That Perfect Shade Of Red Is The Cherry On Top.

The blonde accents make it perfect

The idea of a special order red Cobra in your mind seems strange. Your brain knows the iconic gold fin as an integral part of the look and feel of a Cobra. Including the special gold interior.  So we can just all agree on that. But and this is a huge Bertha Butt Boogie but. If you went into the Chris Craft dealer, and wanted a pink one, you got a pink one. And such is the case with this insane cool unicorn of a Cobra. It was ordered this way, and in here is where the argument starts.

Matching interior nails the look. WOW

Here is a copy of a comment made by George Burgess in the original story we did on this last year

“The B.S.O. D-6982 (Boat Shop Order) for 21 ft. Cobra BR-21-006 lists all standard and requested changes to the boat. It does list the upholstery color as “Flame Red” also listed is:
Cradle-Painted- Gold, Bronze-MCC-on Runners, Show-Boat-Cockpit-Cover-Installed-Upholstery-Flame-Red-Trimmed In White Instead Of Standard There is no listing for Red Bottom color or Red Fin color, so these changes are made after the boat left the factory. The Cobra left Algonac on 2/2/1955 to go to Dale Yacht Basin Boat Hoist Siding, New Jersey”

Okay this is one way to see it, BUT.. another BUT HERE! The boat bottom was disassembled and Red was found between the planks. Lots of red, so it was an original factory red bottom. The bottom had been fiberglassed so it was encapsulated not replaced. Now Seth and Terry spoke at length on this and concluded that the factory would have matched it all RED. Thus, this is the product.  See comments as well. This will be a debate for sure since there is. STAY TUNED, we are getting images of all that. I smell some Cherry Flavored Milk!

This was the red when it came to Katzs. Feels rather drab, and these Cobras are not drab boats. A simple shade of red can make a massive difference.

We all saw this Cobra in NY back at the international, and now it’s gotten the Katzs Cobra King treatment. Deep deep research and some big ones from the owner to go for it.




There is really no way to test this, other than doing it so you can “feel” it. The choice of the red is so critical on this. Red is one of those colors. And with the Red Mahogany could be a train wreck with just one small drop of too much pigment in a mix.

We did some mock ups last year to try and feel it. But..

I will admit, I would not have tried this, but, and again, a Bertha Butt Boogie but. Thank god they did, cause I am in lust. And actually think they could have done more like this. It works.. Like insanely well.

A perfect Technicolor red! PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT. Like a perfect note in a song that is impossible to nail. GAAAAAAA

A huge standing ovation to the owner, the Katz’s group, and Terry Fiest for making this happen. AND, here is the other red cherry on top. You will be able to see it it person at Lake Dora in just a few days. Yup. The same but different.. Okay let the debate start. Thats the point of such a restoration. When you have a special one off boat, embrace it, and go for it. Thats the best part of our passion. Our boats have souls.. Let them fly!  Speaking of soul.. Hit it!


28 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I’m a believer in your boat should be want you want it to be, but this is a love it or hate it change. I don’t think I’m in the love it camp, but they did I nice job on the finish and details. Kudos for doing it your way!

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Ditto to what Greg said. I like a custom boat as much or more than “factory original” but I definitely do not like the way that shade of red fits, or rather fails to, with the more subdued wood tones and engine color. I guess it is fitting for a Cobra which is already a mish mash of clashing styles and lines.

    But it’s not my boat, and not one I am interested in. As long as the owner likes it, that’s what matters.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Also, what’s up with your countdown clock? In 8 days the show will be over! Are you sure you have the right week on your calendar, because after waiting for years it would really suck if you showed up a week late! 😀

    Of course, you aren’t the only one confused. The Sunnyland website says the show is March 23rd to 25th 2022, and also Friday March 25th through Sunday the 27th.

  4. Matt
    Matt says:

    When the bottom was removed to be replaced this last year, Red was found inside the wood sides between the blanks. A large trace. So it was red from the factory. Thus concluding that all was red. There is some interpretation of how it would have been done, because the dealer. They would not have put down that it was gold, thats what they normally were. When the boat is disassembled, you find the truth. It was red. As to M fines comment about the wing not fitting, thats because the welting is not done yet the fin sits on.

  5. Tim Robinson
    Tim Robinson says:

    Having a hard time believing Terry Fiest would sign off on this. I would bet money this was a dealer modification. The rule is ( as delivered from the factory) if you can’t support the way the boat is presented at a judged show with documentation there should be a deduction on your overall score. There are always judgment calls on boats that cannot provide any factory documents. But with a CC the factory records are available. In my opinion if there was a change to the interior colors and so noted on the build sheet there would have been a similar note for the fin and bottom color change. I am sure the boat is stunning and I look forward to seeing it, but to make it fair to all we need the rule (as delivered from the factory, not the dealer)

    • Rivaguru
      Rivaguru says:

      This is one big reason that I have stopped Judging. The rule about “as factory delivered” is subject to wide interpretation. Rigidly adhering to that, and not considering other information, is not fair to the boat and it’s history. If there is compelling physical evidence of a difference from what we expect to see on a particular boat, then it must be considered. Especially prior to the computer age, many factory and shipyard modifications/changes from “normal” were be done with NO written record.

      Way back when I was a Riva dealer, we performed many Shipyard authorised modifications and upgrades that were NOT on any factory records. Going back in time, there are several (now) documented and highly different Riva Aquaramas that do not have their modifications listed in the Shipyard ledgers. Only with further in depth research were we able to prove that they were, indeed, delivered by the Shipyard in the unusual configuration.

      Factory records are not infallible, and can miss some details, and can only reflect what the writer at that time thought was important, or had knowledge of.

      Finally, regarding this Cobra, unless the build sheet specifically says gold for fin and bottom, it could have been any color. Different upholstery color carries over to the other accent colors on the boat.

      No, back to making dust in the shop!

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Looks fine to me. Well, not m-fine but whatever floats your boat. Seems like there would have been traces of red on the fin if it was red.

  7. Dennis Spillane
    Dennis Spillane says:

    I think the boat is great!! What fun is it to stand around all day at a boat show and debate what’s wrong with your boat and that you’ve ruined the purity for a friggin home made wooden plaque?!? Show it for fun and use the boat. I bet the owner is going to use it and enjoy it while he owns it instead of saving it for the next new money owner that will put it away on dry land and stare at it like a trophy. If I had it I’d probably spill a Bloody right away to christen it.

  8. Tparsons56
    Tparsons56 says:

    Certainly an interesting topic. The reality of all history from the dawn of time is that if you weren’t there when it happened then how would you really know.

    My Fay and Bowen is titled as a 1924 but I have been told by a very knowledgeable person that the hull #, 824, really makes it a 1922. I guess the realty of this is that the boat is either 98 or 100 years old but being I wasn’t there when it was built does it really matter?

    I do like the red fin and bottom on the cobra but I also painted the Fay and Bowen sides a midnight blue instead of the traditional white so I guess I am kind of a rebel.

  9. ART A
    ART A says:

    I agree with some, if it aint on the factory build sheet——–it didn’t happen. Since all Cobra’s were to have gold fins but it was ordered a SPECIAL way I would highly suspect the it would be noted on the build sheet.

    At least the lifting rings are correctly orentainted.

    I know that all (even the “different” lifting ring positions are noted) of the “options’ on Molly-O and noted on her build sheet.

  10. Tim Robinson
    Tim Robinson says:

    The argument that they found red paint between the planks tell me that this color was applied sometime after the boat left the factory. The bottom planks would have had no gap when first installed. So there should be no evidence of any color between the planks unless the bottom was painted sometime after delivery where the planks had shrunk and a gap had opened up.

  11. briant
    briant says:

    I will never understand America’s love affair with putting a marischino cherry on top of an otherwise beautiful and tasty bit.

    Looks just fake and toxic.

  12. Chad
    Chad says:

    Could the red between the bottom planks have been a red lead primer? Was there any copper paint found on the bottom? Was there any red discovered when sanding the fin?

    Either way, it’s “flashy” in red. And if the owner loves it…

  13. tom
    tom says:

    I think the “drab” red(along w/the off white) on the upholstery is far more appropriate for the period the boat was built in than the brite red used. I also realize that drab red wouldn’t work on the wing and bottom as well. While it may be boring to some I think the traditional gold looks best on the Cobra. It’s got to be far fetched but has there been any search of past ownership to prove one way or another how the boat left the factory?(Family,photos etc.)

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

    I am just a casual observer on Chris Crafts. But it seems like a Cobra story on WB stirs more $h!t , than one on any other boat. Just sayin.

  15. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    As it left the factory is used for the red line, unless the change was described on the build sheet.
    It may be time to take a second look at this rule or definition going forward.
    Example would be boats that left the factory incomplete and finished by the marina or customer. Jim Street’s Chris Craft for Example, many Century’s left the factory without engines installed, and Thompsons were personalized by the marinas per buyers requests.
    Might need to take a second look at how boats are judged.

  16. clay c thompson
    clay c thompson says:

    I like the red, really cool looking bottom. And great job. His boat his choice, i get it, and ok with it. But think if you spent a fortune restoring a Cobra, bone stock,and went to a show , and up against this for competition of best of show, ACBS rules. Well i tell you, the as delivered from Chris Craft rule must prevail, this boat is not that! i am glad we do not see duesenberg’s with bouncy air ride, and stereo’s , not that there is anything wrong with that!

  17. thomas d
    thomas d says:

    I know I’ll catch heck for this, but a Cobra is just not a boat i care for in any color. I’d rather have a pre-war split cockpit or runabout.

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