Shortly after Matt & I arrived in Algonac, Michigan for the 2012 Michigan Chapter Antique & Classic Boat Show, we were introduced to an amazing father & son team who recently restored this very cool 1967 Chris-Craft 42′ Commander.
I’m not sure if I should be using the word “restored” or “preserved” to describe what they did to bring this spectacular 42′ Commander back to life, but they did it all themselves – from the woodwork, to fiberglass work, to mechanical, to even the upholstery, they did it all themselves which is truly remarkable.
Todd Eib (the son and owner of “42 Reasons”) has been boating his entire life, as his father Chuck was a very successful and long time drag boat racer. In 2005, Todd bought the family boat from his father, an original, unrestored, 1982 Chris Craft 390SL Scorpion (38 produced between 1981 & 1984). Often referred to as the Gentleman’s Offshore, it was outfitted with heavily modified twin 525 cu.in. big blocks, producing over 635HP per engine. The engines were also built by his father Chuck and as he described it “For a heavy old dog, she has some get-up and go…”
Since Todd was a kid, he always dreamed of some day owning a classic boat he could live on during the summer and he decided that the Chris-Craft Commanders were perfect for that purpose. Finally a few years ago, with the help of his father, they started looking at Commanders online and some for sale in the Metro Detroit area. They searched long and hard, came close to finding what they wanted a few times, and finally found the 1967 Commander (FBA 420029 then named “Mouse Trap”) in Northern Michigan.
At the time, the big Commander had been on dry-dock in heated storage for 4 years after the owner (the 4th owner of the boat) “Saw Jesus in a Wave” during his 2nd ever trip in the boat, and parked it.
After a number of detailed inspections and some serious soul searching, on Mother’s Day 2012 Todd took delivery of the 42′ Commander and immediately proceeded to, as he say’s “Completely Gut It” from top to bottom.
In 1967 the stylish 42′ Commander was launched by Chris-Craft as a brand-new model. It was described in the sales brochure as… “Completely different from the ordinary type of double-cabin flybridge cruiser. There’s more room, both on deck and belowdecks. The cabin extends all the way to the transom, which provides a spacious sundeck topside. The longer superstructure means more window area, and thus a brighter aft cabin.”
“Throughout the boat there’s room to move around and room to entertain. And headroom is 6’2″ and up. The master stateroom aft is extra-large, with two wide berths, large wardrobes, and an adjoining toilet room with a standard shower. Amidships is a salon which rivals larger vessels for roominess and convenience. The layout is warm and hospitable, and it features twin lounges on either side of a dining table which can be lowered to coffee table height.”
Below is a rendering of the 42′ Commander from the Chris-Craft sales brochure, note the cool period seating arangement on the topside sundeck.
So before we start our short tour of “47 Reasons” as she looks today, here’s a map from the sales brochure so you don’t get lost… (It’s kind of like the pre-flight routine when you fly American Airlines…)
In 1967 “42 Reasons” was built by Chris-Craft in their Holland, Michigan plant and, according to the information Todd has, was originally purchased from Gregory Boat Company in Detroit (for $58,400.00 in 1967) and owned by the late Detroit underworld legend Anthony Joseph Giacalone, better known as “Tony Jack” Giacalone. (I found a photo of “Tony Jack” but was afraid to post it here…)
The story goes that “Tony Jack” came to public notice in the 1970s during investigations into the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, as he was one of two Mafia members – the other being Anthony Provenzano – that Hoffa was to meet the day he (Hoffa) disappeared…
The 47′ Commander was originally powered by Twin-300 HP Chris-Craft 427’s, and is now powered by Twin-350 HP 454 Crusaders with Velvet Drives. Weighing it at around 24,000 pounds, the big Commander has a top crusing speed of 16-17 knots @ 3,000 RPM. We love the original styling of those futuristic instrument housings and controls from 1967, and the attention to detail by Todd and his father is remarkable.
Today “42 Reasons” proudly flys the Detroit Yacht Club flag (and DYC coasters) which is where it lives, and where Todd lives on the boat as much as he can during the summer. The historic Detroit Yacht Club was founded in 1868.
The 1967 Commander was the only year that Chris-Craft featured a full mahogany interior for this model, and every inch of the wood has been preserved by Todd and his father. Also, they focused on respectfully retaining as much of the original styling, materials and design features from 1967 as possible, while carefully incorporating modern navigation equipment and power for safe, reliable cruising.
The extra-large master state room offers lots of usable space, and the Chris-Craft designers incorporated lots of natural light in to the space which is great. Everything from the curtains, upholstery and even the light fixtures maintain the original 1967 styling.
On Sunday Todd invited fellow Woody Boaters Richard & Kathy Gambino and I to joining them aboard “42 Reasons” for the cruise over The Old Club of Harsens Island for Sunday brunch. It was my first real experience riding on a big classic cruiser and it was fabulous. It was also impressive to learn how all the new fangled GPS navigation equipment worked, as Todd knows and uses it well.