SPLASH BACK SATURDAY- Classic Fiberglass Shootout, Two Big Guns From The 70’s – Century Arabian vs Chris-Craft XK-19


This story is from 2011 and generated over 200 comments! We love a shoot out! Join the comment train!

By the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the fiberglass boat business was growing quickly and the modern designs were beginning to take shape for both Chris-Craft and Century. The muscle car era was peaking in terms of popularity and horsepower, and the boat builders were also focused on performance with the availablity of big V-8 horsepower engines from the automotive manufacturers.

The early 1970’s was a time of change and radical new ways of thinking and design trends everywhere, as Tom Wolfe coined it – “The Me Decade.”

Fashion trends were wild, women like Raquel Welch and Cheryl Tiegs were showing off their new “Hot Pants”… The Disco era was starting to become popular, AMC introduced a radical new car called the Gremlin… Apollo 13 was launched in April 1970, the Beatles disbanded after their last album “Let It Be”… In September 1970 ABC created Monday Night Football and in October PBS began broadcasting. Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali in March at Madison Square Garden, in “The Fight of the Century”… Century, Oh that reminds me, back to the story…

For the last few months, behind the scenes here at Woody Boater we have been acting as “Referee” between fellow Woody Boaters Mike Mayer and Alex Watson in a lively, but good spirited debate about what they thought was the best “Big Gun” fiberglass runabout from the early 70’s. Kind of like one of those Ford vs Chevy battles you hear about. Both these boats were offered by Chris-Craft and Century with big American made V-8’s, which both Mike & Alex currently own. So one day we suggested to these guys that the only way we could end the battle of endless yammering between them was to have a “Classic Boat Shootout” on Woody Boater and let you the viewer vote, to determine which boat should be the ultimate “Big Gun” from the early 70’s.

But in order to vote, you have to do it in the comment section below, so we don’t have to worry about the Century guys with their fancy automated voting technology. This is old school voting, and if you are worried about hurting their feelings, just vote as Mongo, or Murray, or Joe M. You can also submit your shootout vote by e-mail if you prefer to either Matt@woodyboater.com or Texx@woodyboater.com

Here’s some original Century and Chris-Craft factory brochures from the period for both boats to better understand exactly what we are looking at…

Mike Mayer says that the Mighty Century Arabian is a man’s boat, and attracts women because of it’s “Manliness.”

And here’s the Chris-Craft sales brocure for the XK-19 from the same period… Alex say’s after looking at this, it’s no contest… Hands down for the Chris-Craft…

Fast Forward To December 2011

Today, over fourty years after these “Big Guns” were first designed, built and sold to the public, Mike Mayer from Lake Oswego, Oregon and Alex Watson from Hessel, Michigan have two beautiful examples of these classic fiberglass runabouts. We e-mailed Mike & Alex and asked them to provide us with some comments on why they think you should vote for their classic boat. The categories we asked them to comment on ranged from Performance, Styling, Handling, Eye Appeal (chick magnet), Usability and why they like it personally.

Here’s what they had to say…

Mike Mayer – 1971 Century Arabian “Cocktail Hour”


I honestly can’t engage in a discussion about why my Arabian is better than the XK. Truth be told, two weeks before I bought the Century I was hoping to consummate a deal on an XK-22, down in Sacramento. I’ve never ridden in an XK and hadn’t previously been in an Arabian before I bought mine. I can, however, tell you how I ended up with the Century, and what I love about it.

Mike & Nicole’s 1971 Century Arabian – “Cocktail Hour” – Photo by Karen Harrison

I didn’t find the Mighty Century Arabian….it found me…. Right after the Lake Tahoe Concours show, we have our local Lake Oswego boat show here in Oregon. The classic 1971 Arabian was tied up to the dock with a “For Sale” sign on it. I checked it out and took it for a test ride that Saturday night. The purpose for a classic glass boat was to fulfill a need for my family. Our beloved 1929 Chris-Craft Cadet is an awesome boat, but with a 10 year-old son and a 16 year-old daughter we couldn’t maximize our family time on the water. My son is into board sports and has become a pretty good wakeboarder. While the Chris-Craft can pull a wake boarder (and throw a pretty good wake) it’s nearly impossible to get back in to the boat. I wanted a boat with either a ladder or platform along with a tow ring so we could enjoy the water around us and not just the boat. How cool is it to be 10 years old and wake boarding behind the Mighty Arabian and the awesome sound of a big 440 Chrysler V-8 barking through straight pipes?

The classic Century Arabian has turned out to be a fantastic boat for us. It is very comfortable with a practical “L” shaped interior and 3/4 captains chair. We’ve had 8 adults in the boat and there was plenty of room for everyone. The boat has lots of power and sounds awesome. The rumble turns heads wherever I go. It’s a heavy hull and throws a helluva wake but gets up on plane nicely and handles great.

The Mighty Arabian At Speed On Lake Oswego, Oregon

I’ve had it up to 51 MPH but stopped there. I don’t know how much faster it will go but probably not too much. The Mighty Arabian has a very sturdy look to it. It’s not as sporty as some of the other boats of the era but it is a very utilitarian boat that also goes pretty fast. It has been my “Go To” boat for the last few months. Sadly, I’ve walked past my 1929 Chris-Craft at the dock several times, only to board the Arabian. I’m also loving the ability to have a boat in the water this late in the season. It came with a decent mooring cover and I’ve been using it regularly due to an uncommonly dry early winter. The XK Chris-Craft is more of a sport boat and while it has pleasing lines, it is less practical as a family boat, in my opinion.

The biggest reason I chose the Arabian is because I really wanted a safe and reliable family boat. After researching the XK’s, I had learned the startling fact that many kids have gotten injured on them. Several fingers have been stuck in the steering wheel and I’ve heard that many kids have had to have their fingers amputated because of this. Century was much more forward thinking and provided a nice, safe ‘rope like’ steering wheel.

Mike & Nicole Enjoying “Cocktail Hour” – Photo By Karen Harrison

But seriously, it’s been a great boat and I’ve been surprised by the number of compliments I’ve already received on it. I wasn’t expecting so much respect for such a late model classic boat. After only a few months of ownership, and regardless of the poll results, this is a boat I will keep for a long long long time!

Mike Mayer

And in this corner, with both Six-Guns firing, here’s Alex Watson’s comments…

Alex Watson – 1970 Chris-Craft XK-19 “Black & White”


Here’s my thoughts in regards to my classic 1970 Chris-Craft XK-19.

Handling / Ride
Though I haven’t driven many sport boats, I believe the XK-19 Chris-Craft must be among the best riding boats of its size. It’s Jim Wynne-designed “Deep V” hull — still the dominant feature of modern offshore powerboats — provides remarkable comfort and excellent directional control, even in significant chop. In fact, because the “V” extends right to the transom, the faster one goes in rough waters, the smoother the ride; the boat is literally skipping above the waves on the rear-most portion of its “V”.

Styling / Design
So many things of the late ‘60s and 70’s have become cliches of their era — pedestal seating, digital watches, etc. While the XK-19’s styling is of that vintage, it is not “period.” Balanced design rises above the excesses and fads of any era. Dick Avery’s work on the XK-19 bred the bold muscle of America with the softer elegance of Italy to achieve something beautiful in any time.

My boat has been painted a much deeper blue than the factory color. The quality of paint (Imron) is vastly richer and glossier. Purists might not like it, but I can’t imagine this boat looking any better than it does in this color.

The Attractive Chris-Craft XK-19 Resting In Bay Harbor

Eye Appeal
Whenever I launch the XK-19, people of all ages gather. They ask questions. They smile. They love it. I am particularly struck by what young kids think. Though fed a steady diet of “slammed” and “donked” cars in popular movies, music videos, and electronic games, they find the XK awesome. What do I think about it? Each time I approach it at the dock, I think “cool.” Not McQueen cool (the Grand Prix fits that bill much better.) Connery cool. Yeah, Bond would drive this.

I have two boats of this design. My other is a 1969 19’ Chris-Craft Commander Super Sport, powered by its original 230 hp Chris-Craft 327QA motor. Contrast that power with this XK-19’s. It has been re-powered with GM 383 Stroker with the Vortec cylinder heads. Horsepower: 405 @ 5,500 rpm. Torque: 450 at 4,200 rpm.

Alex Watson’s 1969 19′ Commander and 1970 XK-19

The difference in performance between the two boats is night and day. It makes sense that the “Deep V” hull of this model requires more time to plane than a flatter hull. More time or more power. I chose power. The 383 makes this boat LEAP out of the water compared to the older 327.

Like most Woody Boaters, I prefer original power. But this boat makes an incredibly strong case for re-powering. The fast lines and excellent hull deserve faster throttle response and higher top end. What is top end with the 383? I don’t know yet. We’re still breaking in the motor. With a properly tuned prop, I’ll be disappointed not to touch 60 MPH.

One other note — literally. The sound of the 327 is retro performance — “healthy.” The sound of the 383 is downright angry. And yes, you can hear and feel the loping of its more aggressive cam. Mmmmmmmmm.

What is this boat’s purpose? To make you look good, so you can impress your friends and attract girls. To go quickly, so you can… well… ditto. And to raise your heart rate. How “useful” it is at these tasks? 10/10. Can you fit groceries in it? Several bags. Luggage? Same. People? Four adults (comfortably) or two adults, three kids, and a dog (if he’ll lie down).

But let’s face it. This boat is best if your name is Bond, and your girl’s name is P_ _ _ y Galore. In that case, yes, you’ll have enough “room.” Including for the Bollinger ’75 on ice.

Personally, What do I like most about this boat? The joy of firing it up and, each time, thinking “Oh Boy.” Not any “Oh Boy.”

It’s also the joy of screaming across the water to the sound of 400+ horses. And when I make tight turns, feeling like I’m driving a fighter jet.

It’s the fun of seeing others delight in the boat’s go-fast style, even when it’s just parked.

And, after I’ve docked, it’s giving in to the desire to look back, seeing the boat, and thinking “wow, I actually own this!”

Alex Watson

So let us know what you think by voting in the comment section, or if you prefer you can e-mail us at Matt@woodyboater.com or Texx@woodyboater.com and I will post your comment as well. We can usually have it posted within a few minutes of receiving the e-mail all day, if our day jobs don’t get in the way. Voting ends at midnight tonight (Wednesday, December 7th) at 10:00 PM EST.

We will then tally the votes and give you the results of the “Classic Fiberglass Big Guns Shootout” on Thursday here at Woody Boater.

XK-19 – Sunset In Historic Hessel, Michigan

Thanks for voting – Texx

232 replies
  1. matt
    matt says:

    Man I love that XK-19.. It’s styling, color, sexyness.. But… I have to vote for the Arabian… Its that kid finger deal in the steering wheel…. Darn cool sterring wheel.. Wait, no I like the stripe on the XK… No wait… Wait, no, I vote for Rachel Welch! Ohhhhhcheeeemoma, I forgot that..

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Great story on two knock out classic glassers. After much thought and consideration, I have decided that I can not make a informed decision without a sea trial. Bring them to Algonac next year, let’s take a ride, and I will try real hard to make up my mind!


  3. Anonymous- Rick
    Anonymous- Rick says:

    1st pic grabs your attention, great subject but loooong blog today. How long do you think our attention span……..oh look a chicken.

    X19 wins, something.

  4. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    It’s not easy but I have to go with the Chris Craft XK-19. This boat just looks cool and with a 383 Stroker Vortec is incredible, in my opinion the best out of the crate marine engine ever built. Light weight high horsepower and sounds awesome. Take me for a ride Alex!

  5. Tom Mertaugh
    Tom Mertaugh says:

    Well it is hands down for me. The XK-19 is the best riding 19′ boat I have ever been in. It is such a deep Vee that it litereally slices the waves all the way to the transom, and gives you the softest ride of any 19′ boat ever. We had a 1975 Arabian, and it was also a nice boat, but the ride was hands down better in the XK. ALso the lines and color of the boats, the XK wins my vote also. Sorry Mike, but I have to agree with ALex on this one!!

    • W
      W says:


  6. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    Gotta go with the Arabian. The XK is cool – but it only seems to have peaked Alex’s passion with a repower. The Arabian came from the factory just as you see it and because I’ll admit I’m a Century Guy…….no wait….maybe Matt and I can share Raquel? What was she about to go for a ride in?
    Sigh…….still gotta go with the Arabian as I suspect it would be easier to get one of those than Raquel.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Jack – My reliable sources tell me that back in those days she was a Riva girl. She was attracted to the playpen on the aft deck, not sure why.

      The Riva guys will know for sure if they chime in…

  7. P---y Galore
    P---y Galore says:

    Good morning boys! Being a damn good pilot, I have to say I prefer airplanes. The ability to travel in three dimensions cannot be duplicated on the water, unless you are in trouble. However, if I were to own a boat for pleasure, there are many things to consider. Handling, performance and appearance being the three most important. Since I am unable to judge performance or handling firsthand, I must judge on the basis of appearance. The styling and sleek design of the Chris-Craft says motion and speed. The rotating driver’s seat allows full visibility for the driver. I like the Chris-Craft.

  8. m-fine
    m-fine says:


    You have to pay the pretty girls to be in a Century photo, and they literally fight with each other over a chance to ride in the classic Chris Craft. The looks, the ride, the styling the XK easily takes the prize in any category.

    Now if we expand it to a threeway competition, Raquel Welch would have won in 1971, but barring one hellofa restoration job, I bet Alex’s XK is much nicer looking in 2011-2012 and still wins hands down.

  9. tommy holmes
    tommy holmes says:

    1971 Century Arabian
    The Robert Rioux design is far ahead of its time. Check out that windshield design up front and the teak step boarding ladder on the stern. The 60″ forward of transom dead center weight makes this boat RIDE. A engineering marvel of a V-Drive Inboard.

    I’m voting for the Century (what a surprise) as it’s the only boat of the two with a cigarette lighter. Take that Bond! No smoking in a XK.

  10. tommy holmes
    tommy holmes says:

    oh and another thing,
    that’s my brother, John Holmes in the Arabian picture, the boy on the left side of the raft. Yup, that’s him, Big John.

  11. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    My question to all would be if you had one boat and you could only chose one of these two which would you choose.. I’m not sure I’m not a FG person… If you were going on strickly looks I think the XK19… Looking at the complete package.. I would say Arabian…

  12. The Central Scrutinizer
    The Central Scrutinizer says:

    Both are beauties and I would love to own either. But when I see the XK-19…this sums it up for me:

  13. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    What are stainless steel fenders? (seen on the Century equipment list) And isn’t Alex’ boat Black and Blue? I haven’t ridden in the Century, but I spent many hours in ARRRGH! on the St John’s River cruise etc. Great ride! The BIG square windshield kills the Century for me, yuk.

    Now can I have a ride Alex?

    Does Mike kiss everyone in his boat?

  14. Oliver
    Oliver says:

    Although the XK-19 is beautiful, my vote goes to the more user friendly Century, the manly boat with the big 440 Chrysler.

  15. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Texx, Midnight out your way would be 2:00 AM in the east.

    This is a lot more difficult than I thought. We’re looking at two really amazing boats, both go fast, both are stylish 70’s, one is sporty, the other sportier, one is family friendly but still performs, the other is built to perform and look oh so cool. One of these (to my knowledge) remains stock (as delivered), the other has been embellished (repowered and repainted).

    OK, at my age and not ever having a cool “go fast” boat but always wanting one, I must say that I would seek out an XK19.

  16. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Tough call – I think the styling of the XK is more sensual and timeless – almost like the near namesake Jaguar car of 10 years before. The Arabian is a much more practical boat, though styling is by necessity more pedestrian. I agree with the observation that Alex’s enthusiasm was piqued with the re-power – what about comparing the original 327 powered XK to Mike’s original 440 powered Arabian? Can’t be done today but I like originality. XK is a knockout colour though – no argument there. I am almsot never a PC guy, but I call a draw- XK has styling and power all over the Century, but Century more practical and original. In original guise the Century would have probably walked away from the 327 powered XK. Both great boats and very nice to see a focus on neat glass. Now, how about comparing costs and value per $? I know what the Arabian cost and it is very hard to beat on that score sheet. Maybe that could be the tie-breaker?

  17. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    That is a neat Cruiser in the background across the dock from that tupperware speedqueen! different strokes!

    John in Va.

  18. mike parenteau
    mike parenteau says:

    Century, Century, Century ! I should explain,I have had a 1975 resorter for the last 26 years and it turns more heads now than when I first got it to replace several old woodies I had.
    It’s as close to a woodie as possible.

  19. Robert
    Robert says:

    Arabian all the way. The XK does have nice styling, but the small block I/O puts it far behind the Arabian.

  20. Alex
    Alex says:

    Picture this. You glide into any marina, pull up to the dock, and choose one, two, or more from among the scores (sic) of bountiful, oogling fauna.

    That you can do with an XK. You WEAR this boat. You look great. You feel great. And it shows. Inhibitions among the opposite sex collapse. Nay, they vaporize. Doors open.

    You ARE Bond.

    But it’s different in an Arabian. When you drive one of those (sick), with its ersatz poplar, simulated imitation vinyl, bathroom-grab-bar-inspired swim ladder, twine-look steering wheel, and Coke-bottle windshield, you don’t become Bond.

    You become Griswald.

    What do you expect when you show up in the boating equivalent of the Family Truckster?

    You won’t score. You won’t even place. In fact, you’re not even in the game.

    So don’t vote out of pity for Mike.

    This is Bond vs Griswald.

    Which one are you?

    • MikeM
      MikeM says:

      If you’re a happily married man with two beautiful kids the Century is the way to go. Besides, I’ve seen a lot of nice boats pull up to the dock and I’ve never once seen a good looking chick run over to check the boat out. Sure, all the guys on the boat are checking the chick out but she doesn’t even see them.

      Face it Alex…you’re over 40…your invisible (Not Invincible, INVISIBLE!). Throw all the money you want at your XK and than wander, alone and invisible, down to the Islander to drown your sorrows and add up the real cost of your boat.

  21. Alex
    Alex says:

    Some of you are thinking too much. Were talking BOATS here people. Carefree, pre-emissions, peace, love, and understanding boats. Higher consciousness boats.

    Thinking has nothing to do with this. If it did, you’d never own one.

    Dollar value? Interior room? Fuel economy? Pleeeeease.

    Get a hold of yourself man!

    It’s WWBD.

    What Would Bond Drive?

  22. brian
    brian says:

    I dunno… the Ad boys over at Chris Craft did not seem all that concerned about sensual lines and timeless beauty in their literature for when they listed the equipment, number one was a BATTERY ! Yeaaaa my new boat comes with a battery whoo hoo !!

    Think back folks. These boats were emerging at a time when people did not desire all that goes with a wood boat anymore – they wanted ease of both function and maintenance.

    The CENTURY wins hands down on this as it clearly has a better layout for day to day living and useability. The CC has a small cockpit – just like the wood boats of the decades prior. Not only does the Century have a much larger cockpit area, it also has that great area on the rear for sunning and such.

    The CC does not have that area and in fact makes the four people cram themselves into the small cockpit which is much like the history of CC wood boats. What I am trying to say is that they did not venture too far from home.

    Century went full speed ahead – on so many levels.

    Both have style and class but if we are to shun the beauty of wood from the past and embrace fiberglass and usefulness, then we must vote for the leader of this pack.

    A CENTURY for the next century.

  23. matt
    matt says:

    Oh, god, there are other pictures to this story than the top one.. I just saw that.. If you stare at the stripes long enough, they move! Really, try it!

  24. Alex
    Alex says:

    Now we have production numbers. Good Lord. What’s next? Crash test results, length of warranty, number of storage bins?

    Sports car style.
    Sex appeal.

    That’s where it’s at.

    Ladies and Gentlemen. Friends, family. People of all races, creeds, colors. It comes down to the following choice. Again I ask, which one is you?



  25. Richard
    Richard says:

    No contest. XK-19 all the way. I have been in this boat. It is a dream. The Arabian looks like an old station wagon to me. It nice but looks like one you would want to have after you’ve past your peak. You know, like a retirement boat.

    The XK on the other hand fits the main criteria for getting a boat. Alex, you will remember this… As a group of use we’re looking over a potential purchase another friend rolled up and asked, “will it get you laid?”

    And even if it doesn’t get you that a ride in it will still put that same grin on your face.

  26. 72 Hornet
    72 Hornet says:

    As a wood boat and fiberglass boat owner, I appreciate both boats, but the chrome plated brass windshield frame and hardware package on the Century adds an element of understated elegance. However, when you look at the two boats, I feel that it is like comparing a 1969 Chevy Camaro (Chris Craft) to a 1969 Cadillac Eldorado (Century). My hat tip goes to the Arabian, but I do love the lines on the Chris!

  27. Alex
    Alex says:

    A Century for the Next Century?

    More like a Century for a centenarian. The thing was born an old man’s boat. All that extra freeboard is for the walker, pack of Depends, Fixodent…

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get in my DB5 and meet Plenty O’Toole for lunch. Or is it Xenia Onatopp today? Hmmmm. Holly Goodhead was yesterday…

  28. Alex
    Alex says:

    Richard, LOL, I remember it well. A very funny moment by one of Hessel’s real characters. And yet, no truer words were spoken. They changed my life. Since then, all purchase decisions I have made have hinged on that question. Regular or Premium. Scotch or better Scotch. In fact, it’s why I’m still looking for another XK-19.

  29. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The first thing listed for the Century is a bilge pump. If that doesn’t tell you what you need to know about Century’s lack of quality, I don’t know what will.

  30. chad
    chad says:

    If we bought vehicles based on practicality and functionality, we’d all be driving minivans. The XK is the Cobra GT.

    Great design yields clean, sexy lines. Not grab handles and padded platforms for playing Twister.

  31. Alex
    Alex says:

    The windshield on the XK is glass, not plexi (the one on the XK-18 jet is plexi). It happens to be very sexy CURVED class. You know, aerodynamic. To all you fans of cubist boats, i.e. Arabians, I realize curvature is a foreign concept. For instance, that thing in the black and white photo at the beginning of the post? It’s a w-o-m-a-n. And I can assure you she’d much rather ride in an AC Cobra, er XK-19, than a Caravan. But there’s a role for the Arabian. It can be the film crew vehicle.

  32. Tom Mertaugh
    Tom Mertaugh says:

    Looks are one thing, but go for a ride in a 2 foot chop. The CC will be as solid as a Mack truck, and the other contender, will, well lets say, not even in the same ball park.

  33. Tom H
    Tom H says:

    It seem like each person has found their dream boat. isn’t that what it’s about?
    Are you a Griswald or Bond?
    I for one always saw myself as a Bond man, well without the looks, money, fun toys, expencive cars or girls but who’s counting

  34. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    Alex – you are trying too hard.

    The Jaguar XKE was one stylish ride and it has remained timeless. As an artist I have to appreciate the porportions of both boats. The Arabian has the timeless classic stying of powerful boats of the past – yet has plenty of room, power, and utility. The XK19 – while not unpleasant reminds me a bit of a pregnant cuban cigar tube.

    This past September I spent a number of hours in an Arabian on a lake in Michigan. What a blast that boat was. We did tricks in that boat I never imagined possible.

    Impressed the heck out of me!

  35. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,
    More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,More wood boats,

  36. Alex
    Alex says:

    Bob, looking at that standard equipment list, I see it is mainly ordered alphabetically. A couple things out of place. But that too is classic 70s, like the panel gaps on the Boss 302, which, coincidentally, was produced in ’69 and ’70 — the initial years of the 19′ Commander and XK-19, respectively.

    As for candy a_ _ Roger Moore and his Esprit. He’s not Bond. He never was Bond. He just played Bond in the movies. Tho I must say his car is strangely reminiscent of an Arabian.

    Hey, it’s white too. Just like the horse!

  37. Alex
    Alex says:

    Jack. I’m not trying hard. Just having fun. This is like my birthday, only better. An escape from the icy grey weather in northern MI.

    Interesting comparison between the classic Arabian and “cigar tube” XK. If mine’s like a cigar tube, can we agree the Arabian is a cigar box?

    • Jack Schneiberg
      Jack Schneiberg says:

      Alex, I agree – it’s all in fun. Where can a bunch of boat enthusiasts (sic?) show support for their favorite marquee boats? I’m up for a water sport contest. Stock Arabian vs Stock XK19. As you are in upper Michigan where the weather has turned and I am in Southern Wisconsin where it is a balmy 28 above today – scheduling should be in the future – or not – say – who will stay drier in a healthy chop? I decree a runoff. Course, I don’t have an Arabian……I have….of all things a 1951 Century Wood Boat. Goes like stink and still floats…..all in fun, I agree

  38. tommy holmes
    tommy holmes says:

    a pregnant cuban cigar tube, lol

    I really like the XK taking off picture – the one with the bilge pump streaming to keep it afloat.

    the bilging picture alone, makes life preserers standard equipment on that pop can.

  39. Alex
    Alex says:

    Tommy H, that was Hessel Boat Show day. It rained all day. Bilged for what seemed like 10 minutes straight. But the Show was so worth it.

    • Jack Schneiberg
      Jack Schneiberg says:

      The Century windsheild was necessary to keep the bugs out of the face of the occupants. The Chris Craft guys – in addition to a bilge pump, needed a face mask to do the same.

  40. Eric
    Eric says:

    For this contest it has to be the XK. The Arabian is a great boat but too conservative for this contest. My dad’s buddy kept his XK-19 at our dock most summers, man it was a great ride!

  41. Tom Gruenauer
    Tom Gruenauer says:

    Alex, stop campaigning.
    Nothing beats Cubic Inches, Big Block 440!!
    Have Bond try to get one of his kids back into an XK.
    The lines on the XK are outstanding, but not very practical, see 18 / 21 Cobra.
    The Century is a classic, sounds great, holds a ton of friends and works as a ski/wakeboard boat. I can almost guarantee that mikes son will never forget boarding behind that boat. That’s what it is all about!


    • MikeM
      MikeM says:

      Maybe we can find out in Hessel this summer. Although I’m sure you don’t let kids ski behind the XK….Shoe’s off too, I imagine. No ice cream either….yawn.

      The bright side is that now Woodyboater lost it’s source for captains hats they can focus on mittens for kids 10 and under. That way if they get on an XK they won’t run the risk of having their fingers amputated in those awful steering wheels!

  42. LILY
    LILY says:

    I got your back, Uncle Alex!

    I have only 5 minutes before nap, so I’ll try to make this quick.

    Champs drive Chris Craft, Chimps drive Century.

    • Jack Schneiberg
      Jack Schneiberg says:

      Alex….you kiddin’. Bond slept around so much, I’ll bet he had a whole stable of kids – known or unknown. And, with all those martini’s “stirred – not shaken” – He probably forgot where they all are. Let’s face it – Bond was a Thoroughbred….as are all Century boats.

  43. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Wow…this has been lively!

    Here’s my last comment, I think, unless Alex can squeeze one more out of me…The XK is a great boat for a middle aged guy who wants to make up for something he’s missing inside. You can pretend it’s a chick magnet but we all know better. The XK is like an older woman with lot of plastic surgery and fakee’s bolted on. Sure, it looks good but is there substance to it? The authentic Arabian, on the other hand, is a sturdy boat you can count on. You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not to own it. No pretensions….no airs about it. It’s like a beautiful, confident, natural woman. One you can count on and settle down with. The XK probably looks at itself every time you go past a window! Not the Arabian…it knows!

  44. Alex
    Alex says:

    Mike, the XK is the perfect mermaid — one where you don’t have to choose whether to have the top half or the bottom half be the fish.

    Bottom half — Jim Wynne’s work — is beautiful in form.

    Top half — Dick Avery’s work — is beautiful in style.

    The Arabian? All fish.

  45. ARRRGH!
    ARRRGH! says:

    Been on top of the two foot chop, and love the ride. The fsater I go, the smoother the XK-19 rides! And, bugs are no issue – they fly well over the windshield. My teeth remain shiny, sparkling bright like the Bond kinda guy we XK drivers are! I even look over the windhsield and wear my ARRRGH! ball hat with the bill forward, like it’s supossed to be. No prejudice here, just the facts, M’am.

  46. buddy of anonymous's buddy
    buddy of anonymous's buddy says:

    Centurys are like fat women – they’re both fun to ride… until your friends see you on them.

  47. Captain Nemo
    Captain Nemo says:

    These two are really very different boats and have their own attributes. So comparing them is hard. The XK is decidedly cooler looking and the Arabian is more practical. I will have to vote for the Century because in stock configurations the Centuries were faster and made much better ski-boats. Also, I once owned an old Resorter that ate Chris Crafts for lunch.

  48. allenlee
    allenlee says:

    Century hauls the mail and rescues wayward Chris Crafts. If I could I would add another Arabian to my dock.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      HA – The Century (Raven) actually HAULED THE MAIL in the movie On Golden Pond.

      Maybe that’s where the saying was first used…

  49. brian
    brian says:

    Alex has a thing for Ginger it appears.

    XK – Ginger – “Don’t mess up the hair and let me know when you’re done.”

    Century – MaryAnne – “Let’s get giggy with it all weekend baby!”

    MaryAnne would be the best choice for a weekend of fun and sun. Those curves – wow. Ginger just waddled around and spoke like she smoked five packs a day. Hardly sensuous.

    Century all the way.

  50. Alex
    Alex says:

    Robert, the pic is of an XK I/O. The boat came in V’ for ’69 and ’70, then went strictly to I/Os. (My two are Vs.) The I/O had the more powerful, 330 hp motor (same hp as the Arabian). And while the I/O has the more powerful motor, and turns on less than a dime relative to the V (as you can see in videos on Youtube), I agree with you that the outdrive mechanism does not present as pretty a transom — tho much less obvious once in the water, of course. The market agrees too. V’s are harder to find and costlier. Still, I can tell XK #3 for me might be an I/O. The nimbleness is remarkable. I’ll bet that, combined with the hull design, is the best of both worlds. ARRRGH should know as I believe his is an I/O.

    Damn, that was way to serious for today’s banter.

  51. Alex
    Alex says:

    allenlee, so glad the Arabian is the choice of mail carriers. It even looks like a mail truck. Does this mean I can expect Mike to go postal?

  52. John in SoCal
    John in SoCal says:

    Love ’em both, but as the happy and proud owner of a 1983 Century Arabian V-Drive (less than 300 hours on the original Chrysler 330) and in amazing condition, obviously I have to go with the Century. The XK is a beauty, but offers little more in recreation than driving fast and “being seen”. My Century is just as fast, always draws “thumbs up” on the lake, but it’s also an awesome boat for pulling, as well as cruising around the lake with friends over cocktails (none for the captain). On a side note, in my humble opinion, Century absolutely dominated the high end fiberglass lake boat market in the 70s and 80s. I remember back in the early 80s seeing my first Arabian on Lake Chelan, Washington, and I’ve wanted one ever since I was a teenager. Now I’m lucky enough to own one of my own that I enjoy up at Big Bear Lake, Cali. Great article! Congrats to both parties for beautiful boats!

    • Robert
      Robert says:

      Cocktails you say!

      At lease Century had the class of installing a built in bar! In case you xk giys did not know, The back of the drivers seat had racks for five 750ml bottles and six rocks glasses. STOCK!

  53. brian
    brian says:

    Alex – check out the following clip from Quantum of Solace with your buddy James Bond. The clip shows Bond riding in a boat to visit his buddy Mathis at Talamone.

    That ain’t an XK he is riding in. It is not a Century either BUT, it sure looks a lot more like the Century than any XK I have ever seen. And he is clearly enjoying himself.

    In other words, your comparison falls a bit flat, like a 59′ Bollinger.

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Sorry Brian, you are misunderstanding Alex I think. Bond is RIDING in this clip. If he was DRIVING, it would be in the XK-19.

    • MikeM
      MikeM says:

      Ranger, I’ll kiss you if you go for a ride with me in the Arabian….just ask Mary Ann and WoodyGal….

    • ARRRGH!
      ARRRGH! says:

      Ranger, no begging necessay! Just find me anywhere, and the ride is yours for the asking.. (My memory is only excellent in the moment!). I will be at Tacares in March, Heartland Classics (Grand Lake, OK) in June and INternationals in September! And, if you’ll sucumb to a kiss from MikeM, the offer is withdrawn (unless you are Rachel, or a sorta look alike with feminine plumbing, in which case we can negotiate). AND, MikeM, keep your lips off of my First Mate! She knows better!

      • Texx
        Texx says:

        So does this mean you have to be a female to get a ride in Pumpkin at Lake Dora? Would you consider an old Woody Boater Roving reporter with poor photography skills?

        • WoodyGal
          WoodyGal says:

          Good morning Texx, kinda not fair to post at 2am when we are all sleeping! I think Pumpkin would be delighted to take you for a ride! However, ARRRGH! will be at Taveres this year, so you may have to wait until International at Tablerock.

        • ARRRGH!
          ARRRGH! says:

          I did not know there was a 2:00 AM! Oh my!. Texx, your Pumpkin ride is reserved. Location wil be not Tavares this year. Pumpkin will be at Grand Lake, OK for the Heartland Claassics Show in June and Table Rock Lake for Internationals in September. You may need to wear a long hair wig to keep up my image, but we can talk!

        • Pumpkin
          Pumpkin says:

          No, being a girl is not a requirement, but gets you to the head of the line quicker. Kissing MikeM is the killer of the deal here . . . .unless . . .

      • ranger
        ranger says:

        We’ll be at Tavares – wouldn’t dream of missing it!

        We’ll find you…would love to have a ride!

        Mike – husband has no sense of humor so no kissing allowed, sorry dude!


  54. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Whichever boat wins the shoot out, the concept here on WB is a huge hit – look at all the posts, the silly light hearted banter and infantile humour. Great idea Mike, Alex, Matt & Texx. Lets see more….any suggestions for boat pairings out there? A late ’50’s – early ’60’s Chris Continental vs. Century Coronado is obvious.

  55. Alex
    Alex says:


    James Bond In Boating Collision

    Talamone, Italy


    James Bond was involved in a boating accident. While sipping Bollinger and enjoying the company of a beautiful exotic woman, his XK-19 was struck broadside by a Century Arabian.

    Authorities, who conducted an investigation, determined the Arabian, driven by Mr. Mike Mayer, lost steering control and veered sharply sideways striking Mr. Bond’s boat amidships.

    Thankfully, Mr. Bond and his companion were not seriously injured, owing to the hull strength of his boat.

    Mr Bond was treated for minor cuts and was last seen being driven by boat to a private residence.

    “What a crappy day,” Mr. Bond said when queried about his experience. “First some kid hits me. Then I had to ride in a boat that looked just like his — a mail boat of all things.”

  56. Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy says:

    Sorry to comment so late , only 113 replies so far? Got to go with the XK, AND its great to remember how beautiful Raquel was!

  57. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Battle of the Brands. This is whats shaking done here.
    We aint never going to agree. Its like the Holden vs Ford camps on Mt Panorama during Bathurst weekend.
    Its all about the brand and what your choice says about you.
    Im not sure what Century says about me vs Chris Craft but at a very early point Century boats stirred my blood and Chris Craft didnt. Now Im a Century guy.
    Brand is what its all about and somewhere behind all this we will find an Art Director and a writer in an ad agency in the 50’s through 70’s making stuff up about these two cool boat brands.
    To prove a point I love the look of the XK but I own an Arabian so Im voting Century. Its just more me.
    As an aside we are over 100 posts!! Matt/Texx, is that a record?

  58. Ben
    Ben says:

    Both today and yesterday the lesson is: all is well if you keep your finger out of the hole.

    Knowing the damage that does physically and psychically – yet the compulsion (when given the opportunity) to stick it – I vote for the Arabian.

  59. Alex
    Alex says:

    Ben, yes and no. Works in an XK. But if you drive an Arabian and keep your finger out of the hole, you’ll sink.

  60. jimmuh
    jimmuh says:

    @PaulH –
    “….any suggestions for [other] boat pairings out there?”

    mmm, let’s see: Riva Tritone vs ……….. mmm, well, oh never mind, there IS no comparison! 😉 Sorta’ like Sophia Loren vs ……… anyone else….

    Oh yeah, XK all the way!

  61. Richard
    Richard says:

    Even the name is better. An Arabian is a horse.

    XK-19 sounds like some mysterious high tech Bond vehicle.

    If you manage to get past the name and it still isn’t obvious then LOOK. Did you do a double take at the XK, or perhaps if you saw it first, your eyes never left to even see the Arabian.

    Alex, You should be ashamed. This isn’t even a fair fight.

  62. Texx
    Texx says:

    After seeing everyones enthusiasm and fun comments today, I can hardly wait to see what happens at the first ever Woody Boater Virtual On-Line Christmas Party…

      • Texx
        Texx says:

        Yes, and you are invited Phil. It will be an all-day, late-night bash so you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night in New Zealand to join the fun…

        We are expecting many celebrities from the hobby too, so stay tuned for more details. WoooHooo!

  63. Mike Watson
    Mike Watson says:

    As the proud owner of two 1969 Chris Craft Commanders, a 35 Sport Cruiser and a 1969 Commander SS19 that is nearing a full restoration, I must admit that my opinion is not neutral. I would also like to add that both boats are just a small representative of the work of Dick Avery who has to be considered the best marine “stylist” that has ever worked in the industry. His work is timeless.

    A runabout like the Century with a 440 in it is inspiring to say that least. The XK or 19SS, only made one year, is breathtaking. Smoking HOT! Both are at the head of the class. We could use an analogy of the muscle cars of the 60’s with the Impala SS being the Century and the Camaro SS being the XK/Commander SS. One a sedan and the other a dream car. I guess that is why Camaro has been reintroduced by Chevy and it still turns heads. You can also see some of the 19XK/SS design in the newer CC sport boats. Again timeless design.

    Mike Watson
    No relation Alex

    • MikeM
      MikeM says:

      Hey Paul….did he just compare my Arabian to an Impala??? I’m in heaven!!! Today is the best day EVER!! WoooHoooo!!

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        isn’t every day heaven for a man who owns an Arabian and TWO Impalas, and not the unreliabled older vrsions, but two stylin’ late model versions!

        All you need now is a Steelcraft, and life will be perfect!

  64. Doug Wiggins
    Doug Wiggins says:

    Hear ye hear ye,
    My vote is for the Arabian, after perusing both the literature and photos the clear winner is the powerful Century. Both boats would be a pleasure to own, but pulling up to the dock with that 440 rumbling I’m pretty sure you would get everyones attention and votes for the best boat over the XK.

    If it ain’t Boeing I’m not going.

  65. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    It’s been awful quiet in XK land lately. Alex, are you out there? My staffers are standing by waiting for your concession phone call. Please don’t make Matt and Texx dig through all these votes looking for hanging Chads. (Chad, are you still out there? Alex needs you. Try changing your name by one letter and vote again).

    Thanks for a fun day Matt and Texx!!

  66. Alex
    Alex says:

    Hey you Arabians, enamored by that powerful 440. You did read that the XK here has 405 hp, right? Whereas the 440 of early 70’s vintage is rated at 375 hp. That would suggest the XK has 30 more ponies than the Arabian.

    But wait, there’s more! Actually, there’s less. The 383’s hp figure is measured in net hp. The Arabian’s, in brake (gross) hp. When that 440’s power is measured in net, the hp falls to 305 hp, a 100 net hp deficiency. Point goes to the 383.

    But as Robert said earlier, we’re talking small block hp vs big block hp. No comparison. Actually, it’s close. The 440 twists out 480 ft lbs, while the 383 produces 450, albeit in a lighter package. Point goes to the 440.

    It’s hard to ignore the 100 hp difference, especially among those of us who care about top speed (which probably makes all of us). Makes me wonder if the 440-star-struck still put playing cards in their bicycle spokes. Ha.

  67. Alex
    Alex says:

    Mike, NEVER.

    Honey, put on another pot of coffee. And hand me that 6 pack of 5 hour energy. The night is young.

  68. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Don’t you guys ever work. I was busy restoring Chris Crafts all day , I suppose the known as the put puts. My vote, well, it all depends on the conditions and the driver.

  69. Alex
    Alex says:

    Ok, time to wrap this up. No, really.

    For those of you who voted XK, free thrill rides in Hessel next Summer.

    For those of you who voted Arabian, as we say in the Watson household when someone misbehaves: “No Boat For You!”

  70. Chad
    Chad says:

    You all should know that Mr. Mayer ATTEMPTED to pay for my vote. I received an email from him last night that read as follows:

    What’s it gonna take to buy….errrr, secure your vote? Does Lily have a college savings fund? What’s your favorite charity? Just let me know.

    Mike Mayer
    Lake Oswego Boat Co, LLC

  71. brian
    brian says:

    Aww, that is a clear forgery. It means nothing. Just some hacker having some fun.

    Look at the following spam email I received from “Alex” last night:

    Hey Bestest Buddy Brian,

    The big day is tomorrow so make shure you vote for mee and be sure to tell both of your friends to do the samme.
    Your two (2) million lira will be there soon.
    Thanks again buddy-roo!.

    Your fiend,
    Mr. Alex deMichigan
    East Sahara Desert

  72. Texx
    Texx says:

    It’s now 10:30 PM in Petoskey, MI and I think Alex is in bed now… So we can talk about him.

    Alex must have been on the High School Debate Team back in the 60’s, he is always quick to fire back… or Back-Fire.

    We are now preparing the extensive, intensive vote count, results of the “Classic Big Guns Shootout” will be announced in the morning.

    Thanks to everyone for participating in a fun day of comments.

  73. Ben
    Ben says:

    Are the blog on lock down?! No more votes!? No Justice, No Peace! Occupy! Time for the Arab(ian) Autumn!! …


  74. J-fine
    J-fine says:

    Clearly the Xk-19 wins. I am sure when it comes time to count the votes many of those mistaken votes for the Century will have been recanted.

    Don’t forget Century voters, we know who you are and we know where you live. There is still time to see the light.

  75. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    Lets have a real competition. Here is what should go up against each other 1959 Chris Craft Continental 21 vs. 1959 Century Coronado.. They were in competition back in 1959 it would be fun to see today…

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Frank – That’s a great idea, if we could locate two willing participants I say let’s do it…

      Just between us, which 1959 Coronado was faster in terms of power options?

  76. John L Gill
    John L Gill says:

    After 34 years in marine service on Big Bear Lake, CA I have grown to appreciate both the C/C XK and the Arabian and have innumerable opportunities to service and run both boats at length.

    When choosing my personal family boat it was a hard push to decide as they are both fine boats with great style and good performance on rough water.

    The XK is a great sport boat. The Arabian an elegant performance cruiser. In the end the sliding top, 440 Chrysler, comfortable v-hull, and L-seating won out.

    Purchasing a very rough 72 for restoration has proven a good choice as the boat has provided my family with great times in style for the last 12 years. However I still enjoy running the XK boats I service.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks for chiming in John. We have discovered that there are tons of classic Century Arabian lovers out there like you, from all over the world.

  77. Craig Zimmermann
    Craig Zimmermann says:

    While the Arabian is, after nearly 50 years of adimring and enjoying boats, probably in my top 5 boats as a “favorite,” the XK is just too cool! Gotta go with that one!  I’ve always loved them too. I guess because it’s similar styling to my ’69 Cobalt XV-200 which is, in essence, a classic Donzi 16 mold.  Some have said the XK is much like the Donzi in design but just a touch cooler.  Sometimes I have to agree.  Note: It also takes a lot for me to prefer “anything” over and Arabian (such sweet boats they were), but with the XK Chris Craft, I’d have to say that its almost the “ultimate” cool boat ever made and I can’t think of why I’m saying “almost!”   🙂

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks for your insight Craig. It’s certainly hard to beat the classic styling of the XK. Stay tuned for the shootout this summer, it will be fun.

  78. Alex
    Alex says:

    Hi Craig.  You are a fine man an a loyal friend.  (Tho I have never met you.)  Come to Hessel and you have a hall pass to drive the pee pee out of mine!  (Sorry. I have a 4 year old.)

  79. Mike
    Mike says:

    IT IS PERFECT, original owner, has all the original documentation, sales receipt,order form,everything I really can’t believe it at all!!! I have pictures but have not seen anyone call this an XK 19 excalibur ???
    I have seen the XK 19 super sport ??
    This one is not the inboard/outboard model. Can anyone who knows anything about this boat contact me and help me out ?
    I am in shock that I can buy this boat tomorrow. I heard there was only line 103 made and there was only like 24 left documented originals left ???? Is this true ??? Contact me at 615-525-8636 or mwood@championcontractors.com

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Mike – Stay tuned, we will have our resident XK Expert look into this on Tuesday (today). Great find! (I think)

  80. Alex
    Alex says:

    Mike, I am not familiar with an XK-19 “Excalibur.” Yes, Chris-Craft made boats they called Excaliburs, but these were around 1980 — a good 5-10 years after the XK’s — and they were totally different boats. They were a derivative of the Stinger models the company made in that era. The XK-19 is a smaller boat than the Stinger Excaliburs — 10 or more feet shorter. I’m not sure who is advertising an “XK-19 Excalibur” but to the best of my knowledge, no such model exists. My advice is to be careful because I believe the person listing the boat is either mistaken or misleading.

    Here are images of the Stinger Excaliburs. http://www.chriscraftstingers.com/galleries.php

    Now, regarding the XK-19’s, there are probably more than the 24 or so you mention left. Documented is quite different than actual survivors, and survivors seem to be popping up as the boat is gaining interest in the classic glass market. The 1970 XK-19 is basically a rebadging of the 1969 19′ Commander Super Sport. The latter was only available as a v-drive (propellor through the boat’s bottom), whereas XK-19’s were available in either v-drive or inboard-outboard configuration. If it’s performance or handling you are interested in, the inboard-outboards beat the v-drives hands down. But if it’s rarity, sex appeal, and collectibility that matter most, and don’t forget that incredible through-transom exhaust note of a classic inboard, the v-drive is clearly the way to go.

    FYI, I own ’69 Commander Super Sport and a ’70 XK-19. Both are v-drives. They are very cool boats and draw admiring comments without fail each time I depart or arrive at a marina. Go-fast styling done right will always be magnetic.

    Here is more info about the ’69 Commander Super Sport and XK-19s.


    Best of luck with your research and decision. If you want to send me pics of the boat you are considering, or if there’s anything else I can help you with, my email is agwatson2@gmail.com

    Oh, and here’s a video of my XK-19. The swim platform you see has since been removed (thank goodness!) and the motor you hear (which is not original to this boat) has been replaced with something even healthier. 🙂


  81. Paul Crammond
    Paul Crammond says:

    Wow, what a great topic & exchange of comments!
    Both the Arabian and Chris XK-19 are fab, desirable boats that evoke the sexy, Sinatraesque ’60s.

    My bright red ’84 Arabian gets more admiring looks than any new glass boat. We just took it on the Muskoka Big Cruise this past weekend, what a great event. The Arabian’s tall wrap-around windshield makes it a great boat for cool spring and fall cruises. There are many classic Centurys here in Muskoka, as for years there was a very successful dealer in Port Carling.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Paul – The Big Cruise Event certainly looked like fun. We love the Century Arabians here at Woody Boater too…

  82. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    The Century is a classic unmolested boat. The CC has been modified and is an exact copy off the Sea Ray Pachanga 19, manufactured from 1969-1972. The Century wins hands down.

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  84. Craig judge
    Craig judge says:

    Great idea on the shoot out. Two great classics. I love the cubic inches in the Century. They sound imposing. I would suggest the boats were a bit mismatched. Kind of like comparing a big block Impala SS to a…well, an XK Jag. Both amazing in their own right but in different ways. Perhaps a better comparison would be the Arabian and a Chris Craft Lancer 19′. The Lancer had the exact same hull as the xk but with a more family friendly cockpit. The xk was also cut down approximately 10″. Lancers, like the Arabian were built right through the end of the 70’s and had power ranging from the 307 up to 350.
    As for the Excalibur connection mentioned in a reply, I have seen late 60’s advertising referring to the xk as the Excalibur. I’m unaware of it going beyond marketing.

  85. Todd Beasley
    Todd Beasley says:

    I’ve been fortunate in having two Arabians in my life … the first was my dads, it was a 1976 Bi Centennial model .. the second (my mistress) is an 1983 I bought from a most clueless individual … (it had 10.7 hours on it and I bought it for $ 4,700.00 with trailer ) that was in 1992 and at this point I have worn it out ( and fully rebuilt it) twice ! … the engine clock now reads 1,796 hrs ! Don’t tell my wife but i’m pretty sure i’ve invested well over $ 150,000.00 in it !!! ( yeah I know investment is a bit of a stretch ) I could have had any other boat – but this Arabian is without a doubt the classiest boat under 25! and to settle the argument – an Arabian can take(if you have to) 3-5 foot waves , try that in a XK … CHEERS FOLKS —HURRAH TO ALL CENTURY LOVERS !!! Todd from Calgary

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  88. Murray Parnell
    Murray Parnell says:

    Hard call but to look at both at a show the style and the stripe on the XK does it for me. It would look good behind my 70 Chevelle SS with the black stripes

  89. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Looks like I got in waaaay late on this one ….not just to cancel out Tommy’s vote but feel the ride in the XK-19 and you’ll vote for her.

  90. George Burgess
    George Burgess says:

    I’ve got to go with the Arabian due to the seating. The boat is much more user friendly for all types of boating.

  91. Mike K
    Mike K says:

    we had that arabian in 1974, they took away the lounge seat and put in a rotating bucket on the port side,

    wish we kept that one!

    i have the same engine in my strebrlow now, chrysler 440, 330 horse!.


  92. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    I think everyone is still working through the old comments or they are asleep?
    ARRRGH! (The boat) is having her original engine re-built and should be ready to go in the spring!
    Of course I vote XK-19

  93. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Second thoughts…If Mike really wanted a Ski boat he should have looked for a Ski Boat rather than a hot rod. The 1969-70 ’17’ Chris Craft Corsair Ski Boat with a 327 was an ideal ski boat in those days. It would have probably done close to 50 mph too. There is one pictured in the current Rudder at the Tahoe show. Looks like someone has added a swim platform which is an option Chris Craft probably could have added, if they had thought of it back then.

  94. Sean
    Sean says:

    They are both nice boats. But, it’s like comparing a Chevrolet Impala with a Ford Galaxy. If you want the real 1970’s era muscle boat winner it will have the name DONZI on the side…

    • Gary Johnson & Jill Stein
      Gary Johnson & Jill Stein says:

      Sean – thank you for considering another option other than those of this two-party dominated story.

      • Sean
        Sean says:

        Gary & Jill, you’re entirely welcome. When talking about the “Big Gun” fiberglass runabout of the 70’s it’s nice to get out of the comfort zone of the brands Woodyboaters know best and look at what was at the pinnacle of performance boats.

  95. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    This is much simpler with a few more years behind us. Since the original story ran, Mike put the Arabian up for sale in a desperate hope to find anyone willing to take it off his hands. Alex on the other hand still owns and loves the XK.

  96. Stephen Fowler
    Stephen Fowler says:

    I was all set for the XK, despite the appeal of the Arabian’s daybed, when I spotted the Canadian beer in the hands of the Arabian driving lad.

    Done deal, Arabian wins!

  97. Jim G
    Jim G says:

    I’ve never ridden in a XK. But I do have the Wynne designed deep vee 23′ inboard Lancer. Which rides great in rough water. It has its original 350Q which pushes it along great. An ACME prop made it a completely different boat.

    Also I have used an Arabian for a holiday weekend in the past. Which was powered with the 440 Chrysler. I have also driven one that came with a Mercruiser 454. They also were a great riding boat in rough water.

    The only draw back on the Arabian as far as using it is down here in the south you cook to death behind the big windshield. It acts like an oven and at speed its so big that it completely blocks airflow to everyone except those who sit on the backseat. They get a breeze hits the top of their head. Unless they sit up higher. The one I used was an 80’s model which had the vent window’s which even though they let air in. It wasn’t nearly enough.

    • Dave Nau
      Dave Nau says:

      I have to say, I never thought I would see so many comments at WoodyBoater on comparing two beautiful classic FIBERGLASS boats. Matt, I think you’ve tapped into something, and I’m not sure what it is, but to me, it’s all good!

  98. Scott K
    Scott K says:

    This article is the reason we went from zero boats to two and have met so many great people.
    Of course, we’re biased to the XK, but I have a feeling that a Century may join the fleet sooner or later.

  99. Chase Calligan
    Chase Calligan says:

    I’ve walked right by MANY Century boats for sale and cheap and didn’t even think about looking/or caring what powerplant it might ?have pushing it.I walked in one of my customers storage buildings he has built, or bought, seven now to house his collection. He has a wonderful collection mainly consisting of Chris Craft, Donzi, Boston Whaler and a few very neat odd-ball boats from 70’s to 90’s. They are all in excellent condition and of course stored indoor and climate controlled.I have seen a lot of boats and have owned 8 now that (after 5 years) I finally was able to get my hands on the one boat I had never seen before. The boat wasn’t any of his main displays with signage and all but it caught my eye immediately and I wanted it.I own it now and it’s an original unmolested barely used 1971 XK-18. Out of all the boats he has THAT boat just seemed to scream at me from a distance.After 5 years of harassment he finally gave me a figure one day and I jumped.Haven’t had it long and only on the water twice because the Mallory distributor on the 350Q intake is junk and finding the right electronic replacement was not even existent until Sierra just came out with an actual true replacement part which arrived at my house today .Tomorrow I should be able to tell you how much more I love my XK.

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