Chris Craft XK-18 Woody Boater Boat Of The Month


I know I know, it’s not made of wood. But there is a strip of wood like stuff on the dash. So it’s in. This thing is stunning. It looks like a 1969 Z/28 made sweet love to a bass boat in the garage. And this came out. It’s pure 60’s – 70’s muscle, and the beauty of it is that you can floor it all day long, go deaf and smell like pure exhaust. life is good!  It’s the right color combo, and … god this thing is cool.  But then again it’s no surprise, because its the latest resto for our fellow Woody Boater and boat hoarder, Alex Watson. Who has some of the sweetest boats on the planet.. Tommy Mertaugh from Classic And Antique Boats in Hessle  has done another killer job here.. Here is the story of this months boat of the month in Alex’s own words.

From Alex just last week. It’s all done just this afternoon. I believe there is none finer. Tommy Mertaugh and his people did a superb job and made many excellent decisions along the way to keep things authentic. I’m so happy with the outcome.

Yes, that is original carpet… Gotta love that shag!  The X-K 18 boat has 325 original hours. Engine has perfect compression.

Everything was restored to original, except the gauges. I decided to buy new ones — totally period (cool) — because there is no consistent photo evidence of what was original. Even the handful of people I reached out to who own XK-18s had non-original gauges. Each owner’s pics showed different. But I’m on the case. I have one other XK-18 with the correct, short sweep Sun tach, but the other gauges on that boat are non-original.

It’s a start. So currently, my gauges are no less original or correct than any one else’s. But I will find out what is correct and get that done as soon as I can.

Strange story re the navigation lights I’ll relay to you. They are correct. Even my anchor one is correct. (Chris sourced these telescoping Jetsons, so they are different from the ones on my XK-19 and Grand Prix.)

Orig Factory prototype  image of a Chris Craft XK-18.. Grrr love those seats.

And, yes, its placement on the engine deck is original on my boat, while others had theirs placed where one would expect — on the center of the stern.

Wish my pics to you were better. But it’s an almost impossible boat to capture in pics. The eye sees it totally differently than the camera. For instance, rear 3/4 shots make its butt look big. Yet standing there looking at the boat, the lines look super. I think it calls for a better photographer than I.

The metal flake completely messes with my (decent) point and click camera, making capturing the color almost impossible. Too much information to process I figure.

Total chick magnet. Said the married man with three kids. My sons better be nice to daddy now!

This Chris Craft is a testament to cool design in the days of Chris Craft who made cool fiberglass boats. When I see boats like this and a silver arrow, I wonder, is it the material that boats are built in, or just crappy cheap design that we all detest. Hats off to Chris Craft, Tommy Mertaugh, and Alex.. We will of course be up in Hessle this summer as part of the Big Lake Weiner story. And share with you all a water test on this sucker. mmmm I can almost smell those duel exhaust right now… shhhh.. can you hear it… Ahhhhhhh all is good in the world..

32 replies
    • Pumpkin
      Pumpkin says:

      Here’s a bit more XK-18 history . . . I talked with Chris Smith at the Heartland Classics Show in 2009. He told me that the XK-18 was actually designed by a Chris Craft salesman from California for use as a canal boat! The first ones on 1971 had the 350 small block Chevy, and later models (Pumpkin is a 1972) had the Guardian (reads: Chevy) 454 big block powering the Jacuzzi jet drive. Forest Port Boats says the XK-18 out-Donzis the Donzis!

  1. Larry FORGET
    Larry FORGET says:

    Very COOL BLUE. Nice to learn about this model, & read fiberglass classics on this site. PLEASE feature more. Second time around this resto looks like combo of Donzi Sweet 16, Glasspar Super -G, with Glastron 007 James Bond flair. . Throw in the historic Chris Craft name, WOW.! . I think someone just converted some more car guys to collect boats… Thats not a bad idea either.

  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    And we love Pumpkin! That funky color… The “harlequin” interior stitching… The sleek front deck hardware… Your boat makes my wife (a decorator) absolutely weak-kneed.

  3. rdapron
    rdapron says:

    Very nicely done boat. I do wish I could click on the pictures and get a larger image like we could on the old Woodyboater site. Not complaining, just a wish…
    Thanks for posting.


  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    Speaking of that sort of thing, I understand the shag was especially hard to clean. This was the liberated, carefree early 70s, after all.

    (Of course, we’re talking about spilled Aqua Velva, Fresca, Tic Tacs … and the like.)

  5. matt
    matt says:

    Ahhh the smell of High Karate and exhaust. The ladies love that.. And some Courvoisier…ohh Leon Phelps, where are you when we need you

  6. Chad
    Chad says:

    Alex, grow a harry patch on your chest, sport some gold chains, and throw in an 8-Track of KC & the Sunshine Band… Voila’ instant party.

    Can’t wait to see it in person. Maybe the Hessel gang will add a “sparkly fiberglass” or “jacuzzi drive” category?

  7. matt
    matt says:

    Thats it! I have the perfect name…. “Hot Tub” God dang.. I have been agonizing over what to call this thing..

  8. Chad
    Chad says:

    This might be the ONE case where you don’t have to name your boat after a woman.

    How about…

    “Jacuzzi Floozy”
    “Tiny Bubbles”
    “Knee-deep Shag”
    “Shag’n Wagon”

  9. Jim Stahl
    Jim Stahl says:

    I agree it this boat does not have to be named after a woman.
    How about “Randy”, influenced by Austin Powers?
    Or ” Randy Baby”?

  10. Texx
    Texx says:

    Hey Man – It’s the only boat I know of that you have to keep a Shag Rake on board for daily maintenance. They make good back scratchers too…

    “Shagadelic Baby!”

    And by the way, Matt told me it was still cool to splash on some Aqua Velva at the boat shows… he said it attracts attention and helps to get the inside scoop on the big stories.

  11. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    21 stories. Almost like the …. mustn’t stir it up again….( on golden… know what boat ) story. Is it the boat or all the possibilities for innuendo?
    There is no doubt about it this boat has x factor. Id LOVE to have it in my garage especially with the zebra skin seats. But quite apart from the horn factor, Im proud to be able to claim a small connection to this weapon of a machine. Its a jet boat right. Well the jet boat was invented right here in New Zealand by a Southland farmer. Hamilton jet.
    There ya go!

  12. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    oh and another thing. Matt do you know what happened to the Century Seamaid at Mecum? Its showing no info. Did it get withdrawn or something?
    Phil. 24

  13. matt
    matt says:

    mmm, no I don’t . My brain was fried. A car every 2 minutes. Cobras, Shelby’s vettes, my ADD was in over drive. I just sat there numb. That must have been sold earlier in the week.

  14. Texx
    Texx says:

    The Century Seamaid was scheduled to go across the block on Sunday with the other boats, but was not listed as being sold. Not sure what happened. We will try to find out Phil.

  15. laznat
    laznat says:

    Great to find some input on these .I bought one that was hotRoded I’d like to say not to long ago. Yours looks great thanks

  16. william1967
    william1967 says:

    Great job on the boat, it looks fantastic. I just bought the same boat. It is in need of much attention. At first I was going to customize it, but after close inspection, it seems that it was never touched. Considering, it deserves a full restore to it’s original glory. I actually stumbled across it looking for a jacuzzi tub for my house! Luckily, I grew up with boats and in the auto repair/body business so I have the means to restore. With that, can u tell me where you purchase your gauges, the 350 emblem and the telescoping rear light? Actuallly, I have a million questions! Possible time for a call or email? I and my boat would greatly appreciate it.

  17. mark Houseman
    mark Houseman says:

    I acquired #28 of the first year of production (1971) back in 1981 and still have it. Other than the engine, it is all original. I believe mine is a “fully optioned” model as it has dual fual tanks, an alarm system, telescoping light, and a pair of vintage RPM/speedo gauges mounted on the deck in front of the driver. I’ve kept it in storage all these years and have planned on restoring it one day as a retirement project…along with all my other “dreams”. I would love to see more detailed pictures of this boat and actually talk to the owner.

  18. Mark Houseman
    Mark Houseman says:

    Hey Bret with the above comment. Have no idea what your saying and the link doesn’t make sense……

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