by Ken Lukes member of the North Coast Ohio chapter
Jeremy Goldstein (my cousin and owner of Custom Marine Inc. in Sandusky, OH.), was perusing the internet and came across an ad for the XK19 in April of 2018. We talked about it and I decided to call the owner. The ad was placed in December 2017. I didn’t get my hopes up to high thinking it was already sold. To my surprise I was the first person to call.
Turns out, the previous owner was going to retire to Mexico Beach, FL and did not want to ruin this classic by subjecting it to saltwater.
The fun part was how the previous owner acquired this gem. He was looking for something in his Uncles garage in 2005 and discovered the boat he had grown up with hidden under a large tarp in the back corner. The boat spent its first 18 years on Lake Lanier in Cummings, GA. and was then put into storage because the engine was damaged from the camshaft failing.
Upon finding the boat, he approached his Uncle and told him he wanted to buy it and restore it. He first asked if his cousin had any interest in using the boat. This was the crazy part. His Uncle told him “NO” because his cousin was too busy managing the golf course he bought for him to keep him out of trouble. That was when the Uncle told him “Why don’t you leave and come back with something to tow it with “it’s yours”. Wouldn’t you love to have an Uncle like that!
After many hours and many dollars the XK was restored to approximately 90% new condition, including all new gelcoat, every piece of chrome triple plated, Teak Holly dash and flooring, new upholstery, new gauges and a completely rebuilt 400 cu in. small block Chevy engine. The original 327QA was bored 0.030 over and included with my purchase.
Over the next 3 ½ months Jeremy presented a number of questions and I finalized the purchase in July with a promise that the XK would never be subjected to saltwater.
The first launch under my ownership was at Mentor Lagoons in Mentor, OH at the 2018 Chris Craft Commander Club International Rendezvous. It was the hit of the gathering. Since then Jeremy and I have made several upgrades to meet marine safety specifications and started correction of a few factory weak points under the deck. The first safety upgrade was installing a shutoff valve on the seacock. This was not required in 1970.
Last year in August at the “All classic boats and car festival” in Huron, OH the “XK” placed “Best in show”. What a surprise that was! Numerous other Chris Crafts, Lyman’s…etc. we’re being judged.
When I purchased the boat there was 495 original hours on the 327QA and only 55 additional hours on the replacement 400. I am fussy about mechanical things and there was something not quite right about how the 400 was running. So the 400 and complete drive-train has been removed.
I decided that the XK should be returned to factory specs (numbers matching) with the original drivetrain. The tranny is rebuilt and the V-Drive gear box was checked for wear. In January I had my engine builder completely tear down the bored out original 327QA engine. It was supposedly rebuilt. Unfortunately the previous owner was completely sold a bill of goods. Not one thing in that engine could meet marine specification. It is perfect now.
I am currently detailing all of the external engine components. It will sparkle when completed. Jeremy will do the deck reinforcement and then the drivetrain will be re-installed.
The rest will be history with many hours spent on numerous freshwater lakes and rivers.