's a big coffee table talk peice then, eh?" I said pretty much and he said hows ten bucks sound?
The words that came out of my mouth where calm and almost cold. All i said was "sounds like it's sold" and i handed him ten bucks and walked back to my brother with a huge cheshire cat grin on my face.
We loaded her up and headed home with this great find. She now sits beside me in the basement and I am slowly tinkering on her. So far all i need for her is a 6ch radio and some batteries for her and she's in the water. We just put rusty red primer on her to get rid of the god awful blue color. She looks more like a true nautilus now but not quite.
I took pictures of me and my brother painting her tonight after a huge rain storm tonight. Even took some pics to show how big she is. I stand at 6'3". I will get some more pictures for you, and it looks as tho this sub is scratch built out of plywood and door skin covered with fiberglass resin. So with out further adieu here are some pictures. and the boat resides in the quiet town of Princeton BC. she will make her first public appearance at the town car show on July 4th.
So, as it turns out, the boat wound up to be 84" in length, 18.5" tall and 13.5" wide. At these dimensions, the scale works out to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1:30th scale, assuming a 200ft overall length of the original boat (commonly held to be true).
Over the next few years, Drew worked hard at getting the Nautilus running. As the hull is made from wood, water is exceptionally damaging if it soaks into the fibers. As an R/C model, this one was not an ideal candidate in the slightest.
Eventually, Drew lost interest in the boat and finally, back in early January of 2017, approached me wondering if the Junkyard Nautilus would be something that I'd be interested in taking off his hands.
Of course, I couldn't resist something with such an amazing story.
Drew brought the boat to my parent's house in Spruce Grove, Alberta where my father worked to get it packaged up safely for it's long journey from the prairies of Canada to the sandy shores of Naples, FL where I live.
The model arrived in perfect condition and I have to say, it is actually darned impressive. Whoever built it originally did a wonderful job and definitely had a lot of skill. The hull has been gutted and my plans at this point are to replace the missing parts, add some functional lighting, secure the lid to the model permanently, and give it an amazing paint job.
It may be a while before I can get to it, but for now, enjoy these photos of this amazing boat!: