Part One – A Cool Boat
Last weekend while attending the Sandpoint ACBS Boat Show in Idaho, I was introduced to Tim & Deb Salt and “Shady Lady” their 1955 22′ Chris-Craft Continental. Not just another Continental, in fact there were only 102 – 22′ models shipped in 1955. But of those shipped, this particular hull was one of only 28 – 22′ Continental’s produced in 1955 with a 200hp Chrysler M45S V8 (Hemi). And, according to our friends at the Mariners’ Museum, only 3 of these Hemi powered models were originally shipped with what Chris-Craft referred to as a Sedan Hard Top c/w ventilating windshield and sliding windows.
The original Chris-Craft brochures (above & below) provided by, and used with the permission of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club.
This new line, all called CONTINENTALS, replaced the HOLIDAY name as Chris-Craft’s top-of-the-line utilities. For a few years, the HOLIDAY name remained, applied to stripper CONTINENTALS which were positioned in price between the least expensive 17′ and 20′ SPORTSMANS and most expensive CONTINENTALS.
Although available in lengths up to 26′, the CONTINENTALS were low, sleek, bullnosed beauties. Chris-Craft would be without a large open “utility” in the line until 1959 when the 24′ SPORTSMAN was introduced.
All CONTINENTALS and derivatives were phased out during 1961, to be replaced by an entirely new line of “sport boats” designed after Chris-Craft moved to Pompano Beach, Florida and sold out to NAFI.
The 1955 22′ CONTINENTAL was an all new boat, similar in appearance to the 20′ CONTINENTAL, and intended to replace both the 22′ SPORTSMAN and CUSTOM SEDAN which were retired in 1954. An attractive hard top was offered as an option, similar in design to the open sided hard tops offered by Gar Wood in the late 1940s. The 22′ was stretched to a 23′ for 1956, and produced through 1958. The big “W” was available as an option.
102 CONTINENTALS were built in 1955, and 26 HOLIDAYS. As a 23′, 97 CONTINENTALS were built during 1956 and 28 HOLIDAYS. Finally, equipped with a new 2 piece curved windshield, 73 CONTINENTALS were built for 1957 – 1958. Altogether, 326 22′ – 23’s were built including hard tops, most equipped with “M” series engines.
ung. From a 40 year old photo, he magnified the image and recovered the boat’s registration number. After contacting the California DMV, he was given Wilbur Miller’s name as the current owner and contacted him. Peter met Wilbur in California, and two years later Peter bought the boat and shipped her to his home in to Big Rapids, Michigan.
Part 3 – A Very Cool Owner
Tim Salt caught the wooden boat bug at an early age, as shown in this family photo taken at a YMCA Camp near Fresno, CA (circa 1958). It looks like he even found one of those rare Captain’s yachting caps from the period.