By Rex and Sue Wangler, Jerry Dyhrkopp Iowa Great Lakes Chapter
This 1940 Chris-Craft 17-foot Deluxe Runabout, now owned by Rex & Sue Wangler, was delivered to Monroe, NY on July 12, 1940. Her newest port as of August, 2018 are the fabled and renowned “Blue Waters” of West Okoboji Lake, Iowa. In the similar vein as the fate of many classic autos, for the last 30-plus years, she is what might be aptly classified a “restomod”, the pro craftmanship of previous owner Mitch LaPointe at Lake Minnetonka, MN. He recounted that following one bone-jarring excursion, he decided to modify her by decking the fore cockpit, which meant, of course, the aft cockpit becoming the operational one. The resulting creation provides for improved planning, and reveals the very cool resemblance to the Chris-Craft 16’ Special Race Boat of that era, exhibiting the enhanced sweeping bow and sharing the same distinctive barrel back stern. She was repowered by a latter-50’s era KFL engine, boasting 131 HP. “What’s that you see—affixed to the manifold atop the twin carbs, is a brass ID plate stamped “KLC”! Well, I might surmise that to be either a product of rebuild-availability or, a deliberate intention to better replicate the ID plate of her original 95-HP, K engine. So, as often is done with classic autos, why not replace that meager stock “350” with a desired, muscular “454”? Just don’t even consider any speed test on her replacement, original-style bottom! Her inlaid wood dashboard sports the original and unique blue and cream gauges, but tastefully retrofitted with the more stylish banjo wheel.
While actually not of overall show-judged standards, her more recent 12 coats of Epifanes covers the works-of-art lines to such admirable appeal, that I could not resist branding her bare transom, “Sexy”. Although I do contemplate a less pretentious rename of “De Luxe”, a fitting tribute to her original heritage. Plus, I have always been amused by this model label on various autos of that era.