Debate Week Part 5 – Is The Term Antique & Classic No Longer Applicable?

Collect them all!

Collect them all!

With the addition of the new term Late Classics and the introduction of fiberglass and other materials into the official judged categories, should we be retiring the long term Antique & Classic which describe age, vs, the new term we are proposing for debate sake. “Collectable Boats” For the sake of argument. It’s shorter and is the relevant term to a different mind set of boat owners. Sure they can be described by age and category by Antique and Classic.. But for the newer generation of owners? Antique and Classic conjure up  to a memory and something old that sits around to not be used.. Where as “Collectable” inspires a reason to own, restore and enjoy the boat.. Also it’s kinda a funny thought that people actually collect boats.. I know I know, to us its normal, but admit it. when you mention that you are into collecting boats, it definitely inspires a conversation.. And yes.. for all you smart allec’s, I had to Google “Applicable”.

50 replies
  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The problem with these terms is they have a real meaning to everyone outside the hobby that is not the same as the ACBS definition.

  2. JFunk
    JFunk says:

    Of course it’s still applicable. The ACBS is just that, a Society (a nice word for club) for those of us passionate about antique and classic boats. The term ‘Classic’ throws a broad net in the ACBS, now including later watercraft as recent as 25 years old to recognize newer boats that many younger boaters consider classics from their early boating days. A very good change as the club contiunes to evolve. The age, and not the collectability of a boat determines its designation (historic, antique, classic, late classic, etc.). I believe it still works.

  3. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    As people see the “newer” boats at shows the term should evolve in their minds what a classic is. I doubt many that go to the shows care what we call them, they just want to see beautiful boats and bring back memories. Boat show organizers need to keep shows fresh and interesting to keep attracting crowds and the younger people that will become the future of our hobby.and there are lots strangers things to collect other than boats.

  4. Sean
    Sean says:

    When I hear the term “collectable” I think of dusty knick knacks on a shelf somewhere. Or, maybe the six new (insert movie name here) plastic cups at McDonalds.

    “Antique and Classic” could be shortened to just a generic term, “Classic” as a less specific description to convey the idea of the association without delving into all the hobby nomenclature. However, this could be confusing to some as it is also a specific category title.

    “Classic” invokes images of a Ferrari 250 GTO, or a 67 Buick Riviera. It summons up memories of Just six professional hockey teams or the grace of a spectacular Lynn Swann Superbowl end zone catch. “Classic” can describe a Coke float, a perfect summer day or any number of Bill Murray movies. And while all of our boats are technically not “historic” we could say that they are all “Classics”.

    This is not to say that “Antique & Classic” is a specific representation or encompassing description with the omission of “Historic” and recently the commissioned “Late Classic” categories. It would be awkward to have the “Historic, Antique, Classic & Late Classic Boat Society”.

    Still, I support continuation of the established “Antique & Classic Boat Society” moniker as it just rolls off better than the “Old & Cool Boat Club”… Dude.

  5. Speedboat Outlaw
    Speedboat Outlaw says:

    No change please, I’d have to get a new license plate. My “ACBS” would have to be just “C”. But wait, then my old plate would be a collectable!

  6. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    Leave the title exactly as it is. It describes our boats very well, as the terms used are accurate. Those terms even describe the newer boats, as many states allow cars to have “historic” or “antique” designated license plates after the car is 25 years old. Boats are no different. The term “collectible” adds a cheap and negative connotation, bringing to mind Beanie Babies or Precious Moments dolls.

    OK, choices for next topic … Texx or Matt? Alex or Cobourg Kid? Thousand Island or Ranch?

    • Sean
      Sean says:

      Plank vs. plywood, clinker vs. carvel, outboard vs. inboard vs. I/O, diesel vs. gas, runabout vs. utility, displacement vs. planing, anti foul vs. paint, chrome vs. nickel… how many days left???

  7. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Fine as it is because it actually does describe the boats our members own, use and show very accurately and inclusively. A 30 year old boat may be a classic but not an antique, while a 90 plus year old boat could be either or even both.

  8. Alex
    Alex says:

    Ok ok. Since there’s nothing controversial about today’s topic, let’s have a laugh.

    Very funny header today. Keeping with that theme…

  9. Alex
    Alex says:

    Ok. My well-under-1MB photo didn’t attach. Making my above comment inert.

    Here’s a topic worth debating. Technology. Can’t live with it, or can’t live without it?

  10. Steve Moreau
    Steve Moreau says:

    One more time! Been a great week reading even got the blood pressure to rise! And beening new here this may be the best cardio work out I’ve had for years! We are boat users but appreciate the fine works of art that are out there. But being users if more fun for us. And I thing one can expose many people to the hobby just getting out and enjoying your boat. Heck offer to take folks on a ride for the day enjoy the company of others on the water. I believe the biggest impact one can have is to spend a little time with some one sharing the joy of the day on the water!

    I think Mary Anne would be more inclined to pitch in on the restoration. As for me at a boat show well we do plan to attend but not to have the boat judged again we’re in the user class. I don’t care if all my screws and bolts are turned the right way. Hell you can’t see that at 30 mph! Just as long as they hole together! Modern power well the gray 109 runs like mom’s old singer sewing machine but it may come to the time we’ll have to drop a little mercuriser v-6 in the Higgins. And I’m perfectly happy with just being classified as a cool old boat with a sometimes grumpy old smelly captain!

    Oh yea we did the old truck thing it was a lot of fun and I think if the old boating world is not moving that way it soon will! May just tale some newer old guys and gals calling the shots! Anyway we just gonna have fun with it and make some new friends.

    Thanks to all amd keep up the good work!

    PS One more thing if we’re ever at a show and some stuffed shirt tells this coonass can’t use his boat! Well y’all just watch the news!!

  11. Rick
    Rick says:

    Change the classifications to Ridiculously Expensive To Restore (Wood) and Almost As Ridiculously To Restore, But Relateable To Younger Folk (Fiberglass).

    • Brian Flaherty
      Brian Flaherty says:

      Rick, I laughed way too hard at this… I think a lot of people think of fiberglass boats as being “cheap” but the truth is that one can get seriously invested in the restoration of a fiberglass boat just as one would with a wood boat. We have a fellow out in the Northwest would spent 22 years restoring hull #2 or only 3 31′ Skagit Saratogan models ever built! A lot of folks often ask why anyone would ever put that much effort into a fiberglass boat, and the answer is the same for any wood boat, love and passion for the craft!!

      PS: keep the Antique & Classic name!! I am only 30 and I am proud to tell me friends that I am a member in such a prestigious club!!

  12. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Well, seems like the majority goes for Antique and Classic which is okay with me….It is the moniker “Society” that makes it sound a little uppity to me…The term club seems a little more inclusive. Even the expensive place where some of my friends play golf and tennis is a club.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      Wilson, I am glad you made that statement, because I echo that feeling, and have said so, to deaf ears, at more than one international board meeting, of which I am a Director.
      I attend a lot of local classic boat shows in the Great Lakes region, as well as Classic Car Shows, were I sometimes pull my 1959 classic Lake N’ Sea runabout. I hear story after story from people attending these shows, that they got this or that old family classic boat. But when I start talking about joining ACBS and bringing their classic boat to one of the shows, they seem to not want to get involved with Clubs or Societies!
      Then I try to just get them to bring their classic boat to a show and have fun, use it, show it, and they seem to be more open.
      It is at that point, we in the ACBS need to open our arms to make these folks feel welcome and at ease, to attend more event.
      Idea: each small and large classic show should provide some sort of recognition / small award, to anyone who is a first time exhibitor. A small token gift, make an announcement at the awards, who they are, etc…

      • Brian Flaherty
        Brian Flaherty says:

        That is a great idea!! At Mahogany & Merlot, our first ever “show” with our boat, the announcers where introducing every boat in the show with owners name and brief description. This was a major highlight for my wife and I as our boat will never win an award but hearing our names and boat name over the loud speaker put a huge smile on my wife’s face!!

  13. Walt
    Walt says:

    I’m not sure I understand the angst on the “antique/classic/late classic “names”. Being an owner of plywood outboard “classics” I’d be concerned that if we went to “collectible” some/many of the Chris Craft and Garwood elitists would question my boats being termed “collectible”. Maybe the better, more descriptive monicers should be pre-war (not sure which war that ever applied to), post WWII, and something like modern classics.

  14. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Matt , Nice write up in Classic Boating Magazine #182

    I wonder what the new T Shirts will look like ? Collectable Boater Wax Wipe Buff ! WAX ON ! WAX OFF!

  15. Texx
    Texx says:



    Don’t hold back, now is the time to get it off your chest!

  16. brian t
    brian t says:

    Number 1 issue? That’s easy. COST. We have to get the costs of owning a wood boat much lower, otherwise we’ll head right back to the old days when only the uber rich owned boats, and Johhny Q was left on the shoreline.

    Don’t take my word for it. Ask a few possible newbies if they are interested in getting into the hobby. Heck, go to a vintage car race and ask any SCCA member what is happening in their neck of the woods – it is a dying sport due to insane costs that continue to soar every year. (And by the way, I received this car info from a board member.)

    For Pete’s sake, a restored nice but not perfect 1967 MGB roadster is getting into the $10k-25K realm. That is something that most younger families cannot justify in the budget. And forget a $30k boat that needs even more attention.

  17. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    I have a few comments on COST….but, I’ll wait until its a topic. How about PEOPLE. This past week I’ve made a comment or two on the topic at hand. But….my comments ignored the people aspect of this hobby. People you meet when you buy a boat and share the history, people you meet while acquiring history for your purchase, people you meet while at boating events – be they static or on the water. People in your local ACBS Chapter or hobby group.

    • Steve Moreau
      Steve Moreau says:

      I don’t know Rabbit. There was a lot of belly aching about rubber chicken dinners. I think we should have crawfish! It doesn’t matter your income when u eating crawfish there is only one way to suck the heads.

  18. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Seriously, the number one issue is AGE. I’m in my 50’s and I’m young in this hobby. The hobby has to attract more men and women in their 30’s and 40’s. I’ve preached this before. There’s a new appreciation in this country for quality and craftsmanship. It’s called the heritage movement. It’s a driving force behind the products my company meets. Honestly, the cost of the hobby isn’t as big as a factor as outreach and communications. These are guys who will gladly pay $250 for a pair of craft made Red Wing boots. You can get a turnkey restored boat for under $25k. Yes, that’s a lot of money. Until you compare it to what else $25k buys. They need to know that the boats are accessible and that you don’t need to varnish them every month.

  19. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Antique Chris Craft owners are part of a special club because of the limited number of boats made. Here is a list of Prewar Chris Craft Runabouts and Utilities made by length includes all models from the listed years 1927 t0 1942. Essential Guide by Jerry Conrad.

    15′ 1490 boats
    16′ 2235 boats
    17′ 1823 boats
    18′ 1485 boats
    19′ 882 boats
    20′ 291 boats
    21′ 513 boats
    22′ 1582 boats
    23′ 57 boats
    24′ 728 boats
    25′ 101 boats

    Break these boats in other category’s ,Utility, Triple, double, split, 20’s style, 30’s , barrel , etc. The subsets get smaller. IT is what it is , woody boating is special and should remain in it’s own category and place in history.
    AS example , Corvettes are categorized separate from other cars of the Era. Corvettes body styles and are broke down into C1, C2 , C3 , C4, C5 , C6 . The 1967 C2 435 hp is the Holy Grail worth 150k plus, other years are more affordable like a 1984 C4 at 10k. Once again diversity is part of the equation were rarity restoration cost and demand drive the market.

    steve and laurie

  20. Sean
    Sean says:

    You can get a decent 1967 17′ Greavette Sunflash 100hp runabout for $6,500 CAD right now. (advertised locally here … and it’s not mine). Requires nothing to use as is.

    I know of a beautiful 1961 model that sold this summer for less than $5,000… including a trailer! I have documentation on six other Sunflashes available for between $2,500 and $10,000 with another one at $17,000. None of these are basket cases, some are quite stunning. Albeit, the $2,500 one is not a pretty boat.

    So, I don’t buy that it has to cost a lot to get involved but, you’re not going to start with a Ditchburn.

    I see only two major issues: 1). closed mindset regarding modified boats and late classics. The latter will be cured in time. 2). Participation in ACBS on water events.

  21. Andy Riggs
    Andy Riggs says:

    I’ll chime unjust because of my age, I’m already way too interested in old boats. Mine is fiberglass, because the cost to me is a very important part of the equation. I’m in my thirties, at least for a few more years, and got in with an early fiberglass Chris Craft several years ago.

    The issue with most people my age is that while many may have an appreciation for the beauty and craftsmanship of old wooden boats, most do not have an real interest in owning one mainly because they think it isn’t very practical. For the most part, I agree with them. I have about a dozen good friends with boats, and all but one have newer fiberglass boats that they feel are more useful, reliable, and practical than an old wooden runabout.

    It is much easier for them to spend $20-40K on a boat that they don’t have to worry about as much. The hulls can take a beating, they have lots of storage, you can fill them with people, pull wake boarders or skiers, and tie up 10 deep without worrying about scratching 12 layers of fresh varnish. The bottoms don’t leak, on and on.

    I introduced a new friend to the classic boat scene this year, and while he completely appreciated the antique boats, he will remain a modern Sea Ray owner with very little chance he buys a vintage craft.

    My generation does not really want to put the time and effort into something like a wooden, or early fiberglass boat, when they can buy a modern boat for the same price and have half of the hassle. I think this is a real threat to the hobby as the older boaters are not being replaced by younger folks at the same rate which they are expiring.

    I think most people my age are just not going to put the time and effort into a hobby like this. Our children are way more involved in sports and other activities than anyone my age ever was. I do my best to try and peak the interest of folks my age, but very few are willing to take the turn.

    I think the local chapters need to do more marketing to try and attract a younger crowd. This will require a little money, and more importantly, someone well versed in Social Media as this is where everyone is hanging out these days. Shows need to be better advertised, not in boating magazines, where you already have a captive audience, but in other outlets. The Bluegrass Chapter did a mailer with local energy providers for the state of Kentucky. I know this worked because the public traffic seemed to be very good. A younger family of four showed up on the dock as we were coming in after an afternoon cruise(around 5:30pm) saying they had just driven nearly 3 hours to attend the show and were somewhat disappointed that they missed most of the boats as many had already headed for the trailer and most of the rest were out playing. I felt bad that they had driven all that way to see just a few boats, but felt that the mailer must have worked. I assured them that if they came earlier in the day, they would have seen a much better display. Oh crap, I think I may have just opened the “Static vs Operational” show debate again. Sorry guys.

    All in all, the hobby needs to find a way to attract younger blood or it will slowly die like an old cruiser.

      • Rick
        Rick says:

        If we all agree about this winter thing maybe we need to take over some Caribbean island, rename it WoodyLand and all move there? I’ll throw in some $$. I’m sure that between all of us we’ve got all necessary services covered. I nominate Matt Emperor For Life and also Minister Of PR.

  22. Sean
    Sean says:

    This is what the younger people want to see;
    A 2015 Mahogany MasterCraft X30 built by StanCraft…. come to think of it, I want to see one too!

    They’re only $250,000 🙂 But now you only need one boat.

  23. brian t
    brian t says:

    Jack might be right – the People idea.

    We have one of the oldest wood boats in the city and even we do not belong to the local club. I see 99% of them once a year at the local boat show. There are many reasons but nobody wants to hear them. So, they go their way and we go ours and everyone has a great time.

    Same thing happened with the classic British car clubs we ran around with. They all complained about losing members and that no one under the age of 35 was buying a car and joining the club. They all feared that the club was going to just die off someday. When I offered up ideas and some constructive criticism, they told me to bugger off. We attended the best car show ever up in Victoria Canada (English Affair in the Park) the only one that my wife and kids have ever attended with me – and when I returned home and told the club members why we perhaps should adopt a few of the things that made the show so great, they basically told me to stuff it, and that they had done things a certain way for years, and that few saw any reason to begin doing things in a different direction.

    The end result: We quit, and the local big British car show still stinks. Still have the car though. I’m not crazy.

    Now with the local boat show, everyone loves it and a few work very hard to put the show together, but this year, we didn’t even bother to show our boat. Again, lots of reasons but few really want to hear them.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      All good points Brian T – Clubs (of any type) often operate in a “bubble” and don’t easily accept change. Change can be good if managed & implemented properly (slowly).

      • Dennis Mykols
        Dennis Mykols says:

        I find it funny, when I talk to small town Classic show people, and they complain about how no one attends their shows each year. But when I offer up some suggestions like, “Take the name XXX Wooden Boat Show” and change it to “Classic”, they will not hear of it. They are not open to ClassicGlass, and more interesting events.
        Dates are also a problem, these small towns work in a vacuum. They set their date on the same day as some other BIG attended Classic show is also running, and wonder where is everybody…

  24. Murray Parnell
    Murray Parnell says:

    I dont think changing the name is the way to go, but to work on the definition of Classic. Keeping in mind I and many of us active club members were in our 20s in the early 1980s. I love the wood boats as most of my 38 boats are but the Classic Glass cant be ignored,or the new wooden boats built today that dont leak

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