A few weeks ago when Matt was at Lake Gaston for the RDC Triangle Chapter Boat Show, he went for a ride in an antique triple cockpit runabout that was re-powered with a modern V-8 Mercruiser. These days that’s not that unusual, but what was a bit unusual about this boat was that it had mufflers… That’s right, Mufflers! Matt commented on how quiet the boat was, even at speed cruising across Lake Gaston.


As Matt was describing to me the sensation of the modern V-8 power in the antique triple, it reminded me of Robert DaPron’s triple cockpit Chris-Craft “Red head II” that I had the pleasure of riding in a few times last year. It also has similar modern power and for me, was fun to experience the impressive power and versatility the boat had.

Our discussion quickly let to the subject of modern power vs original power, so we thought it would be fun to see what you think about the subject.


By the way, as you can see, I’m back to my same old problem of not being able to decide which photos to use for the story, so once again I have included a few too many of original power… But they all look so cool.


So here’s the question…

– What is the criteria for deciding what type of power to use in your classic wooden boat?

– Is it based on what you are going to use the boat for?

– If it’s a show boat and it’s not going to see many hours of operation, is it better to stay with original power?

– Many folks like to use their boats extensively, one of the best examples that comes to mind is Randy & Ginger Clark’s Hacker “OoRAH”, it has modern power and they use it almost year round in Florida and the south east.

– The big river cruises like the St. John’s River Cruises before and after the Sunnyland Show, the popular Tennessee River Cruise which covers 450 miles, the guys in Seattle are planning a trip up the Columbia / Snake River in late June which is also 400+ miles.

– Is there an advantage to have modern power for those high use classics or can a well maintained original powered boat still work just fine? Are they still reliable if properly maintained?

– Are we going to see regulations in the future on some lakes which will mandate Closed Cooling Systems for antique & classic boats?

– Is the E-85 Ethanol going to become E-65 Ethanol in the near future and will this become a bigger problem in terms of keeping the old Hercules running properly?


Let’s hear what you have to say, and don’t hold back… as Matt says – “Let er Rip!”


On Thursday we learned that legendary marine engine builder Cal Connell passed away. Cal Connell, son of a successful Detroit Cadillac Dealer, founded Detroit Racing Equipment and specialized in marinizing Cadillac V-8 engines for Century and then Chris-Craft in the 1950’s.

In the book “Classic Century Powerboats” by Paul, Frank & Trudy Miklos they said… “The single most influential event of 1953 – one that would effect Century and boat manufacturers for years to come – was the work of a young machinist in Detroit” – Cal Connell. “Connell’s marinized Cadillac V-8’s claimed to have 250 HP – unheard of in an engine of this weight… For the first time, Century could dream of equipping it’s relatively small boats with such power.” And the rest is history…

Vintage Cal Connell Cadillac Brochure - Courtesy Jim Staib, Fine Wood Boats


Anthony Mollica & Jack Savage describe Cal Connell’s history with the Chris-Craft Corporation in their book “Chris-Craft Boats” and his connection to the radically designed Cobras which were introduced in 1955.

Hemis and Cadillac Crusaders

When Chris-Craft came out with the Cobra, it’s startling new Racing Runabout, in 1955, Chrysler Marine was converting the now famous Chrsler Hemi for marine use. The potential combination proved too tempting – Chris-Craft no longer had an eight-cylinder engine, so the Hemi was just the thing to pack into the 21 foot version of the Cobra to give it 50 miles per hour-plus speed. The Hemi was a 331 cubic-inch overhead valve V-8 that generated 200 horsepower at 4,400 rpm in a 1,100-pound package with downdraft carbs and a six-volt electrical system. The first 21 foot Cobras were shipped with the Hemis.

The Cobra was also the recipient of a marinized Cadillac overhead valve V-8 as developed by Detroit Cadillac dealer Cal Connell, who founded Detroit Racing Equipment. DRE’s 331 cubic-inch conversion generated 285 horsepower at 5,200 rpm thanks to dual four-barrel Rochester carbs. The Cadillac V-8 could push Century’s 21-foot Coronado nearly 60 miles per hour – a speed that generated attention in Algonac. Ultimately Chris-Craft purchased 24 of the hopped up Cadillacs, 17 of which ended up in 21 foot Cobras, giving them 55 miles per hour.

Chris-Craft continued to offer the V-8, upgraded to 365 cubic-inch in 1956 and 390 cubic-inch in 1959 until the introduction of the marinized version of the Chevy small-block. It was three of Connell’s Cadillac engines that powered a 53-foot Constellation called Crusader Rabbit to an impressive 32 miles per hour. Connell adopted the name from the boat for his company, Cadillac Crusader Marine, leading to the origin of Crusader Marine. When Chevrolet introduced its 409 cubic-inch engine in the early 1960s, Crusader Marine ceased marinizing the Cadillac V-8s and switched to the Chevys. Some 800 Cadillacs were marinized from 1952 to 1960, all painted fire engine red.Anthony Mollica and Jack Savage.

Here’s a few images from an original Cal Connell Cadillac Crusader Engine Operating Manual (say that 3 time fast) courtesy of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club Archive.


Our condolenses go out to the Connell Family on this day. Cal and his brilliant, innovative work had a huge impact on the history of the Antique & Classic Boating Hobby. Godspeed Cal.

Matt & Texx

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38 Responses to “To Re-Power, or Not To Re-Power: That Is The Question (Today)”
  1. Greg Lewandowski

    I think this is a question very similar to 5200 vs. West bottom, and will probably generate the same amount of varied responses. In my opinion, the answer is totally dependent on what the owner wants. A totally original engine will I think score the highest on a 100 point judging. However it may not be as reliable as an original engine that has been upgraded to a 12 volt pointless ingition system with an alternator or full range regulated generator, oil filter,etc.. If the boat does not have an original engine, or no engine when purchased, modern power is a very viable, and probably more inexpensive way to go. I fon’t think there is any right or wrong, just what suits the owner’s usage of the boat and budget the best. See you guys in Michigan this summer!

    Greg

  2. matt

    fon’t? The force is strong with you today Greg.. Welcome..

  3. Rick

    As far as my personal comfort zone I would venture further afield if I had modern power and will consider swapping once I’m not paying college tuitions.

  4. steven balcer

    I would first look at the bottom and structure first before repowering a boat. I know that repowering a 19′ chriscraft racer with a V 6 is better than a V 8 small block. The V8 just had two much torque and didn’t work as good as a V 6 did. I here stories back in the day from one of my clients who worked for beaver conversions in Detroit that alot of the hulls could not take the change as good as the old low HP engines did. An epoxy hull or the “new construction” should hold up well.

    I know from talking to one of my engine guys from Tenn. that the old engines are sometimes not that easy to find replacement parts for like a hisso or liberty. Now don’t we all wish we had one of those!! I think if it was me I would save the origional engine and repower and play. Miss america IX is a good example.

    Steve

  5. steven balcer

    For those who don’t know Beaver conversions and trans. it was a bussiness from the 1930’s till some time in the 60’s that all they did was marine engine conversions and custom trans.
    I have a little ford V8 60 with a beaver conversion on it that I’m going to build a boat around soon. A real neet little custom trans. all made by hand.

    • Zim

      Hey Steven, Do you have any pictures of your Beaver conversion of the Ford Flathead 60? Thank you.

  6. Dave Pickard

    I’m a big fan of stock or restored to stock, in automobiles or boats or anything with a motor. That being said I love it when I see an antique or classic automobile that looks as it left the factory except when you look under the hood. If it makes that vehicle safer, more enjoyable and more user friendly I would say thumbs up, as long as it can be changed back in the future.

  7. m-fine

    I like how an engine design that went into production in 1955 is still “modern power” 56 years later!

    I am much more in favor of seeing boats used out on lakes than “preserved” in better than original condition and turned into show pieces. That said, the sound of the engines is as much a part of the full experience to me as the look of the varnished mahogony. I would definitely say no to mufflers, unless you did a switchable exhaust to get the best of both worlds.

    As far as switching engines, lets start with the “newer” boats. If it has a small block Chevy engine already, like many from the late 50’s and 60’s, by all means upgrade it. You can turn a 283 into a 350 without changing the look or feel so go for it. Add a better fuel filter, upgrade the carb, water pump and whatever else you need to to make it more reliable, easier to maintain, and more powerful. You can even go to an electronic fuel injection if you want. Same with the big blocks, and to a lesser extent some of the other auto conversion v8’s.

    For the older boats, it gets harder. I think I would run original power in one as long as it was not too cost prohibitive. If the old flat head got a crack in the block, I would have to think long and hard about replacing with another, or going to a v8. I would definitely hate to pull out one of the old v12’s, converted aircraft engines, or anything unique/special unless it became darn near impossible to keep it going. In that case I would still keep the original power outside the boat and preserve it as best I could.

    This is for a runabout, untility, or small skiff. When you are talking about a cruiser, especially one that gets far from shore, I think safety and reliability trumps originality every day. In that case I am going modern engine and an install that meets or exceeds 2011 Coast Guard standards.

  8. Frank Miklos

    We have boats with both… I prefer original power when ever economically possible…

    It is just so much cooler to say you have the original engine from 1940…

    There are cases where that is impractical. We have a 1924 ish Indian Lakes race boat… We got it with no engine… It had a Liberty V12 aircraft engine… To put one in the boat would cost somewhere around $150,000.00+ We do not have an unlimited bank account… so that will not happen… It will mostlikely have a newer 454 installed with custom mounts so the liberty could go in if someone ever wanted to do so….

    But on the other hand V-8 from the 50s and 60s were great engines and parts are available for most… There is no reason not to rebuild the original…

    Not much cooler than opening a motor box and having a royal purple Chrysler Hemi with chrome valve covers and 2 4barrell carbs… Nothing today compares.. A 1950s Cal Connell Cadillac International red with black componets. is a very sharp engine.

    We are installing a new GM 409 in a 1958 Century Coronado 21′ Yes it may be faster than any original engine but it is not nearly as impressive looking…

    The flat head 6cyls have such a soothing sound… nothing today compares with that either…

    And Just say no to mufflers, stainless steel pipes even when installing new power… mufflers are just wrong and stainless steel pipes change the sound that we all love… Thin walled copper pipes just have a resonance that you can’t get with stainless steel…

  9. Paul H.

    For me, without any deference to how the boats will be used, it is original power EVERY TIME. Why? Because I want a vintage boating experience which as authentially as possible replicates the experience the owner had when new. Of course these old engines weren’t as powerful, reliable or effecient as new power, but they were good enough back in the day. These things lasted for decades and there is no reason a properly maintained original engine cannot do the same today. Expectations have to be realistic, but by and large these engines are simple and parts can usually be found.

    I like M-Fine’s comment about “modern power”! It seems as though anything that isn’t a flathead is considered as such. The SB Chevy was designed around ’52-”54 and debuted in the ’55 cars – how modern is that? I have a varitey of original engines in my boats and they are an essential, critical component of the character of the boat, and of the sensory experience of using them.

    If you want speed, buy a fast boat. If you want economy, buy the best modern technology, same for the best reliability. If you want all that in a vintage looking package, then buy any one of the great replicas that are out there. That is a good compromise, in my opinion. The engine is the soul of an old boat and so integral that I think replacement of the original power should be avoided if possible.

    To be fair, I would say my views are directed at the typical CC, Century or Lyman owner with a relatively common marine engine of the time it was built. If you have something with a Lycoming, Hall-Scott, Sterling, Curtiss or the like, the extreme rarity of the engine, along with the cost and difficulty in getting parts has to be factored in, and a nod to practicality and reality given. But, there are no shortage of parts for most CC, Gray’s, Interceptors and various Chryslers out there.

    I just had a Scripps 208 rebuilt for my Sortsman and a Chrysler Royal rebuilt for my Gar. It was not terribly difficult to get parts for those, even the comparitively rare Scripps. These boats will be used and I am happy to exchange the compromises of running the old iron for the pleasure of running the old iron.

    • Paul H.

      Forgot one thing that was just pointed out – in a cruiser where you might be out in big water or in potentialoly perilous seas, I would probably go with modern (meaning OHV) with modern electrics, etc. The consequences of a mechanical failure in bad conditions in this kind of boat are potentially more grave than the inconvenience of a breakdown on a lake somewhere. But still, the reliability of an OHV V-8 engine from mid-’50’s on up can still be very, very good and power is obviosuly not a problem with those engines. I am rebuilding a CC/FEL 430 for a ’61 21′ Continental and I expect it should be very reliable, powerful and thirsty. I know that many of those motors were put in cruisers, and should still work fine.

  10. LB

    If you have the original engine why not keep it in the boat I think it ads value to the boat and keeps all the old character of the vessel. So what if it is unreliable and expensive, if you are not prepared to have your boat break down/put you in the poor house classic boating is not for you. However i agree with Paul H on modern power in large cruisers. When i win the lotto i will be putting the new Volvo IPS drives in an old Cruiser preferably a Huckins or Rybovich.

    • Eric S

      My favorite is a “re-powered” I saw last year in Nisswa, MN. A 1926 30′ Belle Isle Super Bearcat. The engine filling the entire bay is a Hispano Suiza V-12 (1929), 650hp, 36 liters. A bit of a docking nightmare, but why not. You can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmOU0yfRb3o

  11. Al Benton

    I almost feel like an outlaw for bringing this up but I believe most of us belong to the Antique & Classic Boat Society, Inc. (ACBS) but their mission statement seems to be viewed in various ways so far in the above comments. I believe as Paul does that original power is an important consideration in protecting the heritage and history of old boats. There must always be genuine exceptions, however.

    • m-fine

      I would argue that the “heritage and history” of wooden boating from the 20’s through the 60’s involved thousands of boats with power upgrades, modifications, and swaps, for every “100 point” trailer queen show boat. Actually the ratio would be pretty much infinity. The ACBS emphasis on “preservation” in a way that is not a reflection of how the boats were really delivered from the factory, let alone how they were used and enjoyed or intended to be used, is a more modern invention than the small block Chevy V8 by several decades. Is adding an oil filter and a better carb a bigger crime than book matched grain and better glossier varnish jobs? Why?

      It is great to preserve the knowledge of how things were, but there should be compromises in practice. ACBS has compromised on allowing wood replacement for bottoms, and the use of fiberglass or 5200 for safety reasons. How about bilge blowers? 12 volt electric with modern wiring? safer fuel pumps, carbs, alternators, pumps? Those all have safety implications. Complete repowering could be a bigger safety upgrade for any off shore boat than a 5200 bottom for a barrelback that rarely leaves the trailer or the safety of the dock.

      I think ACBS has been a little myopic and discriminatory in their view of what it means to preserve the history and heritage of wood boating, to the point that in many ways they have completely lost sight of what mattered most when these boats were new.

  12. TomF

    Original power is half the equation for me in antique and classic boats. I agree with PaulH……. you want the whole experience. Once these engines (flatheads) are properly rebuilt and maintained they’ll outlast us all. There’s nothing like the sound of these straight piped “water Harleys”. Definitely no mufflers. It’s kind of a disappointment for me to see a beautifully restored boat with a modern v8 and dual exhaust. You can usually tell the boats in a show that are repowered………there hatches are closed. Even if I built a reproduction I would put a period engine in it, although Bo Mullers “Baby Grand” with modern power and the speed is one fine boat.

  13. Woodenrookie

    Two types of boats, the one’s that are viewed, and the one’s that are used. For a user boat safety and reliability outway all other options for me. Classic boating falls under a bigger umbrella called “boating”. For every 10 guys whom are well versed in our old mechanical power plants, there must be 100 that have know clue how their systems function. Properly maintained as Paul pointed out they are safe and will last for years but do require a level of maintenance far exceeding modern.

  14. m-fine

    Figure I might as well address this as well..

    “Is the E-85 Ethanol going to become E-65 Ethanol in the near future and will this become a bigger problem in terms of keeping the old Hercules running properly?”

    Either one is going to be more than a little trouble with the old Herc. Luckily there are not any states that have mandated an ethanol minimum higher than E10 (10% ethanol) and the current talk from the nutjobs is for E15 or E20, not mandating E85 or anything else that drastic…yet.

    There is no reason a flathead engine can not run on E20. The problem is keeping all of the other accesories original, and preserving the engine itself. Ethanol is both corrisive and conductive. Mixed metals will lead to galvonic corrosion where aluminum copper and brass in the system will corrode rapidly and that will definitely lead to safety and performance issues, even with many v8 installs from the last decade.

    The other issue is reduced power and endurance. If you are talking about a fuel injected 5.7 liter V8 you have a lot more power to lose than the 4 banger flat heads that were marginal performers when brand new.

  15. Scott Robinson

    Hey Guys, I have a solution, have 2 boats, 1 with original power, 1 with modern power, we will see which one gets used more, I know the answer. Scooter

    • Tom QWright

      User Friendly! After three rebuilds/remanufactures of our 327 Grey, my nephew built and delivered to us a balanced 350 Chevy putting out about 290hp. Dropped right in and hooked up to the Velvet Drive with almost no modification. In eight years 560 hours with oil changes being about the only maintenance. Plus we keep the boat in the salt water year round. The purist can always reinstall the Grey but we like to use the boat and we do…! (Miss Spent Youth – 1958 Century Coronado)Good to see you at Lake Arrowhead!

  16. m-fine

    Define “used” Scott.

    For some, the enjoyment they get out of the boat comes from taking it to various shows and trying to reach higher judging scores. To those folks, the original engine is mandatory.

    For many of us, me included, use means out on the water with family and friends. Sightseeing the shoreline, pulling tubes and skiers, basically using the boat like the original owners did and like many fiberglass owners do. For that, I would prefer original power if practical, but safety and reliability trump all else, and I am happy to make modifications. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I chose a 1960’s woody with a V8 and not a 40’s boat with a 4 jug flat head.

  17. RiverRat

    When it comes to outboards I prefer new power. You get power tilt and trim, fuel efficency, less noise, less fumes and reilability. To me it is the only way to go if the old engine needs to be replaced. Make that a four stroke and you get it in spades. I have enough work keeping the boats from sinking. Once in the water I want to go. Thanks for asking.

  18. steve bunda

    The question is put very well and the answer will be quite different for many antique and classic boats. Many of the answers are in the listed questions and will be determined by the actual age of the boat,rarity,usage,location,and owner requirements. Personally I collect prewar runabounts and allways look for original power first, if that is not available look for a close period replacement. steve

  19. Frank Miklos

    The talk about e85 and and e65 or just any ethanol in old engine… If you don’t mind paying an extra 1.50 – 2.00 a gallon you can buy aviation fuel no ethanol… High octane Much better fuel economy… Still cost more per hour but no damage to the system…

  20. Randy Rush- Captain Grumpy

    To each his own. What ever floats your boat!

  21. Brian K

    This is a VERY big subject. Truth be told …..Everyone is right. By that I mean, every opinion is right because every boat owner will do what they feel is best for their boat and how they are going to use it. If you feel modern power is better, then go with modern power (I would however, strongly reccomend keeping the old engine with the boat for posterity and to pass on to the next owner in case he or she feels differently.) Original power is a beautiful thing, certainly a decision to be considered. I believe a properly well maintained or rebuilt original engine will give hours and hours of service. Yes the ethanol will eventually kill us all and leave us in a Mad Max style wasteland of forging for non ethanol fuel, but I haven’t seen even a modern marine engine yet rated for these prophetic conditions. The answer is that there is no right answer. Do what you think is right…….it’s your boat!

  22. Al Benton

    Well, we got some good reaction from the posed questions regarding re-powering with a modern engine in an old boat. Only one feels that the time has come to rewrite the ACBS Mission Statement, once that was brought up.

    I haven’t attended an ACBS judged show but would like to, maybe this Sept in Wisconsin. I’m restoring an early post-war boat and will be using as-original power (original engine is long gone) and I plan to “use” the boat for its intended function as well as taking it to a few shows. Shows are fun and are as much a part of our “Lifestyle” as just going to the lake and enjoying life in an old boat, an old boat with original power, as long as I can do it safely.

    My intent is to restore this boat as close as possible to “as delivered” and try to keep it that way as long as possible. For today, that includes the engine, it’s as much a part of its heritage and history as the rest of the boat is (will be). At this point, it’s because of the ACBS mission statement. That and the fact that the old flathead 6 sounds right for these old boats.

  23. Al Benton

    Oh, I meant to ask why aviation fuel doesn’t contain ethanol. Why is that? Does anyone know? Just curious.

  24. m-fine

    Aviation fuel has to be certified by the FAA and the engines have to be certified to use any new grade. The current avgas is called 100LL or “low lead” and is 100 octane leaded gasoline dating way back. It is actually quite high in lead, and only low in comparison to earlier aviation mixes. Converting this fuel to ethanol based fuel would destroy the general aviation industry because it would cost much more to convert and recertify a plane than what most planes are worth. You can’t just change stuff willy nilly because a clogged carb on a plane could mean a bunch of people die, it’s not like a car or boat at all!

    As for the ACBS mission statement, I think the people running ACBS for the last couple of decades need to go back and read it themselves and think about what it means. Does ACBS really represent all aspects of the hobby/lifestyle today? Does preserving a plank of wood translate into preserving the history and lifestyle? Go read all five or six lines of their mission statement and then look at the Hagerty survey results, read the comments here and other places about how wood boaters are all old and dying out, and then go out on the water and look at how old boats are being used and by whom. My local ACBS chapter is way out of touch with the vast majority of owners in the area. Some may be much better, but all in all, I think ACBS has a lot of issues relating to younger people and people of all ages who are more interested in keeping their boat on the water than going to shows. Over 50% of the people active enough in the hobby to take the Hagerty survey have not attended a show in over two years. If you could somehow reach all the owners who are not active here and in the clubs, I think the non show going percentage would be much higher. For many many owners, shows are of little interest, yet where has ACBS been focused? See the disconnect?

  25. mikem

    I am getting a kick out of all this jibber jabber. Most of the answers here are tilted towards the “reliability” of “modern” power. I think the reason for that is because all of the old timers I know (70’s & 80’s) who are still happily using old, 6V systems don’t use a computer much and don’t know what the hell Woodyboater is! I guarantee you that at any local workshop or club function the old timers in the group can prove these old engines are quite reliable, if maintained. I know many guys who put hundreds of hours on old engines every year. No problems. And if there is a problem, on a well maintained engine, it’s an easy fix…usually ignition. As for me, I go both ways. My ’29 Chris has a “modern”, if you call 1960 “modern”, 283 in it while I went to great lengths to find correct power for my other ’29. Why? It made sense to me for each situation. It’s different for everyone, but don’t tell me the old engines aren’t reliable.

  26. chad

    Yeah… I’ll echo what Mike said (except the “going both ways” part).

  27. Texx

    Thanks to everyone for your comments and insight on the subject of power options for your classic boat.

    We enjoy doing these viewer participation stories which provide a forum for folks to openly speak their minds and share ideas with the Woody Boater community.

    Stay tuned next week for, “Boat Shows – Can’t Live With Them or Can’t Live Without Them?”

  28. Ronald

    After being in the hobby for maybe 20 years or more which is a short time compared to many others, the two wood user boats I have both have been repowered, I do believe with todays proper ignition components old engines are very reliable, It is also cheaper and easier in the long run to just install a 283/327 chevrolet out of early 60’s C/C than it is to rebuild an old flathead 6, I went that route once a few short years ago and had a hard time finding internal parts, having said all that because of all the reproduction triple cockpit etc. being produced when I go to a boat show and see hatches open with 454 chevrolets I move on because they all are mostly the same, When you see a Scripps,Liberty, A120 CC, Kermath or whatever old engine it may be, it gets my attention/respect because I know what lengths the owner/restorer went to to have that engine in that boat. As for the ACBS, I also think they are out of touch, When we go to a boat show it is mostly an ACBS show that charges for National club dues and then must join the local club and pay their dues then pay for the boat show entrance fee. I have been to many car shows and motorcycle events all over the country and have never experienced this except fot ACBS shows, I would not be paying my dues but I want to support my local show, A coulple of times I forgot to pay them in a timely manner after Jan 1st and both times I received a recrutment call reminding me that if I did not send my money in I would not either get my name in their directory or not get one at all, In my opinion in this day of cyberspace the directory is an expensive joke, after 30 minutes or so I do not look at it again for the most part. In the current issue the president states we are holding the best magazine in the industry, It has come a long way but only after CCABC raised the bar to what a wood boat mag should really look like. I will get off my soapbox now.

    • m-fine

      The differene between CCABC and ACBS is night and day. It starts from the moment you decide to join. CCABC has an online form and accepts credit cards and paypal. To join my local ACBS club I need to print out a form, fill it in, write a check (what’s that?) and then put one of them old fashioned stamp things on it and send it by pony express. They lost me at print.

  29. Texx

    Thanks for your comments Ronald. We encourage and enjoy Soapbox discussions here at Woody Boater.

    You are welcome to drag out the old Soapbox any time you feel the need to say what’s on your mind about the subject of the day.

  30. Gary

    Wow! You knew this topic would bring some passionate comments. But, like many people in this hobby, I love the feeling that I can play a small role in preserving a piece of history for my kids. Accordingly, I will always side for original power. That being said, I have no qualms about anyone doing whatever they want with their boats. What I find appealing about our hobby is that there are a multitude of reasons why people own wooden boats, and they are all good! In my mind, one is not better than the other. Anyone’s choice of power is very much respected by me.
    A few comments regarding the ACBS and the boat shows. I personally am very thankful for all the hard work the ACBS, and it’s affiliated clubs, render to advance our hobby. Last I heard, no one in the management of these organizations was getting rich by volunteering their time. If people are unhappy about the way things are run, they can certainly get involved and lend a hand.
    As far as the shows are concerned, I have been fortunate to exhibit my boat in many of them, and have won a multitude of awards. I do take exception to the notion that this is a dying hobby. I know that when I am at the shows, there are large numbers of younger people. The ACBS is very actively involved in trying to reach out to our youth. The reason that all of the interest appears to be with the older people is that they are generally the ones with the money to afford the boats. I can tell you with certainty, that my 10 year old is as passionate about our wooden boat as I am, As far as “trailer queens” being “preserved” in better than original condition, I fail to see why that is a bad thing for the people that choose to do that. I grew up during the era of the muscle cars and I guarantee you that many of the “preserved” cars I see today are way better than the originals. I doubt that the Big Three anticipated these cars being collectors items when they were built!
    I compete with my boat, and when it is not at the shows, it stays on the lake I live on, and is USED constantly. Judging by the responses I get from age groups through the entire spectrum, I do not concur that persons interested in this hobby will soon be extinct. Our hobby is what we, as it’s keepers make of it. I refuse to take the negative point of view, and always do things in my power to advance our cause.
    Thank you ACBS. Thank you boat shows, and thank you to each and every one of you that thinks its’ important to keep these old boats around- no matter what power is in them.

  31. Chad

    I’m with Gary on every comment.

    I use the hell out of my boat and also attend many shows. I should also add that I get more damage to my boat by attending shows than I do from everyday, or “heavy” usage.

    There is no reason a SHOW boat cannot be a USER boat at the same time. Many boats at shows have been on the circuit for years and still win awards. They look good because owners take care of them, putting in the time and effort to maintain them after each and every use. Often the “cost” to keeping them looking good is blood, sweat & tears. It’s not always the expensive or fresh restoration boats that walk away with an award.

    Hats off to the ACBS, the “clubs” and countless volunteers for doing a great job at keeping the hobby alive. Exposing people, especially children, to wooden boats is great for the hobby. I see no sign of it dwindling or dying.

  32. thomas d.

    my ’47 chris craft runabout has a k model 95 hp and gets between 3 (at speed) & 4 (at idle) miles per gallon but i wouldn’t change it out. it always cranks and so far is reliable and always sounds great.