D-17-004 Chris Craft Rocket Needs Your Plastic Plaid Help!
We are using the vast WoodyBoater network to create the perfect plaid interior for what could be the of the oldest surviving 1953 Rockets on the planet. Of the 243 hulls made and 136 Rockets made, of this special boat, only 48 had plaid interior. Refereed to as “Plastic Plaid”. This boat being done to extreme perfection at Katz’s Marina will be a big show winner in the upcoming year. The trick on this one is the interior, and there is no reference, other than some BW photos. And to top that all off, since these were the first ones, designs changed around.
They even air brushed out the plaid later in Brochures. Air brushing / retouching is the term used back in the day before Photoshop.
Okay, we can do retouching as well, and is the real question here. What are the colors of the fabric? There is NOTHING out there.
Someplace in the universe someone knows. HELLOOOOOO OUT THERE!
So, for some strange reason, do you have an old family photo of one? Or the holy grail a sample of interior. And if you may think you have an early rocket but no interior. Look at the straps holding wiring on the boat. There may be a small sample. Pure gold Plastic plaid!
These little Rockets are amazing boats, fast, fun, great ride, and came in fun color combos. Like Green bilges, White bilge, Yellow Bottoms. Its just fantastic as a reminder that even though we see the past in black and white, and tones of airbrushed grey. The world has always loved the fun of color. And that is what preservation is all about. The color and textures of our history.
The good news is that Katz’s doesn’t stop at anything to make it right. You may recall the hell to make the perfect blue Arabian finish.
Okay lets continue on the plaid. And you thought all Woody Boats were just brown!
Plaid interiors have been a cool part of the boating universe with all sorts of fun versions.
So today, share your plaid. Be plaid proud. Your goofy interior is in style and will be a great topic for the rest of the year. Sorry Dim!
If you are interested in one of these all done, there is one right now ready to take to the shows and win. Click HERE and turn the key!
I have personally driven this boat and its fast, smooth, fun and AMAZING!
Now I know where Chevrolet got the idea for plaid interiors on their 1972 Highlander models
I’d say yellow and green plaid. I’ve got ’53-’54 color ads of the 17′ Kit Boats showing a yellow interior and we know that the yellow interior is correct for the 17′ Sportsman of that era. Just be prepared to prove it-judges (of which I have been one and will be again in the future) are notoriously conservative and sometimes refuse to believe even when you’ve got documentation. Years ago when I showed my ’56 17′ Sportsman I got grief about the fire red (almost orange) interior even though I had samples of the original upholstery and the hull card.
Can you send photos!
I see on a Kit boat ad, the yellow and Green were a Chris Craft color pallet. but plaid?
Remember some of the thoughts yesterday on how just because something is old does not make it a classic?
If this interior experiment was so ugly and such a failure that they felt the need to airbrush it out of the photos, perhaps it was meant to disappear and never be restored.
Call Dave Bortner. He should have an extra pair of Plaid pants that might work!
I tried an app that colorizes black and white photos and this is what the app turned the photo into. It’s not great but it’s something.
Was it common for CC to paint a bilge red, then paint it over with green? It is obvious from the photos that there is red under the green.
What does the hull card say ?
My D-17-098 came with Tolex Red on the hull card and the interior matched that. White bilge that somebody painted red over and yellow bottom that somebody painted blue over.
No evidence of plaid anywhere.
Call Chris Smith, he has a Rocket
plaid can look good
I have D17-005 which I imagined was the oldest one but now I know she has an older sister! My boat also came originally with the “saran plastic plaid” spec’d out on the hull card. I did make a small attempt to locate the material and one sample that was brought to my attention as maybe being the one was actually a weaved material. I never pursued it further because that type of material wasn’t going to work for me. I would love to know the answer to this historically significant mystery because if it is a plastic material with the plaid print which I think it would have been I am interested in getting my hands on some too. I always imagined it was like the liner of a 50’s wicker picnic basket. When I get home I will look at the wiring maybe there is a scrap on it…slim chance but a chance. It would be funny if I had the sample riding around with me all along!
We are all on pins and needles. What a fun story this could be if you find a small strip of vinyl. Amazing
No dice gang. I gave my rocket a good look and no scraps holding the wiring. One item to note is that my Hull Card calls it SARAN Plastic Plaid. So I would be confident in saying that DOW made it for CC back in the day since Saran plastics were manufactured by them in that era. (thanks Wikipedia). Maybe this adds one more piece to the puzzle.
I imagine the UV rays took the material to the brink in short order and that is why very little of this material exists.
I had a 55 17′ sportsman with the original green bilge in it. Everyone thought it was repainted until we disassembled it.
No plastic plaid
Any info at the museum
No info at the museum. All they had is the BW images.
I did a little internet searching and found that Dow had a division called Styron that made Saran plastic seat covers in the early fifties. So likely if it was a plastic film type material it was manufactured by that division of DOW.
To add to this mystery I also discovered DOW made a weaved material of Saran plastic called Lumite….so maybe the weaved material that was brought to my attention is still a viable contender? I hope not. Can’t imagine this in a open boat but stranger things have happened.
Ha! We are digging at the same time. Google is trying to figure out why people are all of a sudden searching for Saran Wrap! The Saran people are thinking that there is a brand resergence. Ha
Dow is a fantastic lead! On to the Saran search
I did some digging. Looks like Lumite might have been the brand name and was used on cars. Here are some ads. Look at that Yellow seat!
One more Lumite seat ad. They call it Lumite Saran Seat. This material was used on coolers and other stuff which makes sense. We also know that Chris Craft specked stuff like car stuff. So this all fits. Ish!
Now we need a swatch book for Lumite Saran for the 1953 year. Good god. I am going hard core Zipper on this bitch now.
I can smell the Saran wrap! There are sample pages out there. Of course we still will need an actual connection. We need to conect Lumite to a Chris Craft.
Ok check this out. Nash rambler ad. Look at the middle sample. The spacing of the light horizontal stripes is correct. It is also manufactured with saran plastic. We may be closing in.
And this from 1950 Motor Boating Magazine. The introduction of Lumite for boats. CLOSER!
The rest from the next page
that’s gonna be one ugly interior.
Can’t say I’d agree with that-remember these are ’50’s boats and often took their styling and color cues from the cars of the era. I’d much rather see an authentic interior in the original bright colors than the “safe” choice of the usual drab maroon or dark green.
According to the original CC Corp. Material Specifications sheet
that I have which is dated 10-21-52, the Upholstery used in the D-17 series at that time was as follows
Part Number 1064-R-151-A. Woven Fabric Saran Plastic
62 inches wide, quantity required 5-5/8 yards.
Part Number 874091. Welt. Pearl Gray Landers 1/2″ 29 yards
Part Number 874091 Hidem Binding, Pearl Gray Landers 5/8″. 1-1/3 yards
Hope this is of some help
WOW, this is so helpful and one step closer. You didnt happen to find 5 yards of it in that file?
I found the pic of a sample that was sent to me of the weaved saran material when I was looking a few months back. Have a look. Funny how it has red, green and yellow. Thoughts?
Here it is cleaned up with better color exposure.
The green matches the green bilge, the red toes the yellow together!
Work a little photoshop magic, use the above sample colors on the pattern shown in the middle sample shown below. The sample is from an ad from 1952, saran plastic, and the Nash was built in Detroit.
Ad from 1951. Lumite Saran in the description. Seat covers were all the rage back then. This may be it, color and pattern and time period. White or Yellow not sure the above sample material may be white gone yellowish?
Might give the boat a little Christmas vibe if this is it.
That’s insane! This is fun
Okay, I took the seat, and took the pattern from the boat shot and its a dead match. If you look closly the areas are slightly different in shade. I tweeked up the yellow because I think it would have been there. The green would match the green interior panels. Its a dead match. Its different aand I will predict cool as hell. My photoshopping is a little rough, and a good final photo vs a half tone print would help colorize it with this as a reference.
Nice work, I love it and the photoshopping looks great. I have a closer seat pic from the original ad, I think you are correct in the yellow, look close. Lumite is still in business, lets try and order it using the CC part number. Hopefully they are still using the price lists from 1952!
I am assuming you checked with the manufacturer. usually you can find some old names of guys from the factory and get a hold of one of them that will remember. maybe you tried this already, but if so, I am surprised no one knew. thanks
I just found this in a 1955 Kit Brouchure . There it is again. Someone may have some in a kit cruiser
Here is an attempt to create a sample? I think the colors are wrong, but you see the pattern. My best guess is that the lighter green matches the green of the inner bottom. Bilge. The yellow picks up the bottom, the dark red is there to soften the bright red. These patterns are classic color theriry and how certain colors work together to create one broad texture