Why Not Modernize Some Of The Hidden Stuff? ? Great Question.

6 Volts

6 Volts right on the hull card – The way the gods wanted it.

Back earlier this week, while we had some fun with Condensers and points, fellow Woody Boater Bob Huff  sent us this email with what is the eternal question. It’s deep and I clearly have a point of view, and since we are boating in an artistic way, there really is no right answer, but it sure makes a fun debate. And Bobs argument of what changes could be made, is a great one. As you all know, the zen of it all is part of it all for me. But there is room for all of us. Here is Bob’s statement.

PArts All

Old school!

“How do you rationalize putting up with all that you have with the likelihood that it will occur again when an electronic ignition would eliminate the pain and uncertainty and you would be the ONLY person who would know.

Ya gotta wind it! And I like it that way. By the way. No 6 volt

Originality is important to me too but there are limits.  Bet you don’t have canvass and boards on the bottom.
I know you still have 6V.  All of this could also have been converted, including the gen, without anyone noticing.  We’re not talking a V8 swap here.

Make it 12 volt?

Tool kits, badges, flotation, steps, keys, etc are great fun.  Suggest you stick with that level of originality and adopt changes that will make your boating experience better.

Chris Craft Tool Kit

Obsolete? I have used it three times already. LOVE IT!

Bet there would be more than three stories telling your readers how to make some of these changes that improve boating without having any practical impact on originality.  Maybe start with a survey of what these things should be.  It might really benefit your readers”.
Bob Huff
18 replies
  1. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    If it’s truly a user boat, there are lots of upgrades that can and should be done to make the boat safer and more user friendly. If a boat is being restored for the museums and for demonstrations and shows only then it should be done as original.

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Bilge blowers, bilge pumps, oil filters, fuel filter/water seperator, oil presure cutoff are good safety features to start with. For convenience and reliability, electronic ignition, electric fuel pump.

    • Carl Garmhaus
      Carl Garmhaus says:

      Did all that and more for my 1950 CC Riveria user boat. Stock on the outside, 327 CID under the hatch

  3. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    There seems to be a few “extras” missing from that tool kit. The tools that fix ignition problems. I know you have them. But here is something that helps avoid using them (besides Pertronix)

  4. Sean
    Sean says:

    I agree with Dan, that if you’re building a boat for the show circuit or a museum then it should be 100% original. I would add that if it’s a historically significant boat it should also restored as authentic as possible.

    However, I go a little further than many here and say, if it’s a boat you actually use then almost any modification that you desire for safety, reliability, convenience, performance, aesthetics, comfort and greater enjoyment is okay… including a repower.

    • Charles J
      Charles J says:

      Ok, I’m in agreement with Sean’s second paragraph. When I re-powered I was looking for dependability and went for the matching controls. Alright perhaps I overstepped reasonable boundaries with placing a Japanese product on a beautiful piece of Americana, but at the time the experts said that was the most dependable product in the HP range.

  5. Nick
    Nick says:

    Just like the bottom, engine upgrades (not replacement) for reliability are a no brainier to me. Less stress, less time stuck at the dock, and most important, less likely to be stranded on the water… Imagine drifting helplessly into a rocky shore or bad weather while waiting for help. Wouldn’t put my boat or passengers at unnecessary risk.

  6. Don Vogt
    Don Vogt says:

    A boat owner should feel free to do whatever he/she wants to a boat. I personally prefer a historically correct boat. After no longer having my boat judged, however, I did switch to electronic ignition to avoid having to worry about timing, points, etc.

    One thing that often gets thrown into these conversations is the question of conversion to a 12v system. If the engine is in good shape and all the peripherals are OK, there is really no reason to feel compelled to switch. My 6 volt system starts the engine every time without a problem. If there are problems, i dont think they are the fault of 6 volts.

  7. Mike K
    Mike K says:

    hello………my name is mike k…….. and im a electronic ignition user……. oh crap, wrong group

    seriously though, i just put electronic ignition in my cadillac crusader rebuild. waiting to find some carbs and im sure ill have no regrets!

  8. Garry
    Garry says:

    Originality is preferred. But I can see where the start of the season when you check the points for pitting and clean them does get old. Checking the distributor and rotor is a must even if you consider Pertronix salvation. Checking the condenser is a no brainer with an Ohmmeter is easy. Pertronix does not do anything for the timing as many think.
    There is one upgrade that should be considered even if the oil is changed each season and that is an oil filter. On the inside of the transmission planet I have seen a build up of particulates on every one I have looked at. On one from the 30s the buildup was over an eight of an inch over the entire surface of babbit material and who knows what else.
    Is Pertronix going to get you dinged in judging? It shouldn’t but there are anal people out there. I would take the ding on an oil filter but I do not go for judgement just the fun of the people and the gathering.

  9. Greg W
    Greg W says:

    A “captain” and his “mate” were preparing for their first intimate “voyage” together. Upon her first inspection of his rather small “vessel” she commented. “Who do you expect to please with that thing?” His response to her interrogative was simply, “me”.

    Its your boat , do what makes YOU happy.

  10. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    We are still running the MCL in Yorktown on 6V. Never had a problem as long as we keep a good battery in it (Same story with a 12V system)

    I am putting Pertronix in it this year simply because I have had enough trouble with new condensers that I am not confident in them any longer. Will keep you posted on how it goes.

  11. Bob Huff
    Bob Huff says:

    Matt, I read two points of view here. If you have a museum piece keep it all original. If you actually use it, fix it. All seem to agree that we should, at a minimum, get rid of the points and condenser. Nick summed up the possible consequences of not doing this. But you don’t need any advice from Nick… you’ve got your own experience to look back on.

  12. Tuobanur
    Tuobanur says:

    My daddy use to tell me, what you can’t measure you can’t miss. With that said, what you can’t see can’t necessarily hurt. 😉

  13. Steve L
    Steve L says:

    I totally get the time machine thing. You’ve gone to great lengths to make everything period correct. The way it was. The tool kit, the chairs, the clock, and gas tank dip stick, very cool!

    But in 1948 they didn’t have to buy their tune-up parts from an American company that exploits cheap labor practices by importing their inferior products from offshore! I’m with Jim Staib on this one. Use the points and condenser but try to get American made ones or NOS. ( If you can find them).

    Why do we so readily accept poor quality? And then we just say that’s the way it is…Made in China?
    “The bitter taste of poor quality long outlast the sweetness of a good deal.”

    I believe Pertronix is still made in the USA. That’s probably more American than putting those Chinese tune up parts on your boat.

  14. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    Some modifications and upgrades are required by law or by insurance carriers. Examples on my cruiser would be head holding tanks, carbon monoxide detectors, gasoline fume sniffers, high water alarms, anything to do with tankage and delivery of gasoline, DC and AC wireing and connections to current standards and several other things that just make sense on a user boat. None of these things take away from the nostalgic feeling that comes over me everytime I unlock my cabin door with the original 1948 skeleton key, step aboard and into the salon surounded by mahogany and relax on my 1948 convertible couch. You can make improvements and still retain the character. Of course, I’m not out to win any show prizes. Owning and enjoying is prize enough. If the next owner wants to do the museum thing, he’ll still have the option.

  15. Kent B
    Kent B says:

    Sort of goes back to the question of user boats in the water vs. Trailer Queens in the show. If you look at 50 boats polished up like Steinways, after a while they all look alike. But the ones that you hear and/or see run are what you remember.
    Pertronix ignition is almost invisible (except for one extra, albeit small wire) A bilge blower or water seperating filter are easily hidden away. Dummy light sensors for oil pressure and temperature can be subtle and run an alarm that is hidden under the dash. Now with mini bluetooth sound systems, I don’t have stereos mounted in any of my boats either (while the engine is running you shouldn’t be listening to music anyway – your boat is providing plenty of sonic stimuli).

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