Last week fellow Woody Boater Royce Humphreys shared this great story of Ed Bradley and his wife Mary Delle from Lake Okoboji, and their classic 1968 Donzi 18′ 2+3 speedboat. (Royce is the fellow that will be representing the Donzi marque with his 19′ Hornet in this summer’s first ever Woody Boater “Classic Fiberglass Shootout” challenging Alex and his Chris-Craft XK-19 – More on that later…)
Texx – Here is the story of Jeff Farrar’s 1968 Donzi 18 that his family has owned since new.
Jeff’s grandfather, Ed Bradley owned a summer home on West Lake Okoboji in Northwest Iowa. The family had owned a 1947 Higgins utility that was replaced by a then new 1955 18′ Chris-Craft Continental from Fred Wilson at Wilson Boat Works. The family had the Continental until 1966 when Ed purchased a new 1966 Donzi 16′ Ski Sporter. That boat was white with a blue boot stripe, but unfortunately we don’t have any photos of that exact Donzi.
Then, in early 1968, Ed and his wife Mary Delle were in Miami, Florida attending the Miami International Boat Show. They saw the Yellow Donzi 18′ 2+3 at the Miami show and Ed was immediately enamoured with boat. After the show, Mary Delle and Ed were driving back to Omaha, Nebraska (about 50 miles outside of Miami) and as Mary Delle stated years later, she said…
“Ed, I am not going to listen to you talking about that Donzi all the way back to Nebraska, if you want it, then turn this Cadillac around and go buy the thing!”
And that’s exactly what they did! At the next off ramp, they turned around, returned to Miami and ordered their new 1968 Donzi 2+3.
According to the family records, their new Donzi 2+3 was not built until September of 1968 according to the original bill of sale (shown below). The boat underwent a major restoration in 1990 by a local Marina where the hull had new Awl Grip and the engine and drive overhauled. The Bradley Family Donzi 18′ has been a local lake legend ever since. Ed Bradley passed away in 1975 and Mary Delle passed in 2003. Later in 2003, their daughter, Terri passed and her son Jeff Farrar is now the “conservator” of the family Donzi.
Here are some recent photos of Jeff enjoying the family Donzi 18′ 2+3.
Enjoy! – Royce Humphreys
Thanks Royce… Great story! After reviewing these recent photos of Jeff heading out for a spin in his classic Donzi, I couldn’t help but notice Jeff’s passenger. Have you ever been invited to go for a ride in a classic V-8 powered speedboat, quickly accepted, jumped aboard and then thought to yourself “What have I done, and what the Heck am I going to hang on to??!!” I know I have… Hey – I went for a ride of a lifetime in Hutch’s V-8 powered Jersey Speed Skiff last year, and a vintage Unlimited Hydroplane… I know the feeling.
Is that what Jeff’s passenger was thinking here as they left the dock? And Jeff has that certain look on his face as if to say “Let’s show this guy what a Donzi can really do.” (You can click on the photos to enlarge them)
Royce added – BTW, here are a few shots of a 1969 Donzi 16′ Ski Sporter (similar to the first Donzi Ed & Mary Delle owned back in the 60’s), that Jeff’s brother Brad bought on Thanksgiving day in 2005, just to add to the Farrar family fleet!