Elegant and fast, here are glorious examples of the golden age of motorboating. Sculpted in mahogany, brilliantly varnished, fixtured in chrome, and powered by reciprocating engines of vast displacement, these personal powerboats provided then, as they do today, a sense of exhilaration for their owners. The photographs and text of Classic Motorboats come from Norm and Jim Wangard, the publishers of Classic Boating magazine.
Classic Motorboats 2021 monthly wall calendar features: Large blocks for notes | Beautiful reproduction | Quality heavy-weight paper | Deluxe 11- by 14-inch size
Motorboats featured include:
1939 Chris-Craft 24’ Sportsman
Roger Pecina’s 1939 Chris-Craft 24’ Sportsman with a streamlined, ventilating cabin is a rare sight because only seven were built. The special ventilating cabin was a $355 option. Original equipment included a rear tiller and a bait box under the rear seat for fishing. Between 1937 and 1939, 101 of the 24' Sportsman Utility models were built.
1967 Century 19’ Arabian
In 1967, Century Boat Company of Manistee, Michigan, shipped this 19’ Arabian to Sierra Boat on Lake Tahoe, where Dick Clarke sold it to a Carnelian Bay resident. In 1979, Clarke arranged the sale of the Arabian to Tom and Marie O’Rourke and, with its V-8 engine, Sun Tripper became the family ski boat.
1939 Gar Wood 19’ Utility
In 1996, Gerald Petersenʼs insurance agent found a rotting hulk in the parking lot of one of his clients. The owner had given up on the Gar Wood and was going to burn it. ʺDonʼt do that,ʺ said the insurance agent, ʺI know someone who might want to restore it.ʺ The rotting hulk turned out to be a 1939 Gar Wood 19ʼ Utility. It had a frozen engine, and the rotted bottom was virtually gone. The keel, chines, and frames were replaced or repaired, and an inner bottom was installed. The boat was completed in May, 2000, and named Carol K for Gerald's wife.
1940 Gar Wood 24ʼ 6ʺ Custom Utility
Leading Lady was the featured boat in the Gar Wood display at the 1940 New York Boat Show where it was purchased by Mr. Durkee while Mrs. Durkee attended the opening of Gone with the Wind, thus its name. Leading Lady is one of only five 24ʼ 6ʺ Custom Utilities built with twin 130 h.p. Chrysler Crown in-line six engines.
1940 Chris-Craft 19ʼ Custom
Good Grief was first spotted in 1992 by a good friend of Tim Robinson. Chuck Bender, a Los Angeles County fire captain, was working on a wild fire in the Clermont foothills when he found the boat parked under a large oak tree. Chuck called Tim about the boat, saying it was old and made of wood. Tim figured it wasn’t anything he’d be interested in until he saw that it was a barrel-stern Chris-Craft, one of the most sought-after classics. Tim and son Brian began a full keel-up restoration by vacuuming fifteen years of oak leaves out of the bilge. All the wet leaves had created lots of rot.
1948 Chris-Craft 22ʼ Sportsman
Miss Rachel, Larry Grabʼs 22-foot Sportsman, was ʺbornʺ at the Chris-Craft factory on August 2, 1948,the same year as his wife. From 1946 to 1954, 2,082 of the 22-foot Sportsmans were built, making the open cockpit utility one of the more plentiful classics. The 22-foot Sportsman may also be the world's most recognizable classic, thanks to its role in the film On Golden Pond. It was also Chris-Craftʼs most popular model from the classic era.
1941 Chris-Craft 16ʼ Deluxe
Bob Fricke purchased his 1941 Chris-Craft in the summer of 2000 from Minneapolis radio personality Joe Soucheray, host of Garage Logic. Model 101 still runs on its original 6-volt electrical system. The condition of the original bottom prompted Bob and his wife, Karen, to refer to the 16ʼ Deluxe as “old leaky.” They hope to have an official name following the bottomʼs reconstruction. Model 101 came equipped with a 60 h.p. four cylinder in-line engine that delivered a top speed of 32 m.p.h at a retail price of $995.
1929 Hacker Craft 26ʼ Dolphin Jr
Jeff Petersonʼs 26ʼ Steinway was built in the fall of 1929 and purchased on Lake George, New York. Almost every plank of Steinwayʼs topsides is original. All of the seat backs, bolsters, and other pieces of the boat are original and stamped with Steinwayʼs hull #296. Restorer Jim Senior was challenged to focus his energy on restoring Steinway to the reputation of its namesake. The 26-footer was a popular class in stock runabout regattas governed by engine displacement, such as Steinway’s 225 h.p. Kermath. When driven by its amateur-status owners, the boat could outrun rivals of equal power because of the refined bottom lines that John Hacker so skillfully designed into these boats.
1934 Chris-Craft 26ʼ Special Race Boat
During the Depression, the Chris-Craft factory was largely shut down, and only a handful of veteran workers built boats. This was the era when seven 26ʼ Special Race Boats were built over three model years. The 26ʼ Special Race Boats looked like ordinary Chris-Craft family runabouts, but were built with thinner planking and framework to save weight. The Chris-Craft V-8 engine was modified by adding dual carburetors, high-compression copper heads, and high-lift camshafts to increase power. In all, the 26ʼ Special Race Boat was about 400-pounds lighter and 100-horsepower more powerful than a stock 26ʼ runabout, advantage when racing. Jay Dee II, one of only two known survivors, is owned by Larry Mullins in Florida, where the boat was originally delivered.
1946 Gar Wood 17ʼ 6ʺ Deluxe Runabout
Charlie Faber ordered his Gar Wood early in 1946; it arrived in Stockton on October 14th, the first postwar Gar Wood shipped to California. He married the same year and his growing family enjoyed skiing and pleasure trips to Tahoe and other lakes and reservoirs in Northern California. By 1968, his daughter, Mary Drew, her brother, and sister had left home, and the boat was placed in storage. In 1999, Mary and her husband, Eric, began a restoration of Charlie's Gar. After 34 years, it went back in the water on May 18th, 2002. Bringing Charlieʼs Gar back to its original condition brought the Drew family together to enjoy the boat as Charlie did in 1946. ˝The experience of riding and skiing behind Charlieʼs Gar is a memory our sons will never forget,ʺ says Mary Drew, ˝This is how Charlie used his boat 67 years ago."
1954 Stan Craft 22ʼ Torpedo Stern
Some of the most memorable boats built by regional builder, Stan Young of Flathead Lake, Montana, were his torpedo-stern runabouts. One of those runabouts was a 22-footer for which the original owner ordered installation of a Chrysler M455 engine. Before delivery, the new boat was sent to Dan Foster for engine modifications which included two four-barrel carburetors and dual-point distributor. In 1999, the Mullakey family bought Wildwood from Stan Craft and during the next two years refreshed this very original boat.
1959 Century 21ʼ Coronado
This ownerʼs first memory of a classic speedboat was taking a test ride with his father and a dealer. ˝I was lying on the engine box, and the dealer bet he could roll me off onto the boat floor by simply turning the wheel and opening the throttle. I can still hear my dad laughing as I fell to the floor, which probably explains why when I think of boating, I canʼt imagine not having a classic boat.ʺ A lifetime of memories all came flooding back when he saw the lines of this big Century with the very cool sliding hardtop and the rumble coming from a big Ford 427 V-8. Classical Gas, a powerful and smooth-riding Coronado, was named for the Mason Williams instrumental album and the ownerʼs wife, an anesthesiologist.
About the Magazine for Vintage Powerboat Enthusiasts
Enjoy reading about the classic speedboats from the golden era of the runabout that include marque class names like Chris-Craft, Gar Wood and Hacker. Classic Boating magazine published in color six times a year features boat shows, exemplary boats, restoration tips, classified boats for sale ads, product sales, world-class photography, and much more. Bi-monthly, since 1984.
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