It Has A Hemi, Looks Cool, And No One Knows What It Is? We All Know What That Means.

What iz it?

What iz it?

It’s time play our favorite game show, WHATIZIT? Thanks to fellow Woody boater Doug Scarborough for asking the question yesterday that we all really want to know. What is that thing on ebay? To be honest I had seen it and passed it by. And then I clicked on it. Mother of god, this thing is cool as all get out. And get out it can do.. Sport’n a nice Hemi, and all the coolness a California boat has.Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 6.29.36 AM Very cool steering wheel, engine pipping out of the boat.. All of it.. So here is the cool part. No one really knows what it is. The sellers honest description is great, Here it is.. Maybe the population of Woody Boater can help.

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This boat has been owned by the same person here in the San Joaquin Valley for over 30 years. He was able to use it occasionally until about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, we are unable to get any information from him so the exact history of the boat is unknown. We’re told it’s a very early Sanger Boat but we are not vintage boat experts so we really don’t know. The title says 1960 “SNJOA” and we have no idea what that means.

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We pulled it from his barn, put new tires on the trailer and brought to a friend’s shop. At the shop, they rebuilt the carburetor, replaced the fuel pump, replaced the battery and added fresh gas (the tank was bone dry and clean). They hooked it up to a hose and fired it up just to test the engine; we did not test it on the lake. The engine fired up quickly and easily and sounded awesome. As you can see from the photos, the lower half of the boat is sealed with fiberglass which we are told was done at the factory. The Chrysler Hemi engine has the number C542-8-30525 stamped on it which is a 331 cubic inch. The V-drive is Halibrand and it has a factory dash plaque from Iskenderian Cam. Overall, it’s a neat old boat sitting on an ugly trailer. It’s currently licensed and tagged. It’s here in Fresno, California and can be seen anytime.

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On Mar-12-14 at 10:53:24 PDT, seller added the following information:  A few people have emailed about the make of this boat. To be clear, we are not sure who the builder is. We are only “guessing” based upon input from others. It seems from the response that this boat is NOT a Sanger but some other early model powerboat. If you think you might know, we would love to hear from you. The title doesn’t help much since nobody at DMV seems to know what SNJOA stands for. Also, the wood is decent in most areas but it does have some rough spots so please check the photos carefully. Thanks!

Here is the link to The Ebay listing.


20 replies
  1. Troy
    Troy says:

    Looks like a fun boat.

    I love the honesty of the post, but personally loose interest when I hear about glassed over wood. I know even CC did this to some boats at the factory but it still looses my interest.

    I think the coolest thing is where the throttle is mounted.

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I am with Troy. As soon as I hear glass over wood I start thinking about hidden rot and sudden unplanned trips to the bottom. If I am going to buy a boat to sink in, it needs to have more style like a Century Sea Maid.

  3. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    If this boat was near Wisconsin I would be all over it! Glass over wood , no problem, just figure it needs a bottom and tear it off. As a note Thompson did a type of glass over called aqua dope. Maybe Andreas could expand on that? steve

  4. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    it has the exact same steering wheel my 1959 Lake N’ Sea has, and that wheel is original to my boat.

  5. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    That hemi can’t be original, can it? Sure doesn’t fit the original design, looks to me….
    Some Canadian builders did like those 331’s, but by 1960 Chrysler had been through two iterations of the original 331: the 356 in ’56 and the 392 in ’57 and ’58. If I were a builder specing an engine for 1960, I’d be using Chrysler’s latest iron…but maybe they didn’t offer marinized version of the later hemis.
    On the other hand, maybe the boat is from the early 50s, rather than 1960…

  6. charleyquimby
    charleyquimby says:

    Nice early SW tach. Chrysler’s Marine division did not build 392 marine engines, but that does not mean there wasn’t a few factory-modified 354s snuck in. The engine does not have the cast-in bell-housing, so it is most likely a 354. Serial number is automotive So now I digress: Whomever is selling the boat just got his item advertised on Woodyboater. Just sayin’… CQ

  7. Alan
    Alan says:

    It has Chrysler Firepower not Chrysler Marine valve covers on it. Also aftermarket exhaust manifolds and a vacuum advance distributor, surely not definitive but an indication it is probably an automotive block.

  8. Alan
    Alan says:

    man that just has California written all over it, early flat bottom drag boat. My guess is home built. Needs a lot of work though but like Steve says, “if it was closer…” At the current $4700 it’s got to be close to it’s worth because it needs.

  9. Sean
    Sean says:

    This is a really cool boat with nice lines and some very nice details… lovin’ the Air Guide, the dash, cavitation plate AND the throttle…. wide racer planks with a Hemi to boot! IMHO, the fact the manufacturer is a mystery just makes it easier on the acquisition price but, still it checks all the boxes on the cool list.

  10. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    I just like a lot of boats and see this a transition boat between wood and glass with go fast flat bottom v drive. Other designs are Sanger, Mandela, Racon craft and my favorite the perfect Shiada . We talk a lot about classic glass as collector boats and are seeing early models and examples from the 60’s at boat shows. But I predict when the younger folk discover the 70’s and 80’s boats we will see a huge interest in classic glass. Some boat names come to mind, Baja,Checkmate, Concord, Cigarette, Thunderbird, Scarab, ect. Wood will always be the grandfather to collectable boats, but classic glass will grow and be the new affordable entry to boating fun and showing. steve

  11. Jimmuh
    Jimmuh says:

    Not a Sanger, not a Kindsvater, not a Belmont, not a Mandela or a Schiada or anything else California with any pedigree. Bottom is not a racing bottom. It’s a homebuilt. And scary, even with 200 hp. Not unusual to see a home-brewed boat like this on valley lakes in the ’50’s and early ’60’s, just before the above mentioned builders began series production in glass over ply, then hand-laid glass. And with seriously fast bottoms. This is fully priced already.

  12. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    From all this input from our gang, it sure seems we’re looking at a homebuilt from the late 50’s. That would make sense with the air cleaner and carb popping out like that.
    Could be a fun boat, but not for restoration.
    I agree; full-priced at $5K.

  13. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Jimmuh, I would love to learn more about the early California flat bottoms, can you expand with pictures? thanks,steve

  14. b man
    b man says:

    hey all- great comments–I was trying to find more info on a recent acquisition i made just this past month- a 1959 SIMCOB– when i stumbled across this thread- very similar boat- see my shutter fly site

    I was told this stood for “simulated cobalt” from the builders sons- I noticed the similar steering wheel to mine- identical shift nob and drivetrain- except mine is not a hemi 🙁

    but i think a ford (maybe fair lane?) v8 with edelbrock headers. i was hoping to find out more as well. it sat in a garage since it was last driven in 1969. i was always a fan of these wooden boats- but do not know anything outside of chris crafts. seems like info on them is hard to come by.
    this one was in the east bay of san fran- and him and a buddy built this one he said his dad got it up to 75 and shit his pants- not sure if that is fish story… but i am going to refresh it and hopefully get it in the water this summer and see! any more info on the cali flat bottoms is appreciated

  15. rick
    rick says:

    I had a built 392 hemi motor stolen from my boat in Shelby Twp mi. the boat was built with a V drive if anyone has info on a motor please contact me.

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