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where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

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rockhounder
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Location: Big Bear California

where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by rockhounder » Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:57 pm

Hi there,

This is my first post, I am trying to find out how many 53 Sportsman deluxe utilities were made, and if there is any info on my hull number (U811152)

I just purchased this boat, and it is an original condition in good condition boat (stored in a garage correctly for a half century.)
I want to make sure any work I do to the boat is correct, and not ruin its historical value by sanding/cleaning/ or any other work incorrectly. It would be fun to also know how may of these were made in 1953.

I tried to find any archives section on this chriscraft.org site, but there does not seem to be any easily findable resource documents on old chris craft.

Any help is most appreciated!

All the best,
Last edited by rockhounder on Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

jfrprops
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by jfrprops » Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:45 pm

Length? Makes it easier to look up in the essential guide.....AND if you want the packet on your boat from the Mariners Museum archives you need to call them and request that ASAP......URGENT.....as they are going to have to shut down because of renovations to the building soon.

John in Va.
1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)

joanroy
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by joanroy » Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:13 pm

Check your hull number again. If it starts U 18 and not U81 it would be a 18 foot Delux Utility / Sportsman produced between 1947 and 1954 . 1186 total built. Post some photos.

Howard Lehman
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by Howard Lehman » Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:25 pm

Hi and welcome to the wood boating world. John is correct, it is very important to contact the Chris Craft Archives of the Mariners Museum right away. The Archives phone number is 800-565-6846, their web site is chriscraft@mariner.org. In looking at your hull/serial number that you provided, I believe there must be an incorrect digit. The hull numbers for the Deluxe Utility/Sportsman go from U-18-001 to U-18-1186. According to the book "Chris Craft, The Essential Guide" by Jerry Conrad, Chris Craft built 1186 hulls in that model, from 1947-1954. I have no information on the breakdown from each year, but someone might. According to "the Guide" the length was 17' 10", beam 6' 4", weight 1900-2100 pounds. These are very nice boats. I restored a 1947 low serial number boat in 2010-2011. It was a basket case but turned out very nicely. There is a wealth of information to be found via Boat Buzz and Woody Boater (woodyboater.com) . Good luck and enjoy the process! Regards, Howard

rockhounder
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Location: Big Bear California

Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by rockhounder » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:05 pm

20160306_135231.jpg
Hi guys,

Ok, the official Oregon state title got the hull number wrong, it should be: U181152 I found the hull number on the copy of the original Ohio state 1953 title. The boat is 18 feet long.

The boat was an incredible find, it had sat in an enclosed garage for half a century, here is a video of it seeing the light of day for the first time in 2010: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWya10oGrs4
The original docs say the engine comes from Cadillac, with the Zenith updraft carb. 6 cylinder, 131hp

We live in Big Bear California, and were always wanting a Chris Craft, so when this one presented itself to us, we drove all the way up to Portland Oregon to pick it up. We were really impressed with the condition, after putting all the freeze plugs back into the block, we got it started, runs great! We took it out to downtown Portland, and drove it on the river for several hours, with our cousins who helped us get to know the ropes, so to speak. We used GPS tracking to see that with all of us onboard, it got to 33mph. Don't know if that is about right for this hull/engine combo? Here is some video of our first ride, last vid shows the outside of the boat better. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... hwuEvlH8Na

There was only one thing done to it in the last couple of years: the hull was reseamed with a "non leak" permanent material, and the engine was rebuilt/tuneup. new flags for the bow and stern poles. new tempered glass windscreens and gaskets. rebuilt sump pump. Still has the functional original venturi self bailer in the stern.

Other than that it is in all pure original, working condition (complete with that heavenly old wood/varnish/engine oil/age smell. It needs recovered cushions, and there are a few phillips screws here and there that should be changed back to standard, there are a few quarter and dime sized spots on side hull where the varnish is bubbling a little, the horn and spotlight needs repaired wiring, the thin planking lines on the bow deck need to be gone over, a couple of dings in the bow stainless piece, and hull scrapes, but other than this, it looks great. I do have a question however, about the small antenna that is in front of the windshield. it is not connected to anything. Was there a radio that came with this model?

Well, here are some pics from the day we picked up the boat, I will take more soon of the hull and get your advice on how to preserve its condition, or go ahead and re sand/seal.

All the best,
Paul
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joanroy
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by joanroy » Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:34 am

Congratulations. Great find. Thanks for the video and photos. That first ride will be a great memory for you and your family, especially the kids. Future Woody Boaters? Good Luck! Keep us posted.

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mbigpops
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by mbigpops » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:41 am

Nice boat !

Did you drive up Big Bear mountain with the boat in tow ?

I did that drive many years ago in a rental car and it was scary with just the car nevermind towing a boat.

Do some more research on the screws. What you are calling Philips head might actually be frearson head screws and may be perfectly legitimate for your year boat. I know there were for my 1953 Rocket.

Mark
1953 CC Rocket Runabout "Rocket Man"

rockhounder
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Location: Big Bear California

Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by rockhounder » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:17 am

Thanks for the info on the screw heads. I will take a closeup pic of one of the screw heads, but I really think it is a modern phillips head, it has a flat top, and looks for all the world like a typical drywall type screw. I do also see some rounded head stainless type x head screws.

The drive up to big bear lake was a bit of an adventure, had to in some parts go up in 1st, going 10 mph, and pulling over at every turnout to let the long line of vehicles pass by. Most gave thumbs up when they saw the boat, but one car with a couple of young guys called us "LOSERS!" as they drove by :( oh well, young millennials perhaps do not understand anything that cannot fit on the palm of their hand :)

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CaptainSeth
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by CaptainSeth » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:43 pm

Paul,
Funny story: I saw your boat parked in SW Portland (probably the morning you headed south). I did a double take and came back for a closer look after dropping the kids off at school in the neighborhood there. My wife knows your cousin's neighbor so I sent her over to ask about the boat and find out if we had another woody boater in the neighborhood. She found out you were headed to Big Bear. Sounds like a great boat found a great home. Enjoy her! I second everyone's suggestion to get your packet from the Mariner's Museum. Just got mine and it's awesome!
Captain Seth in SW Portland
Captain Seth
Portland Boat Tours
________________________________
1939 17ft Chris Craft Deluxe Utility
1948 17.5ft Century Resorter
1966 20ft Tollycraft Cruiseteer

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MikeM
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by MikeM » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:30 pm

Congrats on the SOB! I'm the guy that sold it out of the Vancouver WA garage a few years back. That is the quintessential "user" boat, as it still has so much of it's original patina and charm and has been well used over the past several years. The 18' Sportsman is nearly the perfect boat....not too big, not too small. Easy to operate and store and feels like a big boat when you're out in it. Enjoy.
1929 Hacker Craft Dolphin, 24'
1940 Century Utility, 17'
1947 Chris Craft Special, 16'
1947 Chris Craft Sportsman, 22'
1949 Chris Craft Racing Runabout, 19'
1952 Penn Yan Cartopper, 12'
1954 Chris~Craft Racing Runabout, 19' (For Sale)
1971 Century Arabian, 19'
1973 Dan Arena Custom, 21'

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Chad Durren
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by Chad Durren » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:31 pm

Congrats on acquiring SOB! I was wondering who was going to find her.

Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about the model.

I have U-18-1013 (1952)
IMG_3612.jpg
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1952 CC 18' Sportsman
1969 CC 19' Commander Super Sport

rockhounder
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:20 pm
Location: Big Bear California

Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by rockhounder » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:40 pm

Hey Capt. Seth! What a small world! What boat do you have? We can't wait for Big Bear Lake to open, and take her out in April.

Mike M,
Great to make your acquaintance, you probably have a lot of info on the boat and its repairs. I noticed that we have the radio antenna right in front of the windshield, but there is no radio, or place where it looks like a radio was attached. We did notice in the Lake Oswego Boat Co repair invoices it stated "remove radio", but then when the boat was put back together, there is no listing for the radio being put back in. Did the boat have a radio, and what kind was it? (was it an old vintage am/fm?) It would be great to see if that is still lying around somewhere, or if not, is there a vintage radio that we can buy to complete the outfitting? Also, the front and back cushions are now in dire need of a recovering/repair. My wife Julie owns a couture costuming and sewing company that makes lots of vintage costumes and things for the movies, so she would easily be able to remake new softwork, in correct vintage sewing styles, but do you happen to have any links to a company that sells a reproduction fabric in the color our boat has? She estimates about 9 to 11 yards of material to redo everything including the engine cover. Also, there is one missing chrome oar hook, which mounts to the pilots side inside wall across from the engine cover. There are also several (about 11) missing wood screw cover plugs for the outside upper hull. If you know anybody we can call to purchase these, any info would be most appreciated!

All the best,
Paul Wendling
(951)206-9156

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CaptainSeth
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Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by CaptainSeth » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:01 pm

Paul,
I run Portland Boat Tours from a 1939 CC Deluxe Utility 17ft (MikeM helped me obtain) which is an upgrade from the Tollycraft I started the business with 4 years ago. Your videos of the Willamette are making me anxious to get a boat in the water! If you find yourself in Portland for a visit again, happy to connect and talk boats.

Captain Seth
Captain Seth
Portland Boat Tours
________________________________
1939 17ft Chris Craft Deluxe Utility
1948 17.5ft Century Resorter
1966 20ft Tollycraft Cruiseteer

rockhounder
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Location: Big Bear California

Re: where to find info about my 1953 sportsman deluxe

Post by rockhounder » Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:04 pm

here are some more pics, if you notice, there is discoloration on the hull, I think we will try to keep the old patina, and varnish, because of the all original great shape it is in. Just had a great phone conversation with the previous owner, and he also stated that it got lots of attention because it looked different than the restored/re-varnished boats, and has character of natural aging, along with that great antique smell.... smells just like walking into an antique log cabin.

Does anyone have experience in picking off small bubbled and flaked areas of varnish, and blending varnish repairs? Any advice would be most helpful! You also can see the missing wood plugs missing and the screw underneath. If anyone has any advice on where to find these, or if anyone has made these? Also you notice the closeup of the top bow decking, the interplanking lines are seemingly weathered out, what would be the best thing to use for re-filling these to make it look good, but still aged?

All the best,
Paul
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