CHRIS CRAFT COMMANDER FORUM ® .......A photo-intensive technical reference file and ongoing newsletter regarding the original fiberglass Chris-Craft Commander series. This is an independent not-for-profit and non-commercial web site, not affiliated with the Chris Craft Commander Club ~~ or ~~ Chris-Craft Corporation. Our mission here is to "have fun and share information" about the Commander series (and those associated fiberglass boats on the Chris-Craft family tree) for your individual personal use, and by doing so help promote the good name of Chris-Craft, and help preserve, restore, and appreciate Chris-Craft boats. The main reference feature is the ever expanding MASTER INDEX File which contains what we believe to be the world's largest collection of documentation photos and technical information on the Chris-Craft Commander line of boats, (like these original brochure scans, featuring the iconic first 38 Commander styled by Fred Hudson, and many of the great Dick Avery renditions that followed) , (a huge collection of Chris-Craft 427 tuning and specification information), and a few words about how to use the forum.

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  • 38-foot Commander Express and Sedan (Photo Documentation)
    • Paul (no login)
      Posted Oct 28, 2005 12:41 PM

      I'm building a file in the "MASTER INDEX" to document the various models of Commander with photos. Since the photos of the 38 are dispersed all over the place, I thought I'd consolidate some here just to show off the two basic models.


      38-foot Commanders came in two basic configurations, Express and Sedan. A third version (Sport Fisherman) was also available but these are a bit rare, and they have some unique features such as the center helm station and windshield of the Sedan, and a lowered aft deck and no aft railing for fishing needs.

      The Express and Sedan were offered with or without the flybridge, therefore there are Express Flybridge and Sedan Flybridge models. The Sport Fisherman came standard with the flybridge. The basic difference between the Express and Sedan is the configuration of the helm station and interior cabin, as the exterior of these two boats will look almost the same, and the basic hull is the same.

      One of the easiest ways to tell an Express from a Sedan is the front windshield or the enclosed sliding glass enclosure around the helm from viewing the boat from the rear.. The Express has the traditional two piece operable windshield, and the Sedan has a single center section of operable glass. From the rear of course, the sedan has sliding glass panel enclosure and the Express is an open boat.

      Here are some examples of frontal views of each boat: This is the Express

      Heres the Sedan windshield detail

      The following photos show the similar side profile of the Express and Sedan. Visually, the external hull is almost identical between the two boats.
      Commander Express side profile

      Commander Sedan side profiles

      Now the big part of the difference between the Express and Sedan becomes readily apparent when you take a look at the helm station. The Express is an open boat, and the Sedan is an enclosed cabin, which opens up into the living quarters below. Both are great boats, but the Express is a little more Spartan while the Sedan is a little more luxurious. Which one is the fastest? Well with the same power the lighter boat will always win, so the fastest of the 38 Commander series would be the Express. Here are some photos that document the difference in cabin and helm construction between the Express and the Sedan.

      Heres the aft deck of an Express, note the helm station over on the Port Side, as the Sedan has the Helm at the just-Starboard-of-center section of the cabin.

      Here are two photos of the helm station on a Sedan, note the configuration of the window, where the helm is located, and take a peek down that hatchway to see a glimpse of the galley along the Port side of the boat.


      Here is a photo of the helm station of the Express, note the fact that the hatch is on the center-Starboard side of the boat.

      Here is a loaded Express

      Here is a loaded Sedan Flybridge

      Hope this helps you guys and gals out there who may be shopping around for a 38, or just trying to understand the differences between the two models.

      Regards, Paul
      1966 38 Commander Express (aftermarket flybridge added)
      Original 427 power

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