Antique Boat Center Becomes New Chris Craft Dealer!

Brand Spank’n New Chris Craft!

If you did not watch the riveting live speech on Saturday, or fell asleep at the start, you may have missed the big announcement that The Antique Boat Center has just become a New Chris Craft Dealer. Their business is still primarily antique & classic boats, but now you will be able to buy and get serviced a brand spank’n new Chris Craft in a place that is dripping with history and a true passion for the brand. Most likely Antique Boat Center has sold more Chris Crafts than anyplace in business today. This is huge news and a sign of more positive change for us in the passion/hobby/sport/culture/lifestyle of classic boats. Chris Craft has perfectly tied in it’s new designs with a respect to it’s past. This is no easy task by the way, many old brands rely on sentiment and history to carry the day and fail. Time marches on, but values and great design stay true. Chris Craft is one of the stars, and picking the Antique Boat Center as a dealer is amazing. Imagine wanting a new Chris Craft right now. Where would you rather shop? A dealer with multiple brands of big faceless plastic crap, or a place that drips Chris Craft and all that makes these some of the coolest boats out there. nothing faceless about a Chris Craft!  You can see all that’s great about this great brand all in one place. A Center…. Maybe buy one old, one new? It’s always nice to have a fun U22 next to that new Launch. We here at Woody Boater are very excited about this move and a big hats off to the good folks at the Antique Boat Center for raising the standard of Classic boat Sales and service. Here is some video to warm you up. And if you want even more Chris Craftiness, here is a link to the Chris Craft Website.

37 replies
    • Andreas
      Andreas says:

      I have a plastic Chris-Craft and I love it. 1966 CC Corsair Sport V 17.5 ft. outboard. Great boat with wonderful lines and styling.

  1. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    The modern day Chris-Craft Corp is run by some great people who understand brand heritage.

    i can’t wait to see their new model this year. We are keeping our fingers crossed they will bring one to the CCABC tent at the Tavares, FL season opener.

  2. Don Vogt
    Don Vogt says:

    Congratulations to abc! Good move.

    For those who might be tempted to sneer at new boats, I say think about the 50’s thunderbird, for example. In about 20 or 30 years ths new model chris will occupy a similar place in the boat world and there wll be those who will kick themselves for not seeing it coming.

  3. matt
    matt says:

    I agree Don. When it comes to certain brands, the newest model is always the best thing to buy. Porsche is that way. The last couple of years for Chris Craft has been huge and true to the brand standards.

  4. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Always thought their line of boats stood out among the cookie cutter plastic rides. It exudes a design esthetic not present in the fleet of other manufacturers save for a scant few and they have given a nod to CC’s legacy which previous CC brand name holders gave only lip service to but gave even less interest in quality.

    Years ago, when they first set up a booth at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton NY at the August show, I remember getting up early for the flea market and seeing one of their reps cleaning the front of their booth where someone had thrown some sort of food or melted ice cream. Could have been just random act of vandalism or some very disgruntled wooden boaters (I hope not).

  5. brian t
    brian t says:

    So, for the last two or three days, we have all been chatting it up about how to get the younger set into the hobby.

    And, now today, we see a fine example of exactly why there are few 30 year olds with young families getting into boating – because clearly after watching the CC video, only the uber rich need apply.

    Older couples sipping wine on huge boats that obviously would require Bill Gates’ garage to store the damn things, not to mention the obvious extreme price to begin with, what with all of the fancy woods and materials etc etc.

    Let’s cut through the crap – yes, the boats shown above are very nice and I don’t give a rat’s backside about wood vs. plastic, but if you want the younger set to join the hobby, stop marketing your CC products to the rich and famous. Since the average middle class home is and has been designed with the limited garage space for decades, anything over 20 ft in length is not going to fit.

    Any goober can design a fancy schmancy boat in a high tech design center with huge budgets of teak and custom designed hardware, but the real design trick is to design a fine product that could truly be sold for a crazy price of $12,000. Henry Ford did not get America into the automobile by offer up only a product that Rockefeller could afford.

    With the economy in the toilet, you are not going to get this hobby to grow if every manufacturer is offering up the same darn thing as the list is endless for rich-folk boats – CC, Colbalt, Chapperall, Mommba, Donzi, yadda yadda…

    The cheapest boat on the CC website, used condition was for a 2001 Launch 25 for $35,000.

    Few families are going to fork over $35k for a used boat.

    Sorry to be a real downer, but most folks in the country are not rich and if we want flocks of average Joes to join us, we have to market a product that fits his/her pocket book.

    Ok, let me have it about the thousands of boats out there for the poor buggers. Better yet – show me the affordable boat on the CC website, because frankly, I didn’t see any.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      Not only are there tons of boats at lower affordable prices, there are also tons of companies making them. They also have no shortage of bankruptcies amongst them either.

      Having just turned 29 (yet again) and with a young family, I can’t afford a new CC myself, but I don’t fault them for their pricing. CC needs to target a wealthier client in order to sell a luxery product profitably. Dropping quality and prices to compete in the crowded low end wouldn’t do any of us any good because they wouldn’t survive. The new Chris Craft is a luxery brand just like it was in their hey day and as long as they stay in business and support that brand, it is a benefit to us in the wooden side ofthe hobby.

    • Quitchbitchin
      Quitchbitchin says:

      I don’t think the new Chris Craft’s are overpriced. If you’ve ever seen them in person, the fit, finish, and overall quality is beyond competition in the modern boat world. They are marketed as a luxury boat because that is the product that is produced, even in the 20′ range. The company today is not interested in an entry level boat, they have a brand and are producing that brand very well.

      One of the biggest points of the past few days’ conversation is that we need to get the message out to the younger crowd that classic boats can be affordable. Check out and see the great user boats for reasonable money.

      Unfortunately with the static shows, $100K restorations, and trailer queens out there, the message has been that you have to have deep pockets to get into the classic boat arena.

    • Paul F.
      Paul F. says:

      Brian – your thinking appears confused. CC does not want the entry level boater as a customer, so they don’t go after them and they don’t built that kind of boat. Is there any reason why they should? Not that I can think of. They can built whatever the hell they want, for whatever market they want.

      Now, does Porsche make a something like a Yaris or other econo-box? Of course not. But, if you want a cheap Porsche you can go buy a clapped out 911 or 912 for low money. Same with a CC – you can buy an exclusive, high end new one, a perfectly restored old one, or any number of users and projects for anything from next to nothing (literally) up to $10k+. You are just flat out wrong about the availability of good user level boats at affordable prices – they are plentiful and I have bought them. My Skiff for $11k is but one example. Why would you even expect a cheap boat on the CC site? Go find a cheap Porsche on a Porsche website. A young family isn’t looking for than anymore than he is looking for a cheap newer CC, he’ll buy something he can afford and use. Give your head a shake, your assertion that CC is to be denigrated for only building high-end boats is not any more relevant than saying Porsche should be denigrated because they don’t build an econo-box or a line-up of affordable grocery getters and soccer mom vans.

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Okay Brian, here’s a restored 1957 Yellow Jacket with rare inboard Crosley on brand new trailer for $6800. Can take off 1000 if you want the original smaller double axle restored trailer instead of this newer/larger single axle trailer. Just an example.

    Have a nice 1960 15′ Chris Craft Cavalier refurbished (not restored to original bright sides but with painted hull sides), trailer with model B engine, nice little entry level boat $8900. So there’s some examples for you.

  7. Terry H.
    Terry H. says:

    Congrats to Antique Boat Center. A bold step in diversifying and keeping their business vital. I agree with Brian t that this will not attract younger people to the hobby. The new Chris Crafts are flat out expensive..even against their premium competition. That said, there are hundreds of wooden boats for sale and anything they can do to continue growing their business should be encouraged. They play a big role in our hobby and are good guys.
    Best of luck with the new venture!!!

  8. Jay Wagner
    Jay Wagner says:

    The 10K user boat market is where its at right now. The guys are going to see that at A B C and buy boats. This is a good thing for growing the lifestyle . Lotsa cool stuff on Craigslist lately!!

  9. brian t
    brian t says:

    I don’t have the answers. I disagree that there are tons of great boats out there. I didn’t see many when I was looking and my brother in law just this year found nothing but crap in the used and abused plastic market. And $20k for a new Bayliner was out of his price range.

    It just struck me that we all were discussing the lack of new blood in the hobby and then I am treated to a video that clearly shows that CCs are only for the dudes with the serious cash and promoting that only old wine sippers need apply.

    And why cannot CC make BOTH a luxury boat and an entry level boat? Chevrolet can make the new Corvette as well as a few decent entry level autos. I have never heard anyone say that because they made the Chevette years ago that they have no business making the Corvette. Chrysler made a bunch of garbage for years, but everyone loved the Viper. If Ferrari made a $20k car tomorrow would folks think that Ferrari only made crap from now on ?

    (And Floyd, yes I know that wood boats can be purchased for reasonable money – I did that a few years back.)

  10. Alex
    Alex says:

    Brian t, perhaps you misunderstood the nature of the conversation the last couple of days. We were not discussing the lack of new and younger blood in boating. We were discussing the lack of new and younger blood in classic boating. The opulence, luxury positioning, and premium pricing of contemporary Chris-Crafts is not a concern to classic and antique boaters. If anything, this is a good thing. It returns the Chris-Craft brand to its rightful place, after a period of decline in the ’80s and 90s.

  11. Doug Powles
    Doug Powles says:

    Several years ago I asked the CEO of a company manufacturing high-end boats “What is the best boat on the market?”
    He replied “Bayliner, because they get people into boating”

    • brian t
      brian t says:

      Exactly. Our wood boat was not the first boat that I purchased. I grew up with fiberglass and when we purchased our first, it was a fiberglass sailboat. Only when we wanted to return to a speed boat was the idea of a wood boat even on the table.

      Alex – I agree with you on most points. I would disagree though that having CC being at the top of luxury is the best thing for us all.

      Apple would not have sold many iPhones if they only showed them around at the country club. They also showed folks at Walmart that even they were good enough for an iPhone.

  12. Alex
    Alex says:

    Brian t, I forgot to address the second question / point you made, asking why Chris-Craft didn’t have an entry level boat, or extend down to lower price points, like Chevrolet does. It’s true Chevy does a pretty neat job making economy cars right up to a high performance sports car. But you’ll note they don’t make a Cadillac. And you’ll note Cadillac does not make a Chevy. [But they tried once. Remember the Cimarron? Shudder!]

    Today, Chris-Craft is a Cadillac. Actually, it’s higher positioned than Cadillac. It’s a Mercedes. The “lowliest” 20′ Chris-Craft today is a Mercedes C Class and the big kahuna, the Corsair 36′, is an S-Class.

    There’s another reason why Chris-Craft is not in the lower price points. That’s a very crowded market segment, where companies beat each other up to a greater degree on price, rather than features and benefits. In short, there’s less money to be made there.

    Hope this helps.

  13. mark
    mark says:

    Our local car dealer started out as a used car lot. They are now a Ford Lincoln dealer. The dealership is now an anchor in the community and employs more folks and sells lots of cars. Good luck with your new dealership! Mark

  14. Allen
    Allen says:

    Wow…good thing Spring is only 12 more weeks……..someone needs to get back in the garage and smell some varnish………whats wrong with good luck to a great business that is working to help us all with seminars, sales and encouragement……go go go guys……the new CC’s are great looking and performing boats…….

  15. Tommyholm
    Tommyholm says:

    Next thing you know the Antique Boat Center will be selling Boston Whalers! Who wood have thunk!

    Lots of luck Dennis, time to trade in the Coronado.

    Lou, I forgive ya. Margie must have made ya do it…..

  16. Sean
    Sean says:

    I absolutely love the CC Lancer 20 and the Speedster. I saw a 2006 at auction last week for 21,000…it did need some cleaning up though.

    I keep thinking I’ll get one somedaybut, the truth is I’d have to sell my 18′ Greavette (and I’m not going to do that!).

    I’m also a Donzi guy, and they are all about restorations/modifications. So, my next project will be a 22′ – 25′ Donzi hull and I will put a wooden deck on it. Best of all worlds and somewhat affordable.

    Here’s a pic Donzi classic 16′

  17. brian t
    brian t says:

    Paul F, – I agree with you that CC can make whatever the hell they want.

    I gave my head a shake and the first thing I saw was a Porsche Cayenne. You know, the Porsche SUV built and aimed at the soccer Mum and her 2.5 kids.

    They could have ignored the SUV craze and just continued to build 911s and the variants, but somebody thought that perhaps they should broaden their horizons and appeal to a larger customer base.

    CC is taking the Ferrari approach. Save for the Mondial, there is no such thing as a cheap Ferrari – new or old. Having the public only exposed to $300,000^ new CC and $150,000 wooden barrelbacks is going to do very little to convince your average 30 y/o that he can enter the hobby on an affordable budget.

  18. Ben
    Ben says:

    Not too excited about this either. Old and new boat crowds don’t mix IMHO. But best of luck to ABC anyway!

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