George Barris, Jim Street Black Cobra Now At Katz’s Marina


One of a kind!

It was official last night and we are reporting it this morning. The Black Katz Cobra will Katz’s this weekend we hope. And also breaking news, will be at lake Dora Next year with the Red Cobra. Yup. This is head exploding type news for us in our little community. The Cobra will be preserved of course but will get a new bottom so it can be used and safe.

Holy cow..

Good god!


Thats just Barris crazy


While talking with Seth yesterday, he sounded like a 10 year old who found his Dad’s playboys behind the radiator. You all are having a flash back right now aren’t you? Ya.. now it takes a one of a kind custom by George Barris and Jim Street to get you that excited. WE ARE ALL SERIAL KILLERS! We just prey on old wood boats. Wow.. that went maybe a tad to far…again, and maybe we… I  should just show you nice pictures of the Cobra from an old Mecum auction. We will be reporting live from Lake Hopatcong on Saturday, hopefully it will be there and we can show you all the goodies.. Then we can rub ourselves with motor oil and.. WTH!!!!!!! Sorry..

Back in the day

Same with a Gold fin!

Special order

And if think I am crazy about the serial killer joke. HERE IS THE TEST! SORRY! 

28 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    First reaction is “you can’t do that to a Cobra”. Then after seeing the completed project you think “that boat is amazing”. I would love to see and hear it run.

  2. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Not sure I would be comfortable with that steering wheel but based on the increasing size of my stomach, maybe its a requirement. This is going to be interesting resto. I would assume the bottom would be strengthened for that much power or is the motor more for looks and not for actual bonsai runs.

    • Jim Staib
      Jim Staib says:

      Jim once told me he started with the Cadillac engine and V-drive. He then supercharged the engine. Then put an overdrive in the V-drive. Then an overdrive on the blower. And kept going till he realized no matter what he did some damn bass boat was still going to go flying by him.

  3. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    I agree, Gregg, mixed emotions, but I love it! How is it possible that I hadn’t heard about this before with all the coverage and data available on Cobras? Seems like this boat would be a foot note in every cobra story!

  4. Ken MacStephen
    Ken MacStephen says:

    Jim brought the Cobra to our show in Port Carling (Muskoka) and trailer was as outstanding as the boat. NOT trailer shown.

  5. Murdock
    Murdock says:

    Jim and I believe Henry Meyer designed the engine to turn one way and the transmission to turn the opposite direction, thus eliminating the extreme torque that would sometimes cause a Cobra to flip. Having driven hull #1, (“Numero Uno” when it belonged to Art Isles) I can attest to that tendency. Note that the engine also sits level.
    When I was first with Jim at his Dayton, OH operations many, many years ago, I was amazed at all that he was involved in. Not only cars and boats, but engines, custom wooden grips for handguns, WWII weapons and more. Jim was an extremely knowledgeable person on multiple topics, employed the best talent to get the job done and had a thirst for the unusual like no other. He didn’t suffer fools and always made sure he got value for his money. If he took you seriously, he was glad to share with you his experience and knowledge too.
    His relationship with Barris wasn’t always “lovey dovey” either as he felt George took many of his ideas and didn’t give him the credit due.
    I’ve got the straight eight Buick that Henry Meyer did for Jim that was to be used in the ‘50 Buick Fastback mounted on a stand so we can fire it up and dream.
    Balanced and blueprinted with open headers, you’ve never heard a straight-eight sound like this one.
    I’ve been blessed to know and be friends with characters like Jim. We need more like him.

  6. George N Burgess
    George N Burgess says:

    The following are stories that Jim Street told me in conversation.
    When Jim finished installing the blown Cadillac, he took the boat back to Algonac to run on the measured mile outside the Chris Craft plant. The first run was on gasoline and as I remember he was timed at about 65 miles per hour. Jim then changed the carb jets to run on alcohol for a second run, he also asked one of the Smiths if they would like to ride with him which they declined. The second run produced about 73 miles per hour and Jim said they took a picture of the boat with daylight under most of the hull and the prop shaft and rudder in the water! He also told me a story about coming out of a canal in Florida, going WOT on the throttle – the boat immediately jumped up out of the water made a 180 degree turn landing on a beach and Jim had to get a tow truck to pick up the boat to remove it. Those that knew Jim know he had many stories.

  7. KW
    KW says:

    The cobras where prone to flip because of rudder cavitation. I know this from experience well driving one with a good friend whos a Naval Architect. Alot of Cobras where retro fit with a cavitation plate.

    • KW
      KW says:

      It,s while driving a cobra. In a nut shell the rudder stuck out past the transom and would draw air in to the vacuum under the boat causing the stern to come up and the bow to go down throwing the boat into a hard turn

      • George N Burgess
        George N Burgess says:

        I have an MBL 21 Cobra, The rudder does not stick out past the transom. While not as fast as the Chrysler or Cadillac power it is a smooth riding boat without any nasty handling issues. At WOT you can turn the boat hard left or right and it handles like a Capri or Riviera.

  8. Don vogt
    Don vogt says:

    Interesting to consider why custom boats seem like a relatively smaller phenomenon to classic boats than custom cars are to classic cars. Smaller total number of boats, traditional emphasis in the hobby on originality, etc. are no doubt some of the factors.

    Tastefully done I suppose but Greg captures the ambivalence about this sort of thing.

  9. don vogt
    don vogt says:

    It i interesting to consider why custom boats seem like a relatively smaller phenomenon to classic boats than custom cars are to classic cars. Smaller total number of boats, traditional emphasis in the hobby on originality, etc. are no doubt some of the factors.

    Tastefully done I suppose but Greg captures the ambivalence about this sort of thing.

    • Greg W
      Greg W says:

      What appears orange in the photos was originally blonde and was stunning. the decks were black stain allowing grain to show through. Sides as I recall were glassed over and painted black. Original induction and that which delivered the highest top end was multiple carbs..Like maybe eight strombergs or 4 webers.. or similar. Had a nifty linkage set up using gears and a roller chain. Trailer looks crude today but was quite good by 1955 standards utilizing factory cradle. Very well behaved at speed.

  10. Briant
    Briant says:

    An incredible boat….

    sitting on a trailer that looks like it was designed and made by some kid in an eighth grade wood shop class in Pocatello, Idaho.

  11. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Ok, now if someone can just track down that car…. Cool piece of creative interpretation and given the documentation, a remarkably original, custom boat. 🙂

    • Scott K
      Scott K says:

      The car was in the same building as the boat and was sold at the same auction after Jim’s death. The car has already been restored and shown.

  12. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    A couple of observations… In the picture with the cool car, the boat isn’t hooked up to the car. Also, in this picture the rear lift rings are properly mounted laterally.

  13. Jeff Funk
    Jeff Funk says:

    Sorry, but over-the-top and unattractive IMO. Well done by Katz, but the original design looks much better.

  14. @kevlarbike
    @kevlarbike says:

    There’s a reason why Mclaren and the new corvette C8 come in Orange and Black; same with the riva, it pops and looks so unique; this boat is a masterpiece; Is it a purist or concours perhaps not any more but is it exciting, eye catching and attract young guys to aspire to a mahogany boat; you got that right; well done !

  15. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Custom is COOL!!

    I like the black fin over the gold!

    Love the stories of those who know the stories. Really adds to the whole thing.

Comments are closed.