By Ken Buck, ACBS member

My parents were avid boaters on the Long Island Sound. Dad had a few runabouts and graduated to a Chris-Craft Express Cruiser followed by a small Connie. I was the person in charge of Springtime: Sanding, Scraping, Painting, Varnishing and Polishing. College, Career, and Marriage came next. Boating faded away.

Having successful careers allowed us to purchase property overlooking Lake Chatuge, Georgia. Perfect place to reignite boating! I looked at Chris-Craft, Century and Gar Wood. I remembered all the prep work before launching. However, I wanted the mahogany “LOOK without the Labor”.

I researched Elite Craft Riviera fiberglass construction. My next step was to contact a few owners that had boats for sale. The one I kept coming back to was in Portland Oregon. She was a 1980 model relocated to the West Coast and was in storage 18 years. The owner had passed away and the estate no longer wanted to pay storage. The price was right! Assuming the motor may be locked and may have to be replaced.

I was able to locate a flatbed hauler that was “deadheading” back to the East Coast and made a deal to ship the Riviera to our home in Boca Raton, Florida.

Upon her arrival, the boat looked great! I changed the fluids and filters, Replaced the belts and hoses and spark plugs wires and points and rotor. Put a new battery on board. Sprayed a little Starting Fluid. Crossed my fingers and viola! She started right up!

The hour meter indicated only 104 hours. Even the 8-track tape player worked!

Next, it was time to bring her up to Lake Chatuge. She ran great on the Lake. With a wonderful throaty V8 exhaust sound.

Now I needed an appropriate name for my Prize… Fe- Fi- Faux- Fun, just seemed right.
The Look without the Labor!


  1. Great story!! I’ve never really wanted a Fiberglass boat but this one I COULD live with!! Congratulations on a great acquisition and Happy Boating!!

    • I also have an Elite Craft, mine is Wood Not! I sold by 1950 Chris Craft Riviera to get it so the kids would have something to ram around the lake on. In truth I drive it a lot as well. as my racing runabout.

  2. Guy Lombardo (a boat lover too!) was famous for saying, “When I die, I’m taking New Year’s Eve with me” and when Elite Craft closed they took that formula for a simulated wood finish that has never been duplicated. And it was tried many times. Somehow it took all the abuse from the South Florida sun and still had that fresh varnished look. It’s a missing link in the classing boat story.

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