By John and Kirsten Lents, Michigan Chapter

Taurus is a 1940 Chris-Craft 18’ Deluxe Utility, Hull # 81169. One thing that makes it unique is that it was ordered with a straight windshield. In 1940 Chris-Craft started putting split windshields on their utility’s, so Taurus looks more like a 1938 or 1939 boat than a 1940. We don’t know any early history about the boat, but in the early 70’s, Glenn Rand found her high on a storage rack at Upmalls marina on Harsons Island. He bought her for $300 and brought her home to Pearle Beach, 3 miles down the North Channel from where she was built in Algonac, MI.

The original 4 cylinder Model B engine broke the crank shaft in two coming home from a ride and Glenn limped the broken motor 3 miles back home to the boat house. The replacement motor was a Scripps conversion to a Model B. That motor ran well, but has a knock, this motor was replaced with a Model A 4 cylinder. David Voydanoff was the next caretaker of Taurus. He replaced the underpowered 4 cylinder with a 1939 6 cylinder Chrysler. David took great care of her, alternating varnishing the decks one year and the topside the next. Taurus was the neighborhood tow boat. Towing mine and the other neighbor’s fiberglass and pontoon boats more than we would like to admit. Taurus never had to be towed herself.

Ten years ago, my wife, Kirsten and I became the next stewards of Taurus. We’re neighbors of Glenn and David on the North Channel of the St. Clair River and Taurus spends her summers on the same boat hoist at the end of their dock as she always had. We have lost of fond memories from our rides in Taurus. The 18’ Deluxe Utility is not the fastest boat, you get wet, but you also get a lot of waves from people who appreciate old boats. On two different occasions freighters have given us salutes. That’s something you don’t get with a plastic boat.

A few years back I happened to wander into a photo shot for a new sensation boat, which is also built in Algonac. It looks like we are racing (see featured photo above article). Currently Taurus is upside down in our garage getting her bottom replaced. After almost 80 years, it was about time. We are looking forward to getting her back on the water. It’s to bad you don’t see more of these Deluxe Utilities around, most went to the burn pile – they are great boats. See you on the river.

10 Comments

  1. Nice 18′ DU. I have a nice 1942 22′ DU that’s reasonably dry (at least on my fairly small lake in the lower Adirondacks), with a Chrysler Crown straight-six. She’s been on this website’s for sale section and presumably will reappear later this year, unless there’s a sale sooner.

  2. I Have hull # 81088 with an optional sedan roof. I have been rebuilding Baby Jay for the past 10 years and the hull is almost done, 95 % new wood. I saved the saved the side frames and the deck frames. I will finish putting the screws in the coving boards today. I still have the sedan roof to rebuild.

  3. We are on the 2nd restoration of hull #81333, a 1942 18′ Deluxe Utility with the wood frame windows. ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ was featured in the summer issue of ‘Brass Bell’ as a great example of these unique and fun boats. Always a fun drive and we come off the lake with smiles. Can’t buy that at any cost!

  4. Hi I live on Harsen’s, yes it is spelled with an “e”, Island on the Grande Pointe Cut and have for the past 78 years. I mention this because we have watched Taurus cruise the GPC with ALL of the owners mentioned. Not only that, but the Sunsation boat ( which BTW are made In Algonac Mi) in the photo shoot also cruises our Cut on a regular basis……….small world!

  5. I also have a 1940 Chris Craft Utility, which I have owned for 50 years, but mine is 16ft. The previous owner, who lived on Orchard Lake, (I found his outdated license and wallet in the bilge), had repowered mine with a 6cyl. model K. But my bill of sale sheet obtained from Chris Craft said the boat was built in Cadillac. Is it possible the 18ft was also built there, or were they built in Algonac instead? Seems odd.

    • Hi Tim, I just read your article and obviously saw your last name, which is unique. I’m Tom Matyn, and I was born and raised in Detroit. After the Vietnam War, I moved to San Diego. I also owned a 1955 Chris Craft 17 foot sportsman. I hope you have smooth sailing!

  6. Great story!!
    I just finished a 5 year restoration of a 1940
    19 1/2 foot Hacker utility hull #1951 built right next store. I’m the third owner of SKÅL. Love utilities!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.