Pricing A Classic Boat. Cliche Alert.

Miss Step BEFORE, at Lake Dora 2009.

To milk the Hydro story a little more. And did you expect any less from me. What is this worth? And for that matter what is any classic boat worth? And add into that the crazy covid inflation that has happened over the past year. Demand for any boat, or RV etc with supply being tough to deliver, has created some crazy stories.

Miss Step in process at Katzs Marina

Why is this Hydro so interesting from a money perspective? Does anyone need a vintage Hydro? Nope. The only rational reason you would need one is to race. In 1941. So it’s an emotional purchase, and this is where we all in our passion come in. There is NO rational reason to own or restore a classic boat. NONE! It’s all 100% emotional, and one thing is for sure, emotion has no price point. Sure it has limits…if you have financial limits. Money is just a thing to use to trade for things you need, want, and so on. Thats all it is. A common element used to do things that anyone can accept. It has zero emotion, and is just that.

There is always a bigger boat out there.

Something to trade. So where is the line? The line is at the intersection of Want and can afford street. There is no way to pay too much, or too little. Deals are made by two people. Both want. And they come to an agreement. You were warned about the cliche thing.


So what is the Hydro worth? Since so few are out there. Whatever the buyer and seller agree to. Period.

It happens

Our boats are not a commodity. There is no process in place to sell wholesale to a huge parking lot of other used classic boats. Not really even a Mecum situation really. It’s no different than buying art. Not Art Armstrong BTW, he is priceless.

Art at the wheel of art.

So back to the topic. The Hydro is a $300,000 boat! After all, who would have thought an old 356 Porsche would be a $500K car? Or a Cobra in the millions?

I sold it for $15K and was happy to do that. Not now, but back then..

The hydro is that rare, and regardless of how bumpy it rides. It is pure, and designed with one purpose. Zero compromise, and that makes it that collectable. Even if its new purpose is to sit there and be gazed at.

24 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I think I got through my emotional trauma and moved on from the step hydro race boat. I think!

  2. Syd
    Syd says:

    It’s all supply and demand and the demand part for a lot of them is shat people remember and have an interest in. Yes there are certain things in anything Collectable that Seam to hold better Prices. Fifteen years ago it was prewar triples that we’re what you saw a lot of at the shows. Now there are more boats from the 40’s and 50’s. There is another style of boat that 15 years ago was bringing the double to triple of what they are going for now

  3. John F Rothert
    John F Rothert says:

    Beat Matt in the wish I hadn’t-a sold it department. Sold my 1962 Mercedes Benz 190sl for 3 K back in the late 70’s.
    Worse still, in the wallet way, that is when I got into boats!
    No regrets…Going Boating!

    John in Va.

    • Phil
      Phil says:

      In 1975…SOLD to the guy who would get it out of my backyard: 1930 CC Model 100 20′, on a road trailer: $500!!

  4. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    There you said it Matt. If you kept the Porsche it would be worth lots of money now. But that value goes into your pocket only when you sell it, but what if you keep it longer so the value goes up even more? I’m hearing talk that I should never sell my boats or model train set because they will be worth more in the future. I’m in agreement but my kids might not agree when they have to get rid of all my “stuff” when I’m having fun at the great boat show in heaven. Or hell?

    • Scott K
      Scott K says:

      You’re assuming that there will be an increasing number of people who will want old trains and old boats.
      I don’t see it that way.

  5. Art
    Art says:

    But I can be had for the right price………………Molly-O, on the other hand is true Art and not for sale……………………YET!!!

  6. MO Whaler
    MO Whaler says:

    Some excellent Saturday morning preaching and observations with wisdom and experience here today – – Along with “The line is at the intersection of Want and can afford street.” – – Please Drill Sargent, may I have another?

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

    I sold my 49 Mercury in the late 60s for an amount so small, I don’t want to admit it. I wanted a dirt bike. Love the 52 GMC milk truck in the header. Our milkman had a 46 GMC. Even as a kid I knew machinery. Don’t worry about what something is worth if you want it, and can convince your wife it’s a good deal 😃.

  8. Richard Daley
    Richard Daley says:

    If you look closely at the corners of the Grill, I believe the milk truck is a 1954 or early series 1955 built up until March of 1955

    • Mark again
      Mark again says:

      Nope, I’m sticking to 52. maybe 53. GMC didn’t always change things at the model year change in the 40s and early 50s😃.

  9. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Yeah, I wish I still had some of the various cars I’ve owned – Mgb-GT, TR-6, Renault Gordini, BMW 320i, Volvo 554 Sport, TR-3, BMW2002 (rolled that one…) Jaguar XJ6L.,. All were fun, driven extensively and when I look at current prices on some, I shake my head. One, I’ve kept since 1978 – a ‘64 Morgan Plus-4 roadster. That is the post-retirement project that will be my focus beginning this fall after the ACBS International Show and Mahogany and Merlot 2021 are complete. Will the Morgan ever be worth what I will have invested in $$? Unlikely, but the memories associated with the car are priceless and our son and his wife will enjoy it when I no longer can. As Matt said, in the end, the $$ are the least important part of the process. Take it on, get it done and have fun! 🤗

  10. Jeff Armstrong
    Jeff Armstrong says:

    Nice shout out to my Uncle Art today. Hope he gives me right of first refusal on the MOLLY-O!

    • Art
      Art says:

      Jeff …….get in line and put LOTS of greenbacks in your savings account………..Art is not cheap!!!

  11. Jack Thee Boat Hack
    Jack Thee Boat Hack says:

    Sorry to be the shrill, but the amount of money (and model numbers, brands) thrown around here (I should have kept that Shelby Cobra, etc, here’s a picture of my amazing vacation home) borders on pornographic. I spent $5k on a boat last year, and I still feel sheepish about it. New trucks, railways (sorry, Matt), but this blog (which I am slowly losing interest in) is all about conspicuous consumption. (Apologies to Matt, you worked hard, but it seems you got a head start, too, in life.) Brains and privilege are nothing any of us (brains, here ;)) have earned.

  12. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Thanks for the plug(s) for the Hydro. You summed it up when you said It is worth what someone is willing to pay.

    That is why it is on EBay. There is no way to determine market value because there is nothing to compare it to.

  13. Jax
    Jax says:

    I paid a lot of money for a one offf custom boat I love knowing I would loose money when I sold it, still have it, still don’t care. Would do it again in a New York Second!

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