This thread is an essay on the rare 23 Commander, and how it evolved along side its equally rare smaller sibling, the 19 Commander Super Sport, into boats produced under the Lancer name plate. The 23' Lancers were produced in relatively large numbers, and they were popular because they had a huge amount of interior space by virtue of using the transdrive. The 23' Commander, however, is the one that came first, and it's a very rare boat to see out on the water these days.
The 23 Commander was only built for two years, in 1968 50 were built, and another 65 hulls came off the production lines the following year. While all of these boats were inboards, they featured an unique V-drive system. The V-drive system generally worked well, but it presented a short and steeply angled shaft angle, which was not as efficient as the subsequent outdrive, and it also consumed considerable interior space (note the aft deck requirement for the V-drive models).
During this same time frame Chris Craft also built another V-drive runabout called the 19 Commander Super Sport, a sleek fiberglass speedboat that eventually evolved into the Chris Craft XK-19 the following year. Only 101 19 Commanders were built during the one year of production, in 1969.
Here is one under restoration at Macatawa Boat works in Saugatuk, Michigan.
This 19 Commander Super Sport belongs to none other than our resident expert on the subject, owner/restorer and frequent forum contributor, Mercrewser.
Both of these boats (23 Commander V-drive and the 19 Commander Super Sport V-drive) represent some of the rarest inboard runabouts Chris Craft built out of fiberglass. The photo below shows one still for sale in Montana, but this one appears to have been fitted with a Ford FT motor (a 391 truck motor that would provide great service, but without the power of a 427). It would still be a fun boat.
Here is a similar profile of Mike Obriens 327Q powered 23 Commander, which appears to be in excellent shape.
The following photos are of Mike Obriens 327Q powered 23 Commander.