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SPECIAL COMMANDER PEOPLE
There would be precious little information on the internet today about the Chris Craft Commander, without Todd Heinrich and Dr. Curt Radford. Both 38’ Commander owners, Curt, was at the forefront of the modern Chris Craft Commander movement that exists today, having written a wonderful article which was published in Classic Boating Magazine; Todd, was the impetus for getting a Commander registry together and is in essence, "the founder" of the Chris Craft Commander Club. Your Forum host was a co-founder of the club, and enjoyed working with these two gentlemen (in particular) for a period of 7 years, helping to give the club a good start and good direction.
The first formal entry on the list below, however, goes to Dick Avery. Dick didn’t design the first Commander, that was designed in 1953, nine years or so before Dick began work at Chris Craft. It was a beautiful wood cruiser known for style and speed. Dick came on board at Chris Craft Corporation in 1962 after leaving Lincoln design studios at Ford Motor Company. During this time Mac MacKerer, head of design and production at Chris Craft was working with a team (with Fred Hudson) to design the first fiberglass Commander. Design work was well under way when Mr. Avery arrived, and although he won’t claim any ownership of the first fiberglass Commander design, I suspect there is “something” the bright young designer from FoMoCo was able to contribute. After the first fiberglass Commander was put into production, Mac MaKerer left Chris Craft and Dick Avery was able to blossom. One of his spectacular designs is showcased below. He subsequently designed many other Commander models that maintained (and in some cases, improved) the great lines of the original boat. Mr. Avery has been kind enough to talk to any Commander enthusiast, including yours truly, and he’s been active in club events, helping to further the Chris Craft Commander cause. Therefore, the first name on the list goes to Mr. Avery, otherwise known as “Mr. Commander”.
, for being the inspiration behind so many of the Chris Craft Commander styling features, and for donating his collection of hand drawn renderings so they could be forever in the public domain.
, who is essentially “the Founder” of the Chris Craft Commander Club, and who spent 7 years serving as an always sensible, non-confrontational basis of enthusiasm and proactive initiative.
Dr. Curt Radford
, the medical doctor and boating journalist who brought the Commander information to the general boating public, through his article in Classic Boating Magazine, giving exposure to the Commander movement, and through 7 years of serving as a guiding proactive member of the Chris Craft Commander Club.
~~OTHER SPECIAL COMMANDER PEOPLE (in no particular order) who have in the past, and in some cases continue today, to keep the information flow alive with special amounts of time, photos, information, and efforts. Congratulations to these people, because you are the true heavyweights who make this Forum the great sharing medium it is. Thank you all for your participation, this is a collaboration of people who want to share information and have fun! ~~
Heidi and Paul from the Jersey Isles (English Channel near France) who have emailed scores of photos of their boat, "SEASPRAY", the Commander Flagship of the English Channel Fleet!
Oliver and Sonja Oelgart from Germany, who have provided scores of photos about "LEGENDE", the Commander Flagship of the Mediterranean Commander Fleet, and cross-linked this forum on their magnificent web page.
Bruce Martin, for emailing tons of photos about his 38 Commander restoration project, including his spotless white powder coated 427 motors, the custom designed and expertly installed bow pulpit, and a complete thread showing toerail replacement details.
Warren Pateman, for sharing many photos about his total restoration 38 Commander project, “BAMBI” from Australia, for being an inspiration in life, and for helping keep “the standard” so high in boating and integrity! Warren passed away in July of 2006, but his legacy will live on forever. There are many volumes of information he willingly shared with the rest of us here posted here on the Forum.
Bill Thomas, a friend of the Forum and a friend of the Chris Craft Commander Community at large, for his MANY great postings of scans and technical information. Bill is a “big boat guy” now, working on the restoration of a 45’ Tournament Fisherman, but he has owned numerous vintage Chris Crafts in the past, and has a huge library of information, much of which he has willingly shared here. There are too many examples to list all of them here, but this is just one example of his many informative posts.
Curt Hill, a friend of the Forum and the Chris Craft Commander Community at large, who has contributed greatly though his well documented restoration threads of his 38 Sport Fisherman. Curt and his good friend, Jim, purchased a Chris Craft Sport Fisherman that had been sitting in neglect for over 10-years. They have literally “fixed everything” on the boat, and Curt’s many posts here on the forum have shed light on many issues that have helped untold boaters around the world fix their own boats. Curt Hill is one of those guys who laughs in the face of adversity, and can “fix anything”.
Mark Weller, a friend of the Forum and the Chris Craft Community at large, for sharing many diagnostic tips and many great photos! Mark hails from Sandusky, Ohio, where there are more boat slips per capita than just about anywhere else on earth. He has shared numerous documentary photos, and has posted detailed and highly informative threads about the rebuilding of the venerable small block “Q” series of Chris Craft marine motors. Without his threads, we would know precious little about the Q series, and he is our resident expert on the subject.
Chris Wade, a friend of the forum and the Chris Craft Commander Community at large, who has contributed greatly though his well documented restoration threads of his 38 Sport Fisherman. These threads include numerous interior photos and a complete series showing the replacement of the exterior perimeter teak toe rail. Chris involves other members of his family in the work on the boat when possible, and this makes for a rewarding project for everyone. Here are a few of the many threads Chris has shared with the Forum.
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/message/1152157427 http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/message/1160960374 http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/message/1161136509
The Chris Craft Commander Community is indebted to all of these people for their respective contributions to Chris Craft Commander boating, by their willingness to spend time, helping to create enthusiasm, and for being there on the front lines of sharing volumes of information !
MANY THANKS to everyone who has contributed to the information in these files. This forum will always be a work in progress. It’s a way to file away all of my Commander information for personal use, and it’s also a way to share it with anyone else who may be interested, or who may need the info (for their personal and non-commercial purposes), or may want to post, ask questions, etc. Because much of the information on the forum is not checked for accuracy, represents opinions in some cases from unknown sources, and may represent a safety or personal/financial liability if acted upon, the information in this forum and Master Index is offered with the very best of intentions, but it MUST be validated by the user before being implemented for utilization. If anyone sees a link in this index that does not work, of finds any inaccuracies, please post a note and I’ll try to fix it!
Regards, all the best,
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