19’ Racing Runabout

wood boat photo chris craft post war

1947 Red and White Chris Craft 19' Racing Runabout

 

Seabuddy’s photos show a 1947 Red and White Racing Runabout (one of 205 painted and colored this way). Some 503 of these 18’ 11” runabouts were made between 1948 and 1954. The balance of these models was stained and varnished finished.

These post war 19’ Racing Runabouts was loosely based on the 19’ Special Race Boats of 1936 and 1937. Chris Craft had made some 51 of those. These earlier ones were 2” longer in length and an inch wider in beam. These were also paint finished according to Jerry Conrad’s Chris Craft The Essential Guide book.

This boat is being restored by Jerry LeCompte’s http://docksideboatworks.com/.  He showed the boat at the St. Michaels Classic Boat Show and his research is part of my write-up. He does great work. I have seen his boat’s decks still tight and show quality several years after he did his restoration magic.

Back to post WW II Chris Craft boats. War production was over but good mahogany wood and other materials were in short supply. This boat was cedar planked and came with a plywood deck by Chris Craft according to LeCompte. Thus, she was painted, not stained and varnished, as the cedar wood did not look right bright finished.

It would be smart to point out, that by this post World War II era, the Christopher Smith family had been through several tough times. They built boats to feed their family. They had shown strong growth and good profits at the boat business up to the early 1930s. The company made $308,000 in 1929 and then $51,204 in 1930. Chris Craft then lost money making boats until it went into the black again in 1936, with a profit of $213,131.  The model offerings had been cut down during this time. Now, 97 models were cataloged for model year 1937.

Then the war hit. Production went on a sort of cost plus and some profit basis. Anything over that was turned back to the government. At a high point, a record 602 boats were shipped to the military in one month. This was a record despite material shortages in armor plating, engines, and brass castings.

Chris Craft did not even mention any specific construction materials during this post war period. They never knew what they had to substitute in any boat. Lumber has been mentioned as the longest lasting shortage.

 

restored chris craft 19' racing runabout

Red and White Chris Craft Racing Runabout

 

The old photo is courtesy of the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA.

 

mariners museum chris craft photo

photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum

4 Responses to “19’ Racing Runabout”

  • Lew Dobbins:

    What hull number is this boat?

    Where will it reside when done?

    Who will the owner be?

    Between myself and 2 others in CA, we have been growing a large database of the 503 racers built. This includes a lot of construction and parts details for research purposes only. This information can also be shared with those asking questions about racers.

    Thanks,

    Lew

  • James:

    This boat is not sold, but being completed this month at the boat shop.
    please forward my email to Lew Dobbins so we can share information for his database. The boat spent most of life in Red Bank, NJ. And was most likely raced.
    Still searching for the complete history…
    Thanks,

    James

  • I do not have Lew Dobbins e-mail address

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