Last week Woody Boater featured a story about a very cool, very classic Donzi Hornet 19 owned by fellow Woody Boater Royce from Lake Okoboji, in Northwest Iowa. The story generated a great deal of interest from the Woody Boater Community, and has led to what we hope will be an offical “Classic Fiberglass Shootout” next summer.
Fellow Woody Boater Alex Watson, who will be representing the Chris-Craft XK-19 model at the shootout e-mailed me late last week to say “Hey Texx – There’s no ice on the water up here in Hessel yet, why wait till summer… I can have my XK-19 ready to launch tomorrow!” Well, after some careful consideration (about 30 seconds), we decided to wait until next summer when the weather is warm, the water is warm, and we can convince some hot models (women not boats) to attend the official photo shoot in conjunction with the shootout. (Wait – a photo shoot at a shootout… this is getting complicated)
Since that story ran we have been learning more about the Donzi Marque, and we can honestly say that the more we learn about these classic Donzi speedboats, the more we have come to appreciate just how cool these boats really are. Yesterday we received some additional information from Matty and the guys at the Lake George Donzi Classic Club that we thought would be fun to share with the Woody Boater community.
Texx – The Lake George Donzi Classic Club is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Donzi classics and the people that love them. We run 2 yearly events, the first event is the “Spring Dustoff”. This event has been run every Father’s Day weekend on Lake George, New York for the past 16 years, 17th this year. The club is a resource for the people who want, love, own or restore these great classic boats. The club also wants to preserve the history surrounding the classics. The club has enjoyed honored guests at the “Spring Dustoff”. Michael Aronow – son of the famous Donzi racer and builder Don Aronow. The legendary Walt Walters who designed most of the classics (including the Chris-Craft XK) has also been our guest. It was truly special to see the man who designed and built these boats in the 1960’s, once again have the opportunity to see some of those very same boats alive and well some 40 years later on Lake George.
Our members also help with the cause. Paul Herzan has been key in getting a lot of the history and drawings of the classic Donzi speedboats donated to museums for future generations to see and learn. Many of our members have taken upon themselves to make key restoration parts and components, decals, scripts, knobs and other accessories. They have made these available to other members to help with their restoration needs. Friendships have grown, long expeditions to find the rare barn find boats are common, or the long weekend trip to help a member with a project.
The club presents awards at the show for outstanding members, most original, longest traveled, best restoration, peoples choice, best resto-mod, and oldest classic at the show. To help the members learn the history of the Donzi Marque we have a yearly trivia contest, the winners have there name placed on “The Golden Prop of Knowledge” and after the show, there is a full lake cruise followed by lunch and an awards dinner held at the Algonquin restaurant on the lake at Bolton Landing. We run the cruise with the permission of the Lake Commission as we also like to promote our lake and safe responsible power boating.
The second less formal event is our “Family Picnic” which is held the weekend after labor day each year. It is a laid back event (not to say that the Dustoff event is not laid back) but with awards and judging we do need to keep somewhat on schedule. At the fall picnic we welcome all sorts of classic and Aronow designed boats. It is more of a pack you own lunch or favorite recipe to share with others, grab a ride in a different model (boat not woman) or style boat, keep the grill running all day and enjoy each other’s company while riding around a few times during the day in some great classic boats.
We have started to document the boats and the history of them as well. We will be launching an updated website in the near future, but for now if you would like to see more photos of the annual “Dustoff” and “Family Picnic” or learn more about our club, you can visit our website and gallery section at www.lgdonziclassic.com or by clicking here.
Matty – Lake George Donzi Classic Club,
“Keeping the Donzi Mystique Alive”
Thanks Matty… Here’s a few shots of another beautiful Donzi, this one is a very rare 1968 Bench Seat Hornet. This boat is owned by Paul Herzan and underwent a total restoration over a 3 year period. The deck was removed and all coring, transom and stringers were replaced.
The boat was done in its original yellow color gel coat. Every single thing on this Donzi was put back to the way it was when it left the factory in 1968 except the power. The boat originally had a 289 Holman Moody Ford with a Volvo 250 drive. We repowered it with a Mercrusier 383 Scorpion stroker motor with a Bravo drive. It’s a hand full!!!
As we were preparing this story, Matty had a great idea, he said “Texx – Reading your article last week gave me an idea… The flags on the side of the early Donzi represented victories won… Why don’t we continue that tradition?”
“Our club will donate a Donzi flag and we need to find someone to donate Chris-Craft flag. The victor of the Woody Boater “Classic Fiberglass Shoot Out” will capture the opponents colors and bragging rights!”
“If you need anything “Donzi” the knowledge and help of the club is at your service.” – Matty
Great idea Matty, and we have the connections to get our hands on a period correct Chris-Craft flag for the shootout. One of the first things you will notice if you ever do any research on Donzi boats is how they seem to attract women in bathing suites, both the classic boats and more recent Donzi Marine photos seem to share that trend, and who’s going to argue with that – Right Guys?
Special Thanks to Donzi Marine for sharing these beautiful images with us, you can see more cool Donzi boats at www.donzimarine.com or by simply clicking here. (Go to the Z-Homepage at the top and click on Donzi Girls)
Happy Holidays! – Matt & Texx