The Affordable Classic Boat, It Does Exist!

A couple days ago we heard from fellow Woody Boaters, Paul ” broken by the side of the road” Harrison and Mike Mayer of Lake Oswego Boat Works. They had come across a fantastic little Chris Craft Rocket for sale. A 1947 Chris-Craft 16′ Special Runabout to be specific. 1,040 produced between 1946 & 1049. They came in Mahogany hullsides painted with white, natural or blue. Natural deck and red bottom and waterline.This boat has a Chrysler Crown. Within this hull series is the well known 16′ Rocket. Painted Atomic Blue, it had a rocket ship on the side of the hull. A total of 415 Rockets were produced by Chris-Craft from January 1947 to July 1947.

Now, If you know these guys, they play in the big snazzy boat arena, Paul’s “Barnwood” an amazing Tahoe winning Chris Craft sedan and Mike is one the nations top restorers… But one of the things that we here at Woody Boater are always on the lookout for is affordable examples of classic boats. Can you get in the water in a classic Woody boat for under 10K? If you are in the market you know that it’s tough. You need to buy it smart to do this. Sure, Fiberglass classic boats are easy, under 1K, and some cool Aluminum stuff is always around. But Wood? Not just plywood either. Tough. Well, here is proof that it can be done.

This little gem was picked up this past week. For way under $10K !!!  OK, not running, and with some cosmetic issues, and original bottom, but its a useable classic woody boat for sure. And that’s a great start. This is the way to start in the hobby, if you are able to do some work. you will be able to save a ton, Mike of course will be doing a ton of work to the boat, and yesterday got the motor running, but for money to fun way to get started. If it goes up for sale, the money saved on the front end will enable this little runabout to go for a more affordable price for sure. You should expect to drop another 10-15K into the boat if done professionally. So getting into a little boat fixed up will be just under 20K and if you do it yourself.. its possible..For a fun to money ratio, this is a perfect little boat! We will be following the progress on this boat to show how the other 99% can go classic boating.

The Chrysler motor, which yesturday, did get running, with a water pump issue which is easly fixed..

17 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Paul and Mike, well done! Such a nice looking little boat and apparently a steal too.

    What’s also great is it scratches the mid-winter gotta-buy-a-boat itch. Yet on a dime. That’s a lesson for all of us with “the disease.” Scratching needn’t break the bank.

    Except, it’s also a reminder to those of us with “the disease” that WE haven’t bought anything yet this winter. You’re killing me!

  2. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    These are great boats, we picked one up a few years ago from a friend that had planed to make a bar out of it. We soaked the hull, patched the transom, got the engine running and took if for a ride. The Special, is a blast to run on the water , the boat is light weight, and goes like stink. The poor man’s racing runabout!

  3. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Lucky for me Plywood is made out of wood. Otherwise I mitght get kicked out of the club. In forestry school it is referred to as wood technology. As the wood resources around the world are stressed wood technology is the only way to stretch the available supply. At least my boats are made out of antique and vintage plywood. Many boats are available for way under the 10K mark. One caution is that the available marine plywood today is not that great even though it is quit pricey. Get out there and save a lapstrake today.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Our Skiff is our favorite go-to boat, and I would recommend alapstrake to almost anyone. This little boat should be back in the water by May, and it will look great for a reasonable price. Everyone’s definition of reasonable is different, but this was a cheap purchase of a cool boat, even though it is not a lapstrake. Maybe next time we will here of a good deal on a Lyman, Skiff or similar and have another chance.

    • scalertom
      scalertom says:

      Hello River Rat,
      I have a boat constructed of plywood too. I think many people forget that there was a era between C.C. and the fiberglass boats. In the Pacific Northwest numerous companies tried to compete before the plastic craze took over. Here in Tacoma, WA. we had many boat building firms that made great wooden boats. Mansfield, Hollywood, Lady Clipper and many more. Plywood mills were abundant here. I’m proud to own a boat constructed of plywood and know many others are too.

      • Texx
        Texx says:

        Scalertom – Thanks for your comments.

        For the record, here at Woody Boater we think that plywood boats are cool… there are so many great examples of those out there too.

        Tell us more and send us some photos of your ride, we would love to share it with the world.

        Wood is Wood…

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Mine was less than 5K and ran well enough to be semi usable at that price, although we are now well past double the purchase price and another $15k+ will surely disappear in the coming years.

    As for that Chrysler engine, a lot of money can be spent to get from “running” to rebuilt and reliable.

    These “affordable” boats can be affordable, but the difficult choice comes when they need a new bottom. The $1000/ft professional bottom and frame job is probably never going to make economic sense for a boat like that (or mine). You will either have to have the skills and time to do it yourself, or have the desire to sink funds into the boat that you will never get back at resale.

  5. Rick
    Rick says:

    OK MATT, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR INTERVIEW? I started watching it before going kayaking this morning and now it’s gone. You looked very professional in a tie and everything and on CNN besides. Wanted to see if you plugged for any anyone who has an old boat in a garage or barn that said Riva and needed it hauled away for free.

  6. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    It is a great size for towing. Can’t wait to hear that Chrysler. I have fond memories of that sound and the ether my Dad used to fill the boathouse with trying to get ours started. I love the smell of ether in the morning!

  7. brian
    brian says:

    This is a great little boat. I saw it yesterday when Mike was firing up the engine, and she sounded great. With new engine bits like cap, rotor, plugs etc etc, she will purr. Overall, she is in pretty good nick and would be a fine family boat with an easy amount of many years of trouble free boating ahead.

    Inexpensive boats are out there. Our Zoomer was picked up for $4500, complete with a new bottom which is only the first replacement in her 80 year history. The V8 is strong as an ox and I do not expect any trouble for years. She will not win awards, but she is our gal and has and will continue to give our family great memories and fun.

    (Zoomer – 1930 Custom Dual Cockpit Runabout, Ford 302 V8 powered, same original family from 1930-2006, and we’re the second caretakers. She spends her time cruising and tubing with the kids.)

    If Mike decides to sell Timeless here, the new owner will be getting a wonderful little craft for very good money. Even if she goes for $20k, if you keep her for twenty years plus, that is only $1000 per year for fun and unforgettable memories. That is a bargain.

    And if we didn’t already have Zoomer and if we had a three car garage……

  8. Tyson
    Tyson says:

    I think the name on the back says it all. Its nice to see another woody being saved from the tremite. In the end, someone is going to have a top notch peice, and its going to be new blood in our hobby, someone who otherwise thought that classic wood boating was otherwise unattainable. I was once one of those people! Nice find Paul and Mike!

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