Gil Maringer, North Coast Ohio Chapter

The attached dealer notice was included with each new boat shipped from the Chris-Craft factories. There are some interesting observations. 

First, dealers were expected to be located very close if not on a waterfront, and they were supposed to run the boats before transferring to a customer. 

Number 6 in the list is particularly interesting since the boat was supposed to be tied down tight or even nudged into a seawall while it was put in gear and run at 1000 rpms for 10 to 15 minutes. Running the boat that long on a shipping cradle with coolant water pumped from a bucket would have damaged strut’s dry bronze cutlass bearing. (What goes unsaid is that it is not recommended to run the boat at idle very long in neutral because it wears the disengaged transmission plates). 

According to number 7, the dealer was expected to drive the boat for a few minutes to make possible adjustments to the carburetor and spark – meaning distributor timing. That was a lot to do while at top speed on open water in 3 to 5 minutes, but it sure must have been fun for the guys working at the dealership. (NCO’s past president Bob Ashley had that enviable job as a kid on the Portage Lakes). 

In number 8, the shaft and stuffing box was to be checked for alignment and then again after the boat’s hull was allowed to swell after two to three days. Most dealerships had lifts that extended over the water so the boats could be hung but were still left in the water as they soaked up. The boats were not to be left “unattended”. (Most of the boats did not have a factory installed bilge pump but they all came with a siphon tube which was supposed to suction out the bilge. Those only worked when the boat was running at speed). 

The need to check the shaft alignment a couple times means that Chris-Craft expected the boat’s hull to change and the engine to settle after being in the water. Certainly, with today’s rebuilt epoxied plywood or re-planked 5200 caulked bottoms, our boats’ bottoms are far stronger and drier than the originals. In fact, Chris-Craft dealers were told that with regular use the outer planks of the bottoms would have to be taken off in seven years to replace the linseed oil-soaked canvas inner liner and then reattach the outer planks. It’s doubtful if many customers went to that expense. 

Who would have thought that we would still be using many of these boats so many years after they were first delivered to a dealer?

Originally printed in the North Coast Ohio’s chapter newsletter, “The Beacon”

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