We Are Headed Towards Classic Boat Partsmageddon!


Old parts are hard to find in these parts

We are hitting a perfect storm in our boats life cycle. Parts are are getting harder and harder to find. Mix that with the Pandemic shut down of factories, and the cold war with China, and any new part for your engine is getting close to impossible to find, and if you do, it’s expensive as crap. And to be very “look in the mirror” We are kinda of a penny pincher community. Hey, I get it, its a pleasure boat, and spending big money on a part, set of piston rings, manifold, can push your budget over the top. And part of the fun of our boats is finding them cheap and going boating.

Ineeda is getting older and older. And angrier..

But, as we hit the intersection of machine as art, we are gonna start running into financial situations that we may not like. Take for example Step pads for a Chris Craft. The cost to produce the parts is very expensive, and to make them you have to make a ton of them, and is the market there to buy them once you make crates of them. NO! I don’t even have to suggest anything else.


With the world going metric, finding engine parts, that are cast, or manufactured just isn’t happening. As crappy as a Chinese part may be, or not. They are not being made. Rebuild kits for fuel pumps, carbs etc. Are almost impossible to find.

The good old days! Call the factory, they have the part.

The business’s of our community are struggling to keep up. And the generation that started those companies is getting exhausted, trying to keep up. Add in that us. Angry we cant go boating because a part is in covid purgatory, and  well it turns into a type of melt down.



Enough complaining and bitching. is there a path forward. Yes. It’s all about attitude and how we look at out boats. I know, I know not this art crap again. But we are here now!  For the past 10 years I have been yacking on and on about the passion being in a shift from Boat to Art. You own a work of art now. Not a boat. Period. Covid is the WW2 pre war, post war time in our history. Post Covid, they are now ART.  And parts, labor, and materials, are going to change. The folks that supply us all are artists. Craftsmen, and should be paid accordingly. The cost of a part, will be more because of supply and demand. If you want to drive a vintage engine, there is no rational reason to do so. Thats an artistic, emotional choice you make. ART.

hope – photo Bryan Toye

I personally love this. Sorry, it will inspire new blood and younger artisans to jump in. To bring a different perspective to our community, and try new things. The new generation that is stepping up now is driven by this.

18 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I think your position is generally true, but here in Michigan we are fortunate to live in an area with a higher than average number of classic boats. Fortunately, that includes some great parts suppliers that still have, or can get, what is needed to keep our boats running. The cost has definitely gone up, but that is the law of supply and demand. Unfortunately, this also will change as the great people that run our supply chain grow older and in most cases, there is no one to carry on. In the mean time we will keep running and enjoying our classics as long as we can. Going boating today!

  2. Art Armstrong
    Art Armstrong says:

    Yes Greg and one of those companies is Algonac Cast Products Inc here in Algonac Mi. For years they supplied Chris Craft with the majority of the bright work.
    New owners bought it a few years ago but their catalog has some of the items needed for our hobby. They have lots and I mean LOTS and LOTS of the old casting forms but again it is all about supply and demand.

  3. Tparsons56
    Tparsons56 says:

    Fortunately having a Chris Craft and being in Michigan it has not been to big an issue (yet). For the Fay and Bowen, however, getting NOS or used parts is pretty much non existent so based on this a repower and other modern parts are the only way to keep it running without paying big bucks for custom made parts. This then leads to the question that if they are custom made then they still are not original to the boat even if they match the original design.
    If parts are no longer available and you still want to use your boat, within a reasonable budget, then you have no choice but to compromise.
    Starting to see more big triples at boat shows with big modern V8’s with chrome headers etc.

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Good story Matt…hard to disagree with any of it…or the comments…
    Until the parts run out….I will be Going Boating!

    John in Va

    • Jerome
      Jerome says:

      Good advice Art. Stopped at Algonac Brass last summer & they had a good supply of hardware. Found the prices to be fair when you considered that the parts were chromed. The people were great to deal with. P.S. they also had a great selection of lifting rings!!!!

      • Dave Nau
        Dave Nau says:

        It’s not the same, but old outboards are still plentiful and parts are still mostly available for 1951-1990 motors. Getting somewhat difficult for non-OMC motors, but with help from members of AOMCI, are still out there. Plus outboards have their own colors and styling, since they have their own designer cowls, and are not hidden under a wood deck or cover, like an inboard.

        It will get even harder over time. Car clubs are having the same issues with the collecting of pre-WWII cars, and even pre-1960 cars. Parts are getting harder to find and the numbers of committed enthusiasts are dwindling. The cars are difficult to keep completely stock, so many go for restomods these days. WIll boats end up going that same way??? Will that triples just get a Chevy 350 or 454 engine of some sort in the future, if not already?

        Anyway, outboards are just another option, particularly for smaller wood, fiberglass, or aluminum boats. However, I realize they don’t sound anything like like a inboard.

    • "Mays Landing" just got our electric back
      "Mays Landing" just got our electric back says:

      For goodness sake do not hang your Art “Antique Boat” on the wall with art hangers made in CHINA!!! it surely will fall down!!!

  5. Mike (in Michigan)
    Mike (in Michigan) says:

    Let me share a story, not about parts, but about tools. I will likely need a new prop and need to straighten a strut. I contacted a well-recommended prop shop and they stated they don’t remove props, I have to send it in. So now I need a prop puller (other methods didn’t work). No local marina (dealing in plastic/pontoons) had one or knew where to get one. Went online – larger Internet suppliers are all out of stock and are uncertain when they will get them (Covid). Finally found one (of two) remaining at a smaller shop in CA. Ordered it for $100 plus shipping (for a clamp tool I need for 5 minutes). This has led me to an idea. Do we need some sort of “tool” exchage for these types of things? I am seriously thinking about offereing to loan this simple piece of metal to anyone who needs it (they pay the to and from shipping costs), just to make it easier for the next guy. All that being said, if anyone has a good condition 13 x 13 RH prop available, I am intersted……

  6. Ned Protexter
    Ned Protexter says:

    I ran into needing a new cutlass bearing for the strut on our fiberglass Century Coronado on Friday at 4pm. Called all of the boat dealerships on Lake Okoboji and nobody had one. Hard to believe with all of the ski and wake boats out there. Ordered it this morning first thing from Classic Boat Connection, hoping to be able to pick it up tonight but they are only shipping parts, no walk ins. We wait another week of the summer…..

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