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Transitional history at Chris-Craft in Cortland, New York

March 11 2014 at 9:37 AM
Paul  (no login)

Response to Interesting view

When Chris-Craft acquired Thompson in 1962 they (Chris-Craft) kept building wood boats at the Thompson plant. The fiberglass plant was built across town (in Cortland, New York) and for a period of time Chris-Craft was marketing the same basic boat side by side, in wood or fiberglass. The traditionalist could get a great boat in wood, the guy who was a bit more maintenance conscious would look at fiberglass closely.

Since I wasn't there at the time, lol, I understand the Ford small block motors with Eaton outdrives that were prevalent in the Thompson line before CC acquired them, were probably just used up and then there was a transition over to the Chevy small block power Chris Craft had used since 1959. Thompson had not been using outdrive for very long but they absolutely and very clearly beat CC to the market and had gone through a learning curve as to how to do it, etc. Therefore during this transition period the boats built at the Thompson wood boat plant are going to be pretty darn rare. The wood boat production facility remained in business during an overlap time also, so there are boats out there like the one we are discussing today, that "look" almost identical to the fiberglass version that followed.

I always thought CC took a mold off one of the wood hulls but Chris Smith said they did not, and said the hull was styled and molded in Michigan. In any case, whoever did the styling on that one obviously paid huge deference to the Thompson heritage and style, which in my view was a good thing and the right thing to do from every vantage point.

finding a user boat in reasonably good condition like this is very special. It shows the wear over the years but it is still basically intact and mechanically operational. I think it would be of interest at the Mount Dora (now Tavares) boat show in Florida where may of the most knowledgable people in North America congregate each springtime to start off the season. I have seen some rare boats there, the WaterCar being one, with a vertically mounted Crosley motor, but this one would be of equal interest too because since the early 1980s and being an organizer (on the international board of directors at ACBS and charter member/president of an ACBS chapter) and having organized and attended many events, and having seen untold thousands of boats............I have never seen the first one of this kind nor have I ever seen an Eaton outdrive. happy.gif I dare say there are many others in this same, ahem, cough, cough, boat. happy.gif



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