The Chris Craft Cobra. Try And Not Drool On The Varnish Please.
Before Carol Shelby took a turn on the track in a AC Bristol, the fellows at Chris Craft were hard at work. Always marketing leaders, they came up with what has to be the coolest boat on the water. The 1955 Cobra. Available in 17 and 21 feet. Available with several motor options.
You can still find them out there. A couple of months ago eBay had two un-restored ones. The best place to get a good idea of what these crafts are all about is 220.127.116.11/cobra/50th.htm Yes, that domain just sticks in your head right. But click on it and you wont forget it. This is a fantastic place for a good dose of Cobras. The real ones, not those silly race cars… If you would like to see Terry Feists Cobra in person, Photo above, come to the Sunnyland Mt Dora Tavares show in FLA March 26th-30th. It should be sitting right there at the Chris Craft tent.
The ’55 Cobras were indeed an awesome design. They’re unique not only in design but in that it was the first runabout that CC used fiberglass aft deck/hatch parts on. The rest of the boat is mahogany.
Chris Smith, grand son of the founder, said the Cobra project was a “break-even” at best and may have been a looser had it not been for CC’s marketing strategy. He said they weren’t selling too good at the dealers, they were expensive to build and, thus, the sticker price was high as well.
But CC put one in every showroom and they got plenty of attention. Folks wanted to see it up close, it was a very desirable boat. So while the family is drooling on the mahogany and fiberglass beauty, the salesman in cutting a deal with dad for a boat the family could afford, namely the 17′ Sportsman.
CC sold a record number of the Sportsmen that year and attribute that success to having the Cobras available to attract attention.
Only 51 if the 18′ versions and 55 of the 21 footers were built. So they are very rare and desirable these days.
That marketing tactic was very popular in the 50’s. It worked for Corvetts and big time for Thunderbirds. I had a countrt squire station wagon, the mini van of the day with thunderbird on the valve covers. Can you imagine a Chrysler mini van with a Viper engine in it? Ha…