Chris Craft Antique Boat Club

When you go to the boat shows or look on boats for sale web sites you’re bound to see more Chris Craft boats than the others. They have remained a popular name in antique and classic boating over the years. Christopher Columbus Smith started producing recreational boats even before the name Chris Craft was established. He and his sons began production under the name “Chris Smith & Sons” in about 1922 and soon adopted the name we all recognize to this day, “Chris Craft”. Well over 200,000 boats were built between 1922 and 1977, not counting the watercraft that were produced for the war effort and boats that were built prior to organizing the company.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s several Divisions were created in keeping with diversity in the boating industry. They’re all Chris Crafts but also are called Cavaliers, Sea Skiffs, Roamers, Catalinas, Corsairs and Commanders as well. There were also Kit Boats, Sail Boats and House Boats built by Chris Craft.

The Chris Craft Antique Boat Club is one of the oldest Marque Clubs in existence and features a very popular web site with many unique benefits not found on other ones. The site features Boat Buzz, which is by far the most successful web-based, boat related discussion group going.

The Club sponsors a fast growing buy, sell, trade boat related web site that features self-managed adds.

The Club is developing an Archive (already accessible) with thousands of pages of information on, not only Chris Crafts but other popular names in boating. It already is useful in researching what was original on antique and classic boats but will be even better as it’s further developed with improved search and paging features. Members can down-load documents in PDF format for viewing and printing.

The Chris Craft Antique Boat Club publishes The Brass Bell quarterly magazine. This is by far the best boating magazine available, hands down. The latest issue features 92 pages of first class and unique content relating to boating, people, history, places, how to, etc.

10 replies
  1. Bill
    Bill says:

    Thanks Al and Woodyboater.

    The Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club is a fantastic organization that I am quite consumed by…in a good way. I cannot stress enough, the pleasure I get from all of the great and very knowledgeable members, and the generosity of the volunteers. It is truly what makes the Club tick. Wilson Wright should also be commended in single-handedly carrying this organization for some 25 years.

    I am putting the wraps on the Winter issue of the Brass Bell as I write this. It is a bit late, but it will be in the mail very soon.

    The great news is that the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club is growing. We are bringing in about two new members per day on the average. Member interests range from cruisers to runabouts, early 20s wood to vintage fiberglass.

    We are seeing new members join our ranks from all corners of the world. One of our more passionate XK enthusiasts hails from Sweden. We have members restoring old Chris-Craft cruisers in the UK and Germany, among others. We have a Count…yes, a Count, originally from Italy, now living in the UK. And to demonstrate the power of the internet, the knowledge of our 3,000 members worldwide, and a discussion forum like Boat Buzz, we helped locate and ship a very rare and original Cal Connell Cadillac Crusader engine from Oklahoma to Australia last year. Wow!

    In the past couple of years we have seen tremendous growth among post war Cavalier enthusiasts, XK enthusiasts, and Commander and Corinthian enthusiasts—members who are every bit as passionate about these boats as others are about their pre war traditional plank-on-frame boats.

    With over 200,000 Chris-Crafts built (a number that is growing to this day), my hope is that we have a lot more Chris-Craft enthusiasts out there.

  2. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Bill, the Winter Brass Bell will be well worth the wait as was the last issue. Thanks for the great exclamation point to my feeble presentation of the Chris Craft Antique Boat Club.

    I, a mere member of the CCABC, posted this without warning or editing. One thing I wanted to add was (is) that this Club has the best of the best in leadership in the historic, antique and classic boating. They are unselfishly dedicated to this organization’s success and to its continual growth and progress. The Archive is an amazing development that gets better almost daily. Such new developments are on-going in the CCABC.

    If you own a Chris Craft, you should join and take advantage of the benefits that are briefly mentioned. They’re fantastic. Heck, you should join whether you own one or not.

  3. Sea Skiffer
    Sea Skiffer says:

    The CCABC is all of the above, and also for me a really nice escape from the day-to-day routine, especially in the middle of Winter in New England (counting the days ’till i can launch my boat). The Archives is especially impressive, fun (and addicting) to peruse, explore and go back in time…

  4. Bill
    Bill says:

    Outstanding guys. You give me a warm fuzzy feeling as it is still very much winter here. I’ll go out on a limb and plug a few specific guys here…maybe it’s a post Grammy thing. Wilson Wright—talk about going above and beyond for over 25 years, Terry Fiest—an excellent leader and all-around great guy, Don Ayers for dedicating pretty much his entire adult life to Chris-Craft research, Brian Robinson, for the same, and Matt Smith, Al Benton, and Sea Skiffer for forging ahead with our mission. It really is all about saving and preserving old boats, and getting immense enjoyment out of them in return. Nice job guys.

  5. thomas browne jr
    thomas browne jr says:

    i have a 1988 CHRISCRAFT 22′ 9′ center console some upgrades this year in good condition. Was wondering is anyone in the market of buying my boat

  6. John Resuart
    John Resuart says:

    I found a 22′ Cavalier in fair condition, needs new canvas, wind shields, keel has holes (thumb size) from wear, and some transom dryrot. wondering what this would be valued at, if anyone knows what I should offer?

  7. John J. Campon
    John J. Campon says:

    I own a 1960 Chris Craft 45 Ft. I’d like to find other enthusiasts. Truth is I have alot of q’s and no a’s about the original architects and those wonderful craftsmen and women !

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