Eric and his Plastic go cruising

Thanks to the future single Woody Boater Eric Zelman sent us in this fun story. I will add, that there is nothing more fun than bringing home a mess, and spending the weekend getting her out on the water having fun. That is Woody Boating at its best, even if its plastic boating! Take it away Eric!

“Plastic Pre-Restoric”

Following in the footsteps of Captain Matt, and coincidentally days prior to last Thursdays story on collecting boats, I acquired another one.
While visiting my son in WI, I scanned the used boat ads to see if I spotted anything interesting. Several classic boats popped up, one caught my eye as it had a low asking price, gator trailer, 85 HP outboard and the boat was a 1960 something Hydrodyne 1600. I arranged to have a look and rerouted my return trip back to VA.

The boat repair shop had a few “projects”, really only two caught my eye; an old Aristo Craft sedan with slide back roof and the Hyrodyne 1600.
Picture Aristo Craft – Aristo Craft glass looking sharp

Picture of Hydrodyne – save me from the junk yard!

The sedan was cool but too large and expensive for an impulse buy so I looked over the Hydro. All of the fittings were there except for the stern light and all were in good shape, just one bump in the rub rail, a victim of a dock piling. Ride Guide steering and Airguide speedo. The windshield was loose but in ok shape and all fittings accounted for. There were snaps for a top but that was long gone. A cool feature is the floating “Glide-Ride” front seat that floats on a shock absorber and 2 large springs.
Picture of Glide-Ride seat – designed by astronauts!

Picture of seat upholstery – Designer-Builder Ab Crosby coat of arms

Deck Hardware – Cool Light


No visible cracks in the outer hull but one on the inner floor. Having just completed a stringer, transom, floor replacement on a 14’ “Leak N Sink” I figured there was some work needed but perhaps this would hold up for a while. I asked about the engine and the man said the previous owner had it running. The last year registered was 2005 so I was skeptical but when the cowl was removed it revealed what looked like a replacement amplifier and some gasket work had been done. The head turned so we buttoned her back up.
He was asking $500, we settled at $299. I figured worst case I had at least $300 in parts there. 30 minutes later I was hitched up, bearing buddies loaded with grease and on my way. It was dark when I arrived home, pulled in the driveway and didn’t say a thing to Jill.
Picture of boat in driveway – Honey, guess what followed me home?

Next morning, we got up and headed out for our walk with the dogs, she didn’t react, not a word. It was a “quiet” walk…..Back at the house, “I can’t believe you brought that home”, “What are you going to do with that?”. It’s for the dogs I said-
Two days later the boat made it to Woodyboaterville territory, and into the barn for some service. My other “project” boats had gone straight to tear down and restoration (still in progress for the U22 & Lake n Sea, Wagemaker finished) but this one was going to get the “Pre Restoric” plunge. Maybe we could just have some fun with it this summer without too much invested, time or cash.
I pulled the plugs and gave each cylinder of the 1969 Evinrude a shot of Marvel Mystery Oil and let it sit a couple of hours, turning the head every once in a while.

Picture of Marvel – new lube all around

The water muffs were put in place and after a shot of starter fluid and a few cranks, she fired up!
Video of water muffs – neutral, forward and reverse


Next the lower unit oil was changed and the tub rolled under and filled for a test at higher RPM. I had read that you don’t want to force too much water through the muffs or pressurize it to the point that the seals blow. Filling the tank so the water level is above the water pump will allow it to suck in what it needs. Started her up again and when the throttle was increased we got a nice spray of warm water from the upper exhaust ports. Hitting forward on the “Selectric” shift, a woosh of water and the shop floor took a bath!
Video of tub test – engine running in neutral

Sunday morning, a week after the purchase I slid her into the creek. The engine would not fire, bummer…my weekend visitors were waiting for a ride…, I paddled over to the dock and got to the lift. A few tweaks here and a spray there – success and a cloud of smoke! Got a hundred feet off the dock, cough, stall, start again…a little further this time, cough, stall, start again. And then the walk of shame, my chase boat had to tow me back to the dock. (no pictures please!)
Headed out

Back to the dock for a little more clean out and pick up Jill. We hit the main channel and she opened up!


Original price for the Hydrodyne 1600 Custom Deluxe with molded plank type deck, hardware, single cable steering and Glide Ride seat $1,165 (optional convertible top $135). Pre-Restoric price $299!

1960 ? brochure – Can anyone pin down a year?

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18 Responses to “Honey, Guess What Followed Me Home? Honey? Honey?”
  1. Greg Lewandowski

    Great story, Eric, and I liked all the videos. Congrats on your new acquisition. I love the line “it’s for the dogs”! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Les Best

    Don’t put anything under the seat…..as a kid our neighbor had that boat with a Volvo 4cyl. And Penta outdrive. Pounded the cooler to smithereens.

    • Eric

      Ha…gotcha. Jill did like the seat as we hit the waves!

  3. A

    WOW Eric, you’re really hooked into this hobby. What’s next?
    Maybe a WWII landing craft or a PT boat.
    Party on Wayne!

  4. m-fine

    Those old Evinrude 85’s were great engines. Much of my early boating was courtesy of one. Good luck getting her back into shape and hope she delivers many hours of on water fun…for the dogs!

  5. Greg Wallace

    Chris Craft installed that seat mechanism in a few boats for evaluation before the war. Mostly in family utilities and a 1942 23 custom. When asked why they decided against offering in regular production, Chris Smith told me that engineering decided that the smooth ride would cause customers to subject their boats to excessive “pounding” resulting in pre-mature structural failure. As I recall his exact words were: : “we were afraid they would beat the bottoms out of them”.

  6. John Rothert

    Eric is a buddy of mine…and his “its for the dogs” excuse further supports the conclusion that when it comes to boats…he is one sick puppy!
    Neat boat! Agree with Mfine..that is a great old engine….
    Jill must think he drinks marvel mystery oil!

    looking for a ride soon.

    John in Va.

  7. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U.P.)

    Neat story Eric. A boat like that takes us all back in time. Nothing like the sound of a V4 Evinrude. Keep those outboard stories coming.

  8. Michael A. Hill

    So, during the 1960’s the State of Ohio “OH” number watercraft registrations 2 letter suffix codes can give you an indication as to what year the boat was initially registered. The “EB” suffix on this boat’s “OH 2665 EB” Ohio watercraft registration number tells me that this boat received those numbers in 1964 maybe 1965. If the boat was sold new at a dealer in Ohio, it likely got those numbers at that time, indicating that there is a very good chance that this boats model year is close to 1964-65.

    • Eric

      Michael,
      I called the OH DNR and she confirmed it was sold and registered new in 1964 and has always been in OH. She said to get the dealer name and full history I could fill out a form on line.
      Thanks again for the lead,
      Eric

      • Michael A. Hill

        Eric-
        Every-once-in-a-while my vast knowledge of otherwise meaningless and inane trivialities actually serves some lucky soul some minor assistance. Kinda along the line of “even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut” sotra thing. Glad you were the lucky recipient of this little nut of trivia. Enjoy the boat, looks to be a fun one!

  9. thomas d

    at 299 you didn’t get hurt. I had the inboard version, the guy that did our granite counter tops offered me $400 off his bill for it so I took it. I have a bow light for a hydrodyne if anyone needs one.

  10. Bob Matson

    The Hydrodyne got it’s styling from the 1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser.

    • Eric

      Found it, where can I find one for $299 to pull the boat!