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Century To Chris Craft Connection

This is a general discussion area for those who are interested in Chris-Craft's connection with Century Boats.

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steve bunda
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Century To Chris Craft Connection

Post by steve bunda » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:42 am

Some how when a Century comes into my shop for a restoration,it leaves with a double planked Chris Craft bottom. Also A friend has a Century that was ordered without an engine, so the buyer could install a Chris Craft M . steve

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:01 am

Steve, Mark and other Centurians, for the sake of conversation, most of us know that Chris-Craft bottoms are double-planked bottoms with a layer of cotton canvas between the layers.

Century bottoms were/are different. Please elaborate.
Bill Basler

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steve bunda
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century bottom

Post by steve bunda » Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:00 am

The Century bottom being single plank board and batten was lighter than a double planked boat,thus giving the boat a great preformance advantage when coupled with a huge V8. The single plank bottom on a Century did not have the longevity due to its inherent design. I have been told by old timers that the Century company knew of the week bottom and started shipping the boats with the large engines uninstalled . The marina completed the installation thus buffering Century from liability. thanks,steve,,,much more interesting info out there , where is Century Jack ?

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Don Vogt
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chris craft

Post by Don Vogt » Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:01 pm

Yes, at least in the 50's it was a notorious bottom. Also apparently the knees around the stern rotted too as the design allowed water to collect in that area. But during the 50's it was THE water ski boat, and successive models tended more to track auto design trends than cc did (except for the goofy aircraft carrier deck resorter), at least until later in the '60s. I think the 50's models generally used african mahogany, too, which gave them a little bit more exotic grain and color. And they really took off when they started adding the ford t-bird interceptor engines.

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Bill Basler
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Post by Bill Basler » Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:58 pm

What goes around!

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Don Vogt
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century

Post by Don Vogt » Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:32 pm

all I can say is , "oh, my god!" :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: I cannot believe it. I guess it proves the old saying there is no accounting for taste!!!

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Post by mcisaac inc » Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:46 pm

:D people love speed, century boats new this . nothing like a 15' resorter with a 302 interceper, or a 19 arabian with a 440 ...............mark

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Post by mcisaac inc » Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:58 pm

:D i personally do not own a Century at present ,but do see them in the shop quite regularly.They were produced just a few miles south of where i live in Manistee county and are a big part of the local and Michigan's history. Much the same as Chris Craft.I am still a pre war cc guy.................mark

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Paul P
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Post by Paul P » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:48 pm

Growing up on Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, as a kid old enough to be on the docks by himself in the late 1950s, I was a pretty perceptive lad. I saw all those beautiful Chris Craft boats coming and going from the docks, while I was fishing for bluegills, and remember always walking back to see the tailpipe when the captain hit the ignition switch.

It was during those impressionable years, that I learned that SOMEDAY I too, would have a boat like that. Seeing all those boats, with people OBVIOUSLY having fun, guys and gals, beautiful brightwork, awesome motor sounds, and an occasional ride in a big Scripps V-12 powered Hackercraft, I soon knew there was a lot more to life than a stringer full of bluegills. 8)

Conneaut Lake was primarily a Chris Craft domain, with a couple big Hackercraft and a variety of Century boats, and others too. I remember there were a couple big engine Centurys there, including a big block Chrysler powered Coronado, owned by either the Miklos family or Midway Beach Hotel, and here it is pulling 11 skiiers from the Conneaut Lake Ski Club.

One thing about Century, they apparently made one heck of a ski tow hook!

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Also, I remember a rather large Century Raven (large being a relative term to a youngster, so it was in the 18 or 22' range), all black, that was reported to be "the fastest boat on the lake" at the time. It had a very distinct deep bellow, which I would now equate to a big block. It hung out around the Hotel Conneaut. Since Century dabbled in big block Chrysler and Ford motors, there is no telling what it had, but it sure made an impression on me, standing there on the boardwalk at Conneaut Lake Park seeing that thing blast by at full speed, making that unforgettable sound.

I will bet you the Miklos family would know exactly who owned that big Raven, and what power it had in it. They are still (very) active in the Century Boat Club and still have roots at the lake.

One last thing, about that aircraft carrier Century design. It's examples like that and like the Ford Edsel, that make boards of directors sweat bullets from time to time, wondering if they too, are following the path of destruction. It never ceases to amaze me that FoMoCo had a board that actually approved the design of an Oldsmobile sucking a Lemon, and they must have had the board stacked with "yes men" who bowed to the bull elder. Otherwise good design schools would have certainly prevailed.

Obviously poor sales numbers would eventually purge the showrooms of Edsels and aircraft carrier Century boats. There are some beautifully proportioned Century boats out there, many are highly desirable, with near perfect proportion and form.

The 1963 Coronado and Resorter lost the blunt nose theme and became nicely shaped boats with very nice lines. Prior to 1963 the Coronado seemed to be rather ostentatious. The Coronado and Resorter from 1963 to 1968 are the best looking of the entire series, in my somewhat modernistic eye.


Regards,

Pau1 P1etcher
Now in Nashville, TN
Last edited by Paul P on Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1956 17' CC Sportsman, 300-hp
1957 17' CC Sportsman, 95-hp
1966 20' CC fiberglass Sea Skiff, 210-hp+
1973 23' CC Lancer inboard project, 427/375-hp.
1966 38' CC Commander Express, 427/300-hp(2)

So many boats.........so little time.....but what a way to go!!

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Don Vogt
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Post by Don Vogt » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:58 pm

a very nice reminiscence. Those of us growing up during the 50's when waterskiing was really the thing, will always remember the high powered centuries. Bing Crosby's century coronado was the ultimate on our lake. We had the one of the largest volume century dealers in the country on our lake and today it is sad that if we are lucky maybe there are a half a dozen still around.
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Pete DeVito
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Post by Pete DeVito » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:57 pm

Talking about a ski boat I think that Cypress Gardens which is near my home in Florida used the Century Resorter during the 1960's. Did any of you visit Cypress Gardens during these years? I was just a small kid but I remember all kinds of stars coming down to put on shows at the Gardens during the 60's. (Mike Douglas, Kay Starr, Little Joe, Esther Williams) how I remember some of these names...

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quitchabitchin
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Post by quitchabitchin » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:42 pm

There is a Correct Craft American Skier for sale on Ebay that claims that the American Skier was the choice of Cypress Gardens. Not real sure which boat they used. If it were me and it was 1969, I would have chosen a 17' Chris Craft Cavalier Ski Boat with a 230HP 327Q. :lol:

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my 2 cents

Post by thomasholm » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:47 pm

this is an interesting thread, albeit some months old.

my two cents:
Century did not put a canvas in their boat bottoms to collect water and rot the wood.

A single plank on frame bottom is more flexible and easier to repair.

Dick Pope who founded Cypress Garden was a water skiing pioneer. His brother Malcom was the boat driver. Their boat of choice was a Century Resorter. Dick got the Resorter to be the official Water Ski Association tow boat. Cypress Garden had many Resorter boats over the years. Century sponsored the "100 Club" for any skier that jumped over 100 ft. Alfredo Mendoza was the first, Joe Cash soon followed.

Century offered the marine engine of choice to dealers and owners. Some boats were made without engines allowing the dealer/owner to install whatever. Some of the dealers with CC engine experience/knowledge ordered Century's with Nordberg engines - as they were much like CC's - chevy blocks, etc.
This choice allowed Century to sell the latest and greatest marine engine available - and they generally were faster and faster over time. That's why most CC owners "know" of the stern mounted chromed plated Century V emblem - it's the last thing they saw when the Century passed them :)
When Century jumped on the V8's in the mid-50s it had some of its highest volume production ever. Perhaps those new boat owners were recalling the 30's race boating era, I dunno, I just know they wanted to have "the fastest boat on the lake" and Century provided it.
thomas holmes

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steve bunda
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wood boats

Post by steve bunda » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:06 pm

Thomas, and all , Century , Chris Craft , Garwood , Hacker and all others, have one thing in common. They are all Green Boats. all kidding aside , some things that are commented about are for fun ,and intended not to distract from the honor of the brand. Personally I love them all,and due to the fact that they are made out of wood I have seen the good and bad in most. Quite often the bad is due to the keeper of the boat and not the builder or name brand.I love Thompson cedar striphulls, try to find one in nice shape.I like the reference to the Nordberg engine as my late father law was involved with the testing of that engine on Pine Lake Wisc in the 50's. Wood boat preference is as American as Ford , GM, and apple pie,,steve
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