Hello Ladies and Gentlemen It’s That Time Again! LETS PLAY, WHAT’S MY CLASSIC BOAT?


Alright folks, it’s that time again where we get out our Bob Speltz books, and call any old geezer that might still be sitting in his way back machine. This classic boat on eBay is todays, mystery boat. At first glance it looks like one more small outboard deal.. But dig deeper and we see some very very cool features. One being the flat head , the other is one bitch’n trailer. As Texx said. the trailer may be worth more than the boat. This is a fantastic starter boat if you live on a small lake. Possibly a great father son project that you can let the kido have at it. Put a cool shark mouth on it, teach him about flat heads.. This has it all.. And if it turns out to be a dog.. Ya gots a very cool motor and trailer for another one of your bad eBay purchases.. So.. what is it?


51 replies
    • brian
      brian says:

      I dunno Alex, that boat has some pretty sexy lines so my guess would be that it is a XJ – the precursor to the XK.

      It appears that about the only thing they changed was the wind screen height for the new model XK year.

      Question – is there a model XL ? Or did they just quit while they were ahead?

  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The flathead ford engines were retired in the early to mid 50’s so I doubt that is much newer than maybe 1955. Clearly it was not made by Chris Craft, Lyman, Penn Yan or one of the other companies that knew what they were doing. So, I am going to guess it was a small no-name boat, a kit, or perhaps an earlier Arabian predecessor from Century.

  2. Robert
    Robert says:

    Humm cheap plywood, must be a Chris Craft ! No wait it has a V-8 and should be fast. So can not be a Chris Craft.

    But it sure looks like a Dunphy!

  3. Gary
    Gary says:

    It has some characteristics of a Bryant Craft. But that engine, do I see a gear shift? Where is the clutch pedal? And the heads on that engine, Ardun or Edelbrock or what?
    Definitely not a CC or a C, probably an outboard to begin with and way too much time on hand.

  4. Andy
    Andy says:

    cool boat! I live in Middletown, right next to E-town with both towns being right next to the susquehanna River and within views of 3-mile island. This area has a long history of boating on the river with lots of cottages on the islands… this is a good solid working class area with a long history of folks builiding their own boats. Like my dad always tells me, back in those days, people on the river didn’t buy a boat (most couldn’t afford a factory model), they built their boats, with a kajority being of the family, outboard variety.
    I would discern that this particular boat was home built in a back-alley 1-car garage and run on the river. It might even be modified from plans for an out-board powered run-about.

  5. Andy
    Andy says:

    looking at the hull of this boat.. seems to be of laminated plywood strips… could this be a whirlwind? Whirlwinds were manufactured just down the road in Maryland..

  6. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    I know! It’s a R & D project from CC. But then Century introduced the Coronado in ’55 (which blew everything else out of the water) and CC pushed it out the back door where an employee took it home so as not to embarass anybody.

  7. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Could this be a North American of Indiana? They built some boats similar to this in the late 50’s before they were purchased and moved into fiberglass hulls in 1960.

    Doubt they offered a flat head V-8 in that period but it could have been re-powered.

    Gotta love Alex opening comment. I choked laughing so hard.

    No offense intended Mike. That Arabian is a jewel.

  8. Alex
    Alex says:

    I stand corrected. My apologies to Arabian owners. Clearly it can’t be a Century. Because it’s wood and still has a bottom.

    Unless Matt, ever the trickster, photoshopped one on from a Chris-Craft, just to throw us off the scent…

    …of rotting Century bottom wood, that is.

  9. Alex
    Alex says:

    Ha. Just kidding. My friends know I love every old boat. Centuries very much included. But hey, it’s a Friday. It’s after 1:30 pm, you’re all about due back from your 3 martini lunches, and there were only 11 Comments. That ain’t right!

  10. Alex
    Alex says:

    Hey Andy and Gary, it might just be a gear shift.

    I own a boat with an automobile powertrain, 3-sp manual transmission and foot clutch included. I’m writing a story about it so I can get some advice from WB readers. (And no, I don’t need advice about driving a stick. Ha.)

    • Jack Schneiberg
      Jack Schneiberg says:

      Alex; I would think you would want that clutch in really good shape and be able to “speed shift” through the gears lest you get a bit wet when the bow drops between gears. I am trying to imagine taking off from the dock and running through the gears!!!!

  11. Bob VandeVusse
    Bob VandeVusse says:

    Not sure on the boat, but the trailer looks to be a Chris Craft. What is really fascinating is the engine. The manifold says Offenhauser, a racing engine that dominated Indy and sprint car races in the 1950s (won the Indy 500 every year from 1950 to 1960). Early in their development, they produced a marine model. If it runs, this could be a real screamer, leaving both the XK and the Arabian in its wake!

    • Andy
      Andy says:


      resepctfully.. the Offy manifold is common, and not sure if marine manifolds are different than autos, but similar enough… hotrods from the 40’s on up to today use Offy manifolds and heads.. quick and decently priced speed equipment in the day… even today, you can get repro-heads and manifolds in multiple configurations…

  12. Alex
    Alex says:

    Jack, my boat has 28 hp. So “take offs” look about as exciting as those of Wal-Mart handicap carts.

    If you think driving my boat would be weird, Tommy Mertaugh remembers driving one that had an automatic transmission! Imagine what that must have felt/sounded like.

  13. Tom Mertaugh
    Tom Mertaugh says:

    Yes I did, a Chrysler 440 with a automatic. It was only in there for the first ride after purchase, then the 440 and the tranny got dumped and a 454 went in.

    ALex, I have seen soooo many “Century” flower pots, that I feel this is a great use for old Centuries. There is no chance of overwatering, it just runs out the bottom!!

  14. Tom H
    Tom H says:

    The hull is molded plywood so that puts it around 1949 on and somewhat narrows the manufacture of such a fine craft. I suspect the engine was a transplant based on what appears to be an automotive 3 speed.
    I think I would be more interested in the tow vehicle.

  15. Texx
    Texx says:

    Do we have a gang of Century Bullies starting to form here at Woody Boater?

    Are you guys planning to pull up to the boat show dock in Hessel next year aboard your Chris-Craft XK’s as a gang, with leather jackets, snoot boots and Chris-Craft tattoos…

    I can honestly say after attending all the antique boat shows over the years, I have never witnessed a “Rumble” at a boat show – Oh, other than the Rumble of a big Hemi or 440 in a classic Century…

    • brian
      brian says:

      A gang of XK dudes with tattoos and leather jackets?

      HA HA – That would look like a scene from Quadrophenia – a whole bunch of pimple faced Mods climbing off of their tricked out 100cc scooters.

      Now, if a gang of Century owners arrived at the dock with their leather jackets (with a bitchin’ black Arabian horse motif on the back) and their bikini-babes totin’ the coolers and sunblock, on-lookers would think that the cool Hells Angels had just switched around their toys! Nothing but respect and fear on that dock!

  16. andreas
    andreas says:

    Trailer winch stand looks like a Tee Nee. Trailer frame looks like a Tee Nee. Trailer fenders are definately NOT Tee Nee.

    I cannot tell if the hull is sheet plywood or molded veneer.

  17. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    I do like the engine, Chris Craft put theflat head ford v8 into the 1936 19 foot runabout, I wonder what year it is , the engine could be worth more than the trailer and boat.

    • DonD
      DonD says:

      That flathead V8 is similar to what we found in Miss MJ…, minus the through-the-floor shifter.

      Good call, Steve.

  18. Gary
    Gary says:

    Century, Senators, nope, I bet it is a Congress boat!
    But I apologize for that line, I go along with the one car garage home built. I saw a really nice home built boat in the late 80s with a Zephr V12 and a pedal for a clutch and linkages for shifting the car tranny in Sacramento.

  19. Alex
    Alex says:

    Texx, for the Chris-Craft gang, how ’bout:

    Sons of Smith?

    And for the Arabian owners, how ’bout:

    My Little Ponies?

  20. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Yaaawn. Get over your loss already. Century wins online and on water. Deal with it. At first your banter was funny but now you’re beginning to bore me!

  21. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Looks like a V-8 60 to me. I can sort of count 17 studs on the head in one of the pictures. 1940 final year of production on that motor. Looks like a homemade marine conversion.

  22. Dane
    Dane says:

    Might this be another U.S. Plywood boat? Woody Boater had one featured in 2008 that had similar round chines and port helm.

    The shape of the keel looks a lot like my ’54 Trojan Sea Queen.

  23. Bob VandeVusse
    Bob VandeVusse says:

    A friend of mine who knows a heck of a lot about racing engines confirms that this is a Ford V8-60 with Offy heads & manifold. According to him, Ford produced this block from 1937 to 1940 in the US, longer in Canada. Later still the tooling was sold to a French company. They were primarily used in sprint cars and midget racers, but many were converted to marine use.

  24. Andy
    Andy says:

    5 hours left and has gone past the $1500 mark after the seller lowered his reserve last night… can’t wait to see what this little mutt goes for.

  25. Andy
    Andy says:

    $1925 final gavel price.. not too shabby. Would love to know where this one gets to go… and whether it gets fixed up or parted out.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Well Andy, thanks for keeping us informed on this one and all we can hope for is that the buyer or seller reads this and chimes in with some info. We will keep our fingers crossed.

      Maybe they will show up at the Holiday Party on Friday with the boat in tow…

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