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Chris Craft 18’ Runabout

rare Chris craft Capri

She is one of 65 examples made in 1959. Later model year boats were stretched to 19’ and sales jumped to 119 in 1960 but fell off again in 1961 with only 60 boats going out the factory door. She is 18’ 0” by 6’ 7”, weights 2,400 -2,600 lbs and comes with a 20 gallon gas tank. 1959 was the only model year the 18 was offered.

Why? A runabout back then was the top-of-the-line in styling, finish, and glamour. But one got in and did not move around inside the boat’s cockpit freely. The usefulness of a far more open, walk-around-the-cockpit layout were being offered by their main boat building competitors and themselves. The Chris Craft utilities, named Continental, even outsold the fancy styled boats. Chris Craft built 494 of its similar sized Continentals in1960 and 1961.

Great view of the wonderful styled aft deck

This boat has a1/4 inch inner plywood bottom with wood planks over that for the final, outside layer rather than being double planked (two layers of wood planks). This hull and construction style was shared in 1959 with the 18’ Continental Chris Craft. Chris Craft was trying different ways to use different materials to stay competitive. They built all-plywood boats in their Cavalier Division, and these were lower priced, entry-level boats. Chris Craft tried a fully covered in fiberglass but still planked underneath the fiberglass boat in their Silver Arrow model. That one sold 92 boats. So, function was overcoming style in small boats and what a boat was made from was evolving.

BTW:

a) Chris Craft moved their top Management from MI to Pompano Beach, Fl at about this same time.

b) Chris craft appointed its first non-family member to be president of Chris Craft.

c) Chris Craft was finally sold to a public company after being run as a private company by a few members of the founding family in behalf of all 55 owners of Chris Craft stock (all family members, with only a few active in the boat business). Talk about a closely-held stock!

Photo credit   friend of seabuddy   Vance Joachim