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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Miss Lily in the beginning

February 28 2007 at 1:52 PM
Dave  (no login)

This was about three years ago when we first got started
the boat sat in the same slip unused for 16 years and sank at the dock
(exahst pipe left lying in the floor disconnected and a stern line broke allowing the boat to hang on the dock when the tide went out and submerged the exhaust opening allowing water to flow back thru the exhaust and sink her)the original engines could not be salvaged still have the paragon trans in the garagethese pictures are of her stripped down to fighting weight

More will follow

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Edit comment: Because this particular thread has become so notorious in a good way, demonstrating what hard work and determination can do, I'm adding the glory photo below showing MISS LILY proudly at the docks after a LOT of work from Dave and Lily. The threads that follow chronicle all of this work, and it is a magnificient example of classic Chris Craft Commander restoration.
Regards, Paul,
forum moderator.

[linked image]










    
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Oct 17, 2009 11:20 AM


 
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AuthorReply
Paul
(no login)

The more projects like this I see, the more amazed I am at Commander people !!

February 28 2007, 2:06 PM 

We as a group, must have some sort of death defying tendency, and a willingness to "go where no man has gone before". I'm mighty proud to be a member of the group, by the way, because it's a pretty savvy and capable group, who are able and willing to laugh in the face of adversity and prevail in the end!

There are so many success stories that took years to implement. My own boat has been in a state of ongoing renovation of some sort for the better part of 10 years. Now that I have it like I want it, I really have no desire for another cruiser, especially after buying a lake house last year (my budget for that 45' Tournament Fisherman I was dreaming about just flew away!).

I just started naming all the people I know who have gone through MAJOR restorations of a 38 Commander, and I just deleted the list, because I was sure to leave someone out. It is heart warming to see the Chris Craft Commander, as a model line, get the kind of respect like this, that a guy is willing to take on the task of restoration of a hull this old. The hull structure, by the way, should still be solid. Sixteen years in the water, ouch! You may be dipping into an epoxy budget, but if you let things dry out that hull bottom should give you good service.

My hat is off to you, Dave! The Commander community thanks you for saving this one! Send us some progress photos! (Thanks for the photos you've already sent, awesome!)

Threads like this are sure to inspire people to do the same. A Chris Craft Commander is a worthy craft for a restoration. As we know, Warren Pateman probably put the better part of a half million dollars into his 38. Most of us don't have a budget like Warren's, but the potential is still there for a great boat.

Regards, Paul
forum moderator

FXA 38 3004 R
427 power

 
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Tom Slayton
(no login)

Good going Dave !

February 28 2007, 2:19 PM 

How long was she under, and how deep? I see from the other thread it's a 1964 boat, number 27. It must be one of the very first 38 flybridge Commander Express boats built. I would guess the original motors were Lincoln 430s with 275 hp.

Have you repowered the boat yet? If so, what did you use, and if not what are you planning on using? What condition did you find the bottom in after 16 years? From the looks of things in the photo, it looks as though you had your work cut out for you, but things look solid.

Thanks for sharing your project with us,

Tom

 
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Paul
(no login)

Only 50 38' hulls were made in 1964

February 28 2007, 2:29 PM 

This is # 27, she's a rare bird, especially with the flybridge. She would have come with 327F 210s or the 430 Lincolns at 275. The latter would have been preferred for an offshore salt water cruiser.

Paul

 
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Eric Jensen
(no login)

Am I missing something obvious?

March 1 2007, 1:30 PM 


Where are the exhaust outlets on this boat?

Eric

 
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Dave Mehl
(no login)

Exhaust outlets on a 38 are hidden under the foil

March 1 2007, 1:31 PM 

It's one of the cool design features of the model, you can't see them, but you can see water gushing out and you sure can hear the motors on these old battlewagons.

At the very aft section of the port and starboard end of the foil (that horizontal fin thing above the water line) there is a cast in fiberglass exhaust port about the size of a shoe box!

Dave

 
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Paul
(no login)

They're hidden allright, so well hidden they don't even show up in photos !

March 1 2007, 1:31 PM 

I have numerous photos taken right at the exhaust ports, but they're so well integrated they just blend into the background paint. You won't ever see tailpipes, per se, on an original equipment 38 Commander. Just one of the many cool styling features right out of the 1960's, used on this model.

Paul

 
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Tom Slayton
(no login)

Dave, what about blisters ?

March 1 2007, 1:47 PM 

What condition was the bottom in? I can see the photos, but they don't tell the whole story. Sixteen years in the water is quite a test! A lesser hull would have a barnacle eating trough to the inside!!

Tom

 
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Dave & Lily
(Login dvarnadore)

Blisters

March 1 2007, 5:44 PM 

Its Odd you mentioned it.
We were so lucky!
Unknown to us at the time when we purchased the boat;She was towed to a local boat yard in the summer of her 9th year of being unused They had the bottom cleaned. When they cleaned about a 6-9 inch crust off the bottom, sure enough they found blisters. How bad it was, I don't know, but, they did do an epoxy bottom job on her. Then they towed her back to the slip where she sat for another seven years. Some of the base of the barnacles were as large as silver dollars.
We started with 36 grit with an air file but that was slow going soon we found out that a monstourous 2 handed scraper did the job better Once we scratched her down we then went over her again with the air file and she smoothed right out clean!
We found this out when we took her back to the same yard(again unknown to us at the time) and the owner of the yard remembered the boat cause, he is the one that did the work. We really dodged a bullet on that one.

This is what we towed her to the boat yard with it is a Chris Craft 1938
36' sedan cruiser one of only 27 built.

According to documentation from Chris Craft this was the very boat they used for the 1938 New York boat show. We have Never seen a picture of her on the rack at the boat show but it sure would be nice to find one.We restored this also but thats another story.

We sold this boat to finance the restoration of Miss Lily

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This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Oct 17, 2009 11:23 AM


 
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Tom Slayton
(no login)

Going from one classic to another !

March 1 2007, 6:20 PM 

Beautiful 1938 cruiser ! I'll bet you got a lot of attention in that one !

Wood boats like that have soooo much character, I love them all, but I'm glad I no longer own one. Owning a glass Commander makes it a lot easier to sleep at night.

How are you coming on your project? If you are looking at replacing the tachometers I suppose you are well along now?

Tom

 
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Chris
(Login wadecon1)

What a Beauty

March 1 2007, 11:55 PM 

I can see where Matthews Boats got the design cues for 42' cruiser!


I am dieing to see a whole buch of progress pictures.

Chris Wade
FFE 38 0005 H

 
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Paul
(no login)

Moving from the era of elegance to the era of style and performance.

March 2 2007, 10:01 AM 

That wood Chris is about as elegant and stately as they come. By comparison, a Commander 38 is the equivalent of a 1960's musclecar, still very cool, but entering the era of style and performance.

So many boats..............so little time.....

You can't go wrong with a Chris Craft.

Regards, Paul

 
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Dave & Lily
(no login)

Progress Photo's/Miss Lily

March 2 2007, 11:49 AM 

Here are a few shots we took right after we brought her back from the boat Yard
She took three Gallons Of awlgrip,eggshell white.
We put her back together enough just to get her out of the yard.

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We repowered her with a pair of 454 crusaders 350hp
We found the engines online they came from a freshwater boat in Ohio.
We had them trucked to Norfolk where we instaled them.
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Nice thing about these boats, there is plenty of space in the engine room!




















Edit comment, all of these photos have been restored from the Forum safety archive! Great pics, don't you think?? regards, Paul


    
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Oct 17, 2009 11:30 AM


 
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Paul
(no login)

Quite a transformation !

March 2 2007, 12:01 PM 

Seeing the recent photos after seeing your initial photos, is an amazing transformation. I have a good idea how much work was involved too, and we certainly should all give you a toast and a tip of the hat for pulling something like this off!

Congrats, well done! She sure looks GOOD floating there proudly! 700-hp should give you a rather comfortable boost up on a plane, eh? Seeing your engine compartment is just one more reason why I want to haul out that heavy obsolete gen set I have installed between my motors.

Regards,

Paul

 
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Howard
(Login HowardEchols38)

Good Job !

March 2 2007, 12:11 PM 

I agree with Paul's comments, it's quite a transformation, and you are to be congratulated for saving this beautiful boat. That engine installation looks good too!

The area where you keep your boat looks very interesting, waterfront cottages on an inlet. NICE ! The photos sort of make me want to hop aboard and fire up the enignes, I can almost hear them now!

Regards, Howard

 
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Roy
(no login)

Dave, whats the status of the boat now?

March 3 2007, 1:54 PM 

She looks like she's been run? Have you gotten any run time on her to shake down? Also curious about the props yer using. 23x25 3-blade was a stock item on the 38. Shes alookin good !

Roy

 
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Dave & Lily
(Login dvarnadore)

Update photos II

March 11 2007, 4:33 PM 

The first season we shook her down on local runs to Hampton or to downtown Norfolk etc.We are using 24x23props on her.She gets up on plane pretty quick with those 454's here are some pictures of the interior
during restoration

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We found this tile in the attic of an old house we had bought a few years back an when we saw the color of the sink in the bathroom we thought perfect match so that is how the bathroom got tiled by yours truly

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When we remodeled the galley we used granite for the counter tops and installed a small microwave convection oven with a black two burner cook top we did not butcher the opening for the princess stove I fit in pieces that can be removed and a princess stove could be used again,


We also used hardwood laminate floors in stead of carpet as you can see in some of the other photos
On the table top we used tempered glass that was sand blasted on one side
and made a mahogany rail around the outide to hold the glass in place and to finish it we put a piece of the upholstry silk under the glass so the pattern will show thru

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Lily hand carried! on the plane! 27yds of silk upholstery from China on one of her last visits
If it were me this boat would probably have shag carpet vinyle bathroom floor and laminate countertops
Miss Lily would have none of that thats why this boat truly is in the spirit of Lily herself
















Edit comment: All photos have been restored from the archives.

Paul


    
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Oct 17, 2009 11:42 AM


 
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Tom Slayton
(no login)

Get it DAVE and LILY !

March 11 2007, 5:22 PM 

Nice work ! You guys have maintained the character of a vintage boat, but have added some very nice personal touches. I have been very impressed with several remodeling projects like this, and yours speaks very well for itself. You are both to be congratulated for such an extensive and successful project.

If you can bring the rpm up to 4200 or so and still have some throttle left, you may be a bit underpropped. Check with Paul on that one, he's got some extensive calculations on the 38.

Cheers !

Tom


 
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Paul
(Premier Login FEfinaticP)
Owner

Re: Update photos II

March 12 2007, 3:33 AM 

Hi Dave,

Nice Job, Indeed !

I'm looking through these great restoration photos you've sent in and your boat seems to be identical to mine on the inside details. All the woodwork, sink, head, etc., seems to be identical. My boat is the 4th boat built in 1966 so we're not all that far apart in serial numbers.

Looking at your galley before and after photos brings back memories! That's a job! Your upgrade looks great and I'm sure the First Mate will enjoy it. My Princess stove had the door sprung internally and some rust internally to boot. As we would be cruising all of a sudden the door would slam open and it was quite unnerving. I ended up finding a new use for duct tape on that, and eventually replaced it with no intention of ever going back. I saw your note that you left your installation so you could go back to the Princess stove, and that's cool, however you wouldn't want to go back to the one I had!

How about that silk fabric hand carried through the airports from China! WOW !! You won't see thaaat at the Miami Boat Show (or anywhere else) !! Very unique, I like the pattern and color. That sure puts a different spin on the interior, as my boat still has the original aqua fabric, which is sort of half way between carpet and cloth, lol.

I saw the note Tom posted about the props, and I'll get into that later and check em out.

I have some idea how much work has gone into your boat, having gone through one project after another on ours during the last 10-years, and I really appreciate seeing these photos. Thanks for sharing them with us, I'm sure you and Lily are very proud of your work, as you should be. I'm sure all of your friends and guests are quite favaorably impressed with the boat!

Regards, all the best,

Paul

 
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Howard
(Login HowardEchols38)

I have a similar cabin too

March 12 2007, 2:43 PM 

My cabin is very similar to yours and I too, appreciate seeing such good photo documentation of the boat, and I also apprecaite seeing your work too! It gives me some good ideas for some projects down the road.

Howard

 
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