Last week’s “Classic Fiberglass Shootout” between a ’71 Century Arabian and 1970 Chris-Craft XK-19 was fun, and spawned over 180 comments from the Woody Boater community. After all the official votes were counted, the Century Arabian received the most votes by a slim margin of just two votes. If you missed the story you can see it by clicking here.
On the same day the shootout story was running, we received an e-mail from fellow Woody Boater Royce who resides in Lake Okoboji, in Northwest Iowa. Royce owns a number of classic wooden boats and fiberglass boats, including a very cool, very original 1972 Donzi Hornet that began life on Lake Tahoe. He thought his classic Donzi Hornet was also a worthy candidate for the early 70’s classic fiberglass shootout, running as an “Independent”… but I just didn’t have the heart to throw Royce into that mud-slinging, bar brawl between Alex & Mike. But wait, we have another idea…
Love your website as I am a certified boat nut. I am a boat lover and enjoy both fiberglass glass and wood boats, also appreciate everyone’s own opinion. I currently own a few Centurys that I enjoy, a 1960 Ski Dart, a 1966 Coronado, and a 1968 Resorter than I am in the process of varnishing and also own few classic fiberglass boats as well. I am in the middle of a frame up restoration on a 1936 Chris-Craft 16′ Racing Runabout.
The commentary on the shootout is hilarious and very good natured, but I feel that you are missing a boat on this shootout of the Chris-Craft XK-19 vs the Century Arabian. How about a 1972 Donzi Hornet to add some fuel to the fire? LOL.
I purchased my very original 1972 Donzi Hornet in 2000 from the second owner in Scottsdale, Arizona. All original, 350 CID – 320 HP Chris-Craft Conversion engine with the Volvo 270 outdrive. Left hand steer, all original gelcoat, interior has been replaced and was replicated exactly from the original. The boat was sold new by Sierra Boat Works in Lake Tahoe in 1972.
I owned a V-drive Century Arabian and my mechanic grew up in the boat business at his aunt and uncle’s Chris Craft dealership, so he has ridden in a few XK-19 V-drives. He has told me how they all thought the XK’s vibrated and the decks were flimsy. I can attest that the build quality on the Donzi Hornet is excellent to say the least, and the ride charactheristics are in my honest opinion, far superior to the Arabian. As I have not driven an XK-19, I can’t pass judgement there. Maybe the stern drive option would not make it on the list. Let me know if you want pictures.
Thanks for all of the provocative thoughts and fun reading!
Kind Regards – Royce
Thanks for your comments and cool photos Royce.
Here are a few shots of an original Donzi Hornet brochure from 1972, courtesy of the Donzi Registry. I have to admit that what I know about Donzi boats can be written on the head of a pin… In other words – Nothing. But they sure look cool and have a reputation for performance, design and build quality. Also you can click here to learn more about Don Aronow who founded Donzi Marine in 1964 – It’s quite a story. (You can click on the Donzi Hornet spec sheet below to enlarge it.)
So here’s our fantasy plan… We thought it would be fun to contact fellow Woody Boater and Hessel Reporter Alex Watson and see if he’s up for another challenge with his fleet of fiberglass Chris-Crafts. Then we would see if we could talk Royce into dragging his classic Donzi to a lake of their choosing, neutral ground, for a live shootout next summer organized by Woody Boater.
It’s a stretch but it would certainly be fun to see these two classics performing side by side, and how they do against each other… almost like a vintage Motor Trend shootout from the early 1970’s only on the water with two cool V-8 powered runabouts. Woody Boater would cover the big event live and supply the wieners for lunch. Then we could recruit fellow Woody Boater Mike Mayer (top vote getter at the last classic fiberglass shootout) to join us at the shootout to act as our official, unbiased test driver during the live water tests and numerous performance challenges TBA.