Want To Celebrate Independence Day Aboard A Classic Chris-Craft Express Cruiser?

Tuesday this week marked the first day of summer for 2011, so summer is officially here in Woodyboaterville. And next week fellow Woody Boaters across America will be celebrating Independence Day on the water. And what better way to celebrate the 4th of July Holiday than on a classic Chris-Craft Express Cruiser… if you have one. And if you don’t, it’s not too late to pick one up.

Last week we discovered this very nice 1953 22′ Chris-Craft Express Cruiser for auction on eBay and thought it would be fun to share it with the Woody Boater community, just in case someone out there is looking for a smaller classic mahogany cruiser.

“Bowfin” is owned by Andrew & Amanda Long from Greenville, South Carolina. The 1953 Chris-Craft won the award for “Best Cruiser” at the recent 2011 Lake Hartwell Antique Boat Festival in South Carolina. According to “The Essential Guide” only 498 22′ Express Cruisers were produced by Chris-Craft between 1951 & 1954, “Bowfin” (X22-350) was number 350 in the production series.

According to the seller, for a 22′ Express, the boats cabin is spacious and sleeps 3 adults comfortably. This could be perfect for the young family on a budget, who are looking for a classic mahogany cruiser without breaking the bank. The KL-105 HP Hercules which powers “Bowfin” was completely rebuilt by Mike Green from Maritime Classics in 2005… and you know when it’s done by Mike Green, it’s done right – as he is one of the top restorer’s in the country.

One of the many benefits of being a member of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club is having access to their huge archive of information, which includes many original marketing brochures and price lists from back in the day. In the Chris-Craft Archive we found this rare 1953 Chris-Craft Water Ways brochure. It’s evident from reading the brochure that the Chris-Craft Corporation was heavily promoting their line of Cruisers and Express Cruisers, with 10 of the 12 pages in the product line brochure dedicated to the cruiser line-up.

In the book “The Legend of Chris-Craft” by Jeffrey L. Rodengen – Chapter XV “The Fifties” Jeffrey comments…

It was to be a decade of fantastic change , not only for the manufacturing techniques of boat and yacht production, but also for the society which was privileged to acquire and enjoy them.

The introduction of color television competed with the invasion of South Korea for headlines, as Chris-Craft entered another decade, prepared to explore the fresh and uncharted frontiers of a now adolescent marine marketplace.

Chris-Craft’s dominance of the pleasure boat industry was not affected in the least by the quiet disappearance of their outboard motor division… The 1953 fleet of 111 models included an unusually small selection of runabouts…

Express Cruisers were offered in 22′, 26′, 28′ (Super Deluxe Express) 32′, 33′ (Capitan) and 40′ lengths… Prices started at $3,650.00 for the 22′ 60 HP model to $21,850.00 for the 40′ Express with a pair of 160 HP engines. Cruisers continued to dominate with 45 models, with greater emphasis on larger models, increasing in both appointments and capabilities.

In the colorful 1953 Fleet Price Schedule, the Top of the Line 22′ Express c/w 105 HP Hercules (rated for 30 MPH) had a list price of $3,990.00. Options included a Folding Top with Side Curtains for Flying Bridge ($180.00) and Standard Accessory Group – Fresh Water System, Toilet, Stove & Sink ($275.00).

The eBay listing and item description for “Bowfin” is very extensive, for more information click here to go directly to the eBay auction listing. The auction ends on June 26th at 16:41 EDT – just in time to buy it, have it transported to your local lake and be ready for the July 4th Fireworks Celebration…

Woo Hooo!

Thanks to the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club for providing the 1953 Water Ways Brochures and Fleet Price List. If your not already a member of the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club, you can visit their web site to learn more about the advantages of membership by clicking here.

If you are interested in antique & classic boats, and you live in the USA it’s the best $35.00 you will ever spend! (Only $50.00 for International members)


10 replies
  1. Texx
    Texx says:

    Hey Don – Is that model in the 1953 Chris-Craft Water Ways brochure wearing a Riva Ariston inspired Zebra bathing suit?

    Or did she just go straight to the Chris-Craft photo shoot from a Riva photo shoot?

    Just wondering…

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Sleeps 3 adults comfortably? That either means 3 adult somethings other than humans, or someone doesn’t know what comfortable means. Sufficient room for 3 intoxicated college students to crash for the night might be a better description.

  3. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    Hey Texx; that caught my eye as well. Zebra never goes out of style. See all those purses the ladies are carrying around these days?

  4. Ben Monfil
    Ben Monfil says:

    I wish I could “time share” it! For every week of “fun” you’ve got to do a week of “upkeep”. Too bad not one of my four brothers is into boats…

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      Maybe 2 weeks of upkeep for each week of use? At least we don’t use the red lead paint anymore. It’s amazing I didn’t get poisoned from scraping, sanding and repainting the bottom of Dad’s boats when I was growing up. Who even heard of a respirator back then?

  5. SS Dave
    SS Dave says:

    I love this boat! Seems like a pretty decent guy too. If you read the listing it mentions that the boat has been spray fiberglassed and that it is one on wooden fishing boats. Does anyone know about this process and the pros or cons?

    • jerri
      jerri says:

      Hi Dave, The photos don’t do it justice, she was next to us at Hartwell – A real stunner. $15k seems reasonable. I’m not so sure on the fiberglass over wood though. Someone with more experience will have to answer that.

  6. Susan Littin
    Susan Littin says:

    Hello all

    Well, we bought this baby and absolutely love her. We replaced the prop as the one fitted was a bit small. Still doesn’t seem to get a good plane though but at least it doesn’t feel like it’s going no where at full throttle. She does take in a wee bit of water as normal but we are going to fill her bottom while out of the water to see if the figerglass is an issue. The carb needed a bit of adjusting but all in all we are thrilled to have her on Lake Erie in Ohio. You will find us in and around Fairport Harbour.

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