Yesterday in Part 1 of the “Rowdy Dow” story, Tommy Mertaugh of Classic and Antique Boats in Hessel, Michigan and our Hessel-based reporter, Alex Watson outlined how “Rowdy Dow” made it back to Michigan after 80 years. Now that the very original 1930 Chris-Craft Model 99 is back in Michigan, it’s time to begin the intense restoration work which started just a few weeks ago. Once again, Heeeeeerrrrrre’s TOMMY…
As you can see, there’s a lot to be done. So it’s time to move the 81 year old Chris-Craft in to the shop and get started with the restoration.
The current owner for whom we are doing the restoration is James Churilo of Ossineke, MI, a small town on the eastern coast of Michigan (on Lake Huron), about 2-1/2 hours from our shop. Mr. Churilo has ordered a total restoration.
For a boat of this age and condition, that means extensive wood replacement, built around the original boat, per the correct ACBS protocol. While it’s regrettable none of the original wood can be retained, it’s still special to know the boat we’re starting with is original 1930.
One thing we know the owner will appreciate. With a project / pattern boat like this, we customarily extract the original hull stampings and embed them into their replacement components, retaining this charming piece of the boat’s history with the boat.
Mr. Churilo’s boat will receive a new 5200 bottom, including keel, frames, chines, and engine stringers. It will also receive completely new hull sides and decks. Those we will secure with West System.
Per our recommendation to Mr. Churilo, we will re-power “Rowdy Dow”, while preserving the original Gray Marine engine, to ensure it remains with the boat. There are two reasons for repowering. First, the original motor is simply inadequate to move the boat when there are a few passengers. Second, reliability is of significant importance to Mr. Churilo. We’re considering a few options at this time. One is a Chris-Craft KLC, making 120 hp. The other would be a 3.0 Litre Marine Power motor, with 146 hp.
It will be interesting to see what WoodyBoater readers might recommend as other power alternatives. The previous Model 99 Chris-Craft we recently restored “Serendipity”, which came from Red Wing MN, was in slightly better shape than “Rowdy Dow”. But, in the end, it will probably need all the same work as “Serendipity” to make it a safe, lasting boat. We saved the stringers, but that was about it. We didn’t re-power that boat, as it already came with a 92 hp Ace, which was a nice choice for the boat. No doubt a previous owner also saw the need to re-power for more speed.
The interior will be all new, of course, as will be the wiring. And the boat’s existing hardware and gauges will be restored, including the original three-hole dash panel, as will be its beautifully-styled, original 4-spoke steering wheel.
Since “Rowdy Dow” was delivered May 21, 1930, we are committed to delivering the restored boat in May 2012, on or around its 82nd birthday. I can imagine no nicer present for such a pretty boat than a second lease on life!
Woody Boater readers who are also Facebook members can follow the step-by-step renaissance of “Rowdy Dow”, and watch other cool winter projects take shape, by becoming a “Friend” of the Mertaugh family’s shop. Look them up in Facebook as “Classic Boats” . You can also visit Classic and Antique Boats at their website by clicking here.
Special thanks to Tommy Mertaugh and Alex Watson for preparing this special 2 Day story for Woody Boater… Great work guys! We will provide a project update as work moves along on this unique and rare 1930 Model 99 Chris-Craft which is scheduled be completed in time for her 82nd birthday in May 2012 – Just 6 months from now!