by Forrest Bryant member of the Heartland Classics chapter

This 19′ Cobalt was hours away from being donated to charity. It had been sitting for over three years next to a garage in Baldwin, KS. The boat was originally purchased and used at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. The boat was passed from the original owner to their daughter and her family who used it for several years. The boat seriously overheated and the diagnosis was that the engine was probably fried. The boat was placed out along the side of the main road that ran into Baldwin with a “For Sale” sign on it.

My cousin saw the boat and called to tell me about it. She didn’t know anything about it other than it was a Cobalt and knew that I had one earlier and thought I might be interested. I made the 65 mile trip to Baldwin to check it out, but on arrival it wasn’t where she said it would be. Since it had just been parked next to the road there was no one to ask what had happened to it. I assumed that it had probably sold. After returning home, I decided to check eBay and Craigslist to see if it was listed. Sure enough, it was on Craigslist. I called the owner and she said it was still available, but if it wasn’t sold in the next couple of days she was going to donate the boat. Two hours later, I was hooking up the trailer for a tow to the Cobalt’s new home.

As I mentioned earlier, the boat had set outside for over three years with not much of a cover. The hull was in great shape but very dull and oxidized in need of a complete cleanup. The hull was buffed out and waxed. All teak trim was removed, sanded, and received several coats of teak oil. The interior was removed except for the side panel trim, cleaned and reinstalled. The interior is all original except for one rear seat cushion.

The 350 engine was pulled and disassembled and found to be rebuildable. It was sent to a machine shop for a rebuild that including boring out 30 thousands and adding a high lift cam. The 265 Mercruiser outdrive had a failed impeller that had actually caused the overheating. The outdrive was then ovedhauled and stainless prop was reconditioned. A new battery, starter, tune up and the carburetor rebuilt. The beige was power-washed and repainted.

The 1980 original Rolco Tardum trailer was totally reconditioned: bead blasted, repainted, new axles, brakes, 15” chrome wheels and tires, rewired and LED lights installed. The 19′ Cobalt 19CD is now a very reliable user boat that performs like it did when it was delivered by the Cobalt factory.

It has been a joy to bring back a boat that had a very unpredictable future. That’s what ACBS, it’s chapters and members are all about. We love classic boats of all kinds and it is our love and duty to keep them going for the next generation to enjoy.


  1. Congratulations on restoring the Cobalt. Enjoyed reading about saving a Great boat that will hopefully bring many hours of fun to the new owners. Thumbs Up !

  2. Great story..I thoroughly enjoyed it. Your attention to originality and perfection is inspirational! Now that fiberglass boats of that vintage are recognized as collectible classics, and certainly antique, maybe we’ll see a lot more of them get new lives… I hope so. Even the new boats of today, which don’t look nautical or classy (in my opinion}, will surely be the antique and classic boats of tomorrow.

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