We got this great story last night from long time Woody Boater Paul ( Reporting from the side of the road ) Harrison. Funny thing about these cool Plastic classic boats, they bring a smile to all those who have been touched by one of them. Today, it’s a killer rare 1965 Glastron! Take it away Paul…
If readers of WB know me at all, it is a a dedicated boat guy who has a couple of boats, gets around the countryside a bit and has assorted mishaps and misadventures (and lots of fun) while doing so. It was not long ago however that I was just a normal guy, going about my life in a pretty banal and mundane manner. But, then it changed and it all started with just one boat – just one boat, what can it hurt? It’ll be fun, right? Just try it this one time….
In August of 1993 my soon-to-be wife and I went with friends to a local lake in Alberta for an afternoon on the water – in a late model ski boat (we knew no better- I am ashamed!). Meeting us there was another friend, who obviously knew much better than us and brought what he reported to be his newly acquired 1969 Glastron Futura 500 V-164 – a very cute little sport boat. I loved it, it was a cool red and white, it went pretty fast and was completely and absolutely distinctive. The owner and his wife called it “The Rocket”, and 15 years before I knew what a Chris Craft Rocket was, we started referring to this as “The Rocket”. She had obviously been well cared for and I thought it was awesome. What I then knew about boats could have been written on the head of a pin, but I knew I liked this one more than any new boat I had seen.
We learned our friend Brian was the second owner, it had been bought by a car dealer in Saskatoon new and used during the short boating season in that frigid, dry province ever since. That accounted for the sound condition. There was not much more to be learned about it in those pre-internet days. We continued to see this boat periodically over the years, and even ride in it or drive if occasionally. Even before we had a cabin I was always asking if he was ready to sell it. We bought our lake property in 2001 and the boat came to visit now and then. It was still in good shape and rarely used. Every year I asked “is it time to let her go, Brian?” No, not yet was the reply. Finally, in 2006 while out at the cabin for Easter, the annual call was made and the answer was “well, maybe it is time” I pounced and when I got home to Calgary, the deal was done.
The first thing I did was determine what I had suspected for years – it was older than 1969 – it was a 1965. The Glastron guys have a very active website and it is very informative. In retrospect, the relationship started as I now know many owner/classic boat relationships seem to. The 800 hour engine wasn’t breathing too well. It was really a 30’ boat – meaning it looked good from 30 feet but closer examination revealed some cosmetic challenges. I used it through 2006 and really enjoyed it. But it wouldn’t breathe right so I sent it in to get the bone stock original Mercruiser 120 rebuilt. Once that was done it ran great, but now the upholstery was wanting, and the spider cracking caused by shrunken gel coat seemed more noticeable to me. So, for not the last time I made the financially reckless choice of sending it in for restoration – this was in the spring of 2007. The restoration proved a challenge and the fellow doing the work was and is both meticulous and honest, and that made for a long restoration time line. He stood by his quote, but had to totally redo the gelcoat twice because he was not happy. I respected his commitment to doing it correctly and was happy to let the time slide in return for the honesty and quality that he presented to me in our dealings.
Meanwhile, in the summer of 2007 I kept thinking about how much I missed that little boat, and how much I loved it – it felt great to be on the water with something that few others had, and as a boat it worked very well. So I started wonder, what other boats are around? I need something, a fix, what’ll it be this time? Something bigger, older, faster? Got to find something…I need another cool boat, I kept thinking in the back of my mind. By then I had been on Shuswap Lake for 7 years+ and had seen precisely 1 wooden boat and few old fiberglass boats. At that point in the spring of 2007, the only other boat I owned was a large and much-used and enjoyed pontoon boat. Later that summer, in August, we bought our first wooden classic, and later that fall our second. I was almost helpless by then, fully in the grasp of the addiction, or lifestyle as Matt and Texx prefer to call it. I guess one can fashion a lifestyle from an addiction, and it was a full-on passion/addiction for me from then on. I now own 10 classic boats and share ownership in 2 others. These comprise many different styles and hull materials and eras. I knew no prejudices when I bought The Rocket and I know none now.
This little 16’ 4’ Glastron is without a doubt the start of all of this for me. It turns out that this is a very rare Glastron – no production records are available but I have only ever seen on other (Field of Dreams, Sunnyland show in 2009 of all places), and it is quite sought after. I know of about three others in use – one in Iceland! Although it has only been 5 years since I bought my first wooden boat and 6 since I bought the Glastron, the seeds were sown the day I first saw it in 1993. The unseen monster was dormant, but once awakened it leapt upon me with full fury. For some guys the trigger is seeing a wooden boat or car like they saw or used in their youth or childhood. Not me – I just liked this one, and as it turns out – many others!This boat unlocked it all. We use the Futura 500 extensively, it is relatively smooth and quick and visually it really pops – the car guys seem to really like it – from comments received at Keels and Wheels shows anyway. For Karen and I, this fiberglassic was the true gateway into classic boating, and to this day I still have a strong affinity for early glass boats –as we obviously also have for most old boats.
Photo Credit for Tyson Konecny, my friend and fellow Okanagan Antique and Classic Boat Society Member – he took all the shots.
If you want to dive in for more info on Classic Glastrons.. you guessed it, there is a website and a VERY active fun group. These guys show up at various shows and wow the crowd. Here is that very site. classicglastron.com