With the recent announcement that our friends at the Antique Boat Center in Cincinnati, Ohio were named as a modern Chris-Craft boat dealer – it was interesting to see some of the feedback from our viewers following yesterday’s story. Some loved the modern fiberglass Chris-Craft models, and others were not as quick to jump on board with the new models – preferring to stay with the older versions of the iconic marque. An architect once told me “Texx – People have different tastes… Some people like Italian food and some poeple like Japanese food… You can’t please everybody.”
Here at Woody Boater we are very impressed with the styling and attention to detail of the modern Chris-Craft models and think the Antique Boat Center will do great as an official Chris-Craft dealer.
Matt commented yesterday – “Chris-Craft has perfectly tied in it’s new designs with a respect to it’s past. This is no easy task by the way, many old brands rely on sentiment and history to carry the day and fail. Time marches on, but values and great design stay true.”
For anyone who follows the new car business, you can only imagine what the designers are faced with in terms of developing new and innovative car designs. Unfortunately, in todays world many domestic and import cars are beginning to look the same… In some cases automotive design is becoming a “Me Too” business, as the designers all try to incorporate the same features and styling into the car designs to remain competitive. Today it’s often difficult to tell the difference between a Kia and a Toyota, Mazda or even some domestic brands.
The designers at Chris-Craft have produced a great lineup for 2013 with designs that remain true to the iconic brand while avoiding that “Me Too” design philosophy – Not an easy task to say the least. You can see the entire line of modern Chris-Craft boats by Clicking Here.
Design change is nothing new to the Chris-Craft brand. One of the best examples of this was in 1929 when Chris-Craft decided to make some styling changes to the popular triple cockpit runabouts in the early years of the Great Depression. Many other wooden boat companies from the same period did not survive the depression. Thankfully for us, Chris-Craft did survive.
To this day, 80 years later, the unique “Upswept Deck” triple cockpit runabouts are still some of the most collectible models of the early Chris-Craft years. Today’s photos feature a beautifully preserved 1929 28′ Chris-Craft triple cockpit runabout simply named “Jack” – which is cared for by Tom Mertaugh and his crew from Classic & Antique Boats in Hessel, Michigan. “Jack” still uses most of it’s original wood from 1929 and is fantastic to see in action around Hessel, MI.
This innovative styling change is described in the book:
Chris-Craft Boats by Anthony Mollica Jr. & Jack Savage
Upswept Deck Runabouts
With sales of the standard 26-foot Chris-Craft triple flat in spite of substantial overall growth, it was time for some restyling. After all, 26-footers were – with some modifications – more or less the same boats that came off the drawing board in 1922 and may have started looking a little stale. Other makers were starting to make styling changes, so the Chris-Craft would change as well.
The result was the upswept deck style, a design thought to be Bill MacKerer’s first real design work for the company. The forward deck rose gradually as it approached to the windshield, and louvered vents replaced chrome portholes along the raised engine compartment, which was also upswept at the rear to mimic the forward deck. – Anthony Mollica Jr. & Jack Savage
Brian Robinson from Robinson Restoration commented – “All upswepts were raised decks, the first with this feature being the 1928 26′ Hydro at the 1928 New York Boat Show. Then the 28′ in 1929, the 26′ early in 1929. The 24′ and 22′ models in 1930.”
The Legend of Chris-Craft Lives On Even Today
Fellow Woody Boater and contributor Dane Anderson has a keen eye for classic boats. He sent us an e-mail last night to say “I have been chuckling to myself all day (easily amused) – Is it just me or is there something strikingly similar between the modern Chris-Craft shown in Friday’s story and the modern Hot Tub Boat in Thursday’s story?”
All we can say is – The Legend of Chris-Craft Lives On Even Today!