The mahogany sweeps from bow to stern in rich, brown curves crying out for fast-moving water.
The buffed metal hoods and fenders practically invite wind to caress them.
The lines would seem at home in an art gallery, but here they are, in a brick building that started its life as a grocery store and often now is mistaken for a funeral home. Tucked back on a side street in Clinton, Carolina Classic Boats and Cars is a repository of dreams for people - OK, it's mostly guys - who long to feel the wind against their faces as they drive svelte boats or cars.
It's a small-town business, but it's not small-time - thanks to Internet commerce. People from all over the world do their dreaming, and buying, through Greg Jackson's brokerage.
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The 48-year-old Columbia native uses a recipe of online photos, connections in the big-boy toy world and Southern charm to link buyers and sellers of wooden boats (think "On Golden Pond" style). He recently added classic cars to his business.
The 15 boats and nine cars in his Clinton showroom represent about half of his inventory. Many sellers and buyers - and many boats and cars - never make it to Clinton.
"Most of my business is done out of the state or out of the country," Jackson said. "I don't meet most of my clients face to face.
"I'm fixin' to post a boat in northern New Jersey on the Web site, and I'll never see it in person."
Jackson said he might do a slightly better sales job when the boats and cars are shipped to Clinton and "I get to touch and feel 'em." In some cases, buyers pay for Jackson to travel to where the boats and cars are to inspect them.
But just as many sellers simply contract with Jackson to market a boat or car, send him quality pictures to post on the Web site, then rely on Jackson's reputation (and a professional appraisal) to draw buyers.
Even those without tens of thousands of disposable dollars can go to the brokerage Web site, carolinaclassicboatsandcars.com, and drool. They might also wonder: How do I get a job like that?
In Jackson's case, he happened into it.
"I grew up going to Lake Murray and always had a love for boats," he said. "But law enforcement was my career path. I was a trooper with the Highway Patrol, and boats were a hobby for me."
Then, in the late 1980s, he bought a beat-up wooden boat with plans to renovate it.
"I quickly realized I was in over my head (on the renovation) and sold it," Jackson recalled. "Then I bought another one and sold it. Then I bought another one and sold it."
He left the Highway Patrol in 1993 to work for his father-in-law's Clinton auto dealership - Cooper Motor Company. As he sold new cars, his wooden boat obsession wouldn't die. He attended local and regional gatherings of wooden boat enthusiasts, making connections in the field.
In 2001, he decided to turn his passion into his job and started his own brokerage. There have been lean times, especially at the depth of the current recession, but he's dealing with something he loves.
"I'm a one-man operation, and I don't have to rely on anyone else," said Jackson, who contracts with expert shippers and restorers when necessary. "That means it's seven days a week, but I don't mind because these are what I love."
He punctuated the last comment with a wave of his arm to encompass the beauties in his cool, windowless showroom - including a rare 1930 Atlas Runabout that used a lake route to win a race with a train from Menominee, Mich., to Chicago in 1931; a 1948 Canadian Greavette with exquisite tapers and flares on the hull; a 22-foot Chris Craft like the one in "On Golden Pond"; and a 1958 Chris Craft Golden Arrow that has side wings similar to the luxury cars of that era.
"This place doesn't do them justice," Jackson said. "You really need to get them in the water."
The cars in the showroom include a sky blue 1956 Thunderbird, a red 1930 Model A Roadster and a 1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer.
The asking prices in the showroom inventory range from $14,000 for the Dodge to $89,900 for the Atlas Runabout. The online inventory features several higher-end yachts, including a funky 1971 Russian Tupelov 007 that looks like something out of a '70s-era James Bond movie ($499,000).
Gary Gondek, a wooden boat enthusiast from White Lake Township, Mich., bought a 20-foot, 1948 Chris Craft Custom from Jackson last year and has nothing but good things to say about Carolina Classic Boats.
"A good broker like Greg can save you a lot of money," Gondek said.
Gondek researched boats online, where a respected wooden boat blogger recommended Jackson's brokerage. Gondek talked with Jackson a few times, but Carolina Classic Boats didn't have anything in its inventory that fit Gondek's desire at the time.
Later, Gondek found the boat he wanted for sale in the equivalent of a real estate For Sale By Owner. A man in Virginia wanted way too much for the boat. Gondek mentioned the Virginia boat in a phone conversation with Jackson, prompting Jackson to drive up to Virginia to check out the boat.
"He called me later and said he had the boat on a trailer and was taking it back to his showroom," Gondek said.
Jackson had pointed out to the owner the various repairs needed on the boat and had convinced the owner to reduce the price. Gondek later sent a boat restorer to Clinton to check out the boat and, after a favorable review, agreed to buy it.
His budget had been in the $60,000 range. He bought the 20-footer for $35,000 and spent about $25,000 restoring it. The effort paid off in a first-place award at an international boat show in Canada last year, Gondek said.
"He's about as honest as the day is long," said Gondek of Jackson. "That's important when you're dealing in these boats. You can be handed a bill of goods and get an absolute piece of junk.
"He pointed out all the problems with the boat."
Jackson said he isn't a natural salesman, but his passion for restoration of old classics helps move his inventory.
"I have prided myself on telling people the good, the bad and the ugly and letting them make a good decision," Jackson said. "I've never had to misrepresent anything to sell it. I think that's what works in sales in general, not just classic boats and cars."
When Gondek drove down to pick up the boat, it was everything he expected. The showroom, however, was a bit of surprise.
"It did seem in the middle of nowhere," Gondeck said. "You expect it to be near water. But you're talking about a special type of boat here. People buying these boats will go anywhere to get them."
Most of Jackson's boat customers are from the Northeast or the Great Lakes areas. They sometimes don't realize he's in South Carolina until they hear the Southern accent on the phone.
"As long as I've got a cell phone and a laptop, it doesn't matter where I am," Jackson said. "I could have a building in Columbia or Atlanta, but I can get a lot more bang for my buck here in Clinton."