Sears/Chris Craft Express Cruiser help

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Sears/Chris Craft Express Cruiser help

Postby themtrhead » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:09 pm

I want to finish my Dad's project. I inherited his unfinished 22' cabin cruiser that he started around the time I was born. Dad died over 18 years ago and I plan to finish "Clark's Ark." It is 75% complete and never seen the light of day in 53 ish years. I was always told he bought the kit from Sears. Unfortunately, the plans are lost. I'll post pictures soon. Can anybody help me start this quest? :D
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Postby Ken Miller » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:49 pm

Now that is cool.

Welcome to the forum from another Southerner. I grew up living on Lake Chickamauga in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and my wife and daughter and I still boat there.

You'll find priceless information in this forum. My advice to you would be to start reading and asking questions.

Again, welcome.

Ken Miller.
1951 Chris Craft U-22-1705 "Miss Cynthia"
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Clark's Ark

Postby themtrhead » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:53 am

Hello Ken,
Thanks for the reply. I spent some of my early years with the family on Lake Lanier in the 60's using our little 17'runabout to camp on the many islands there. I have not been back to Lanier, but from what I hear, it is probably more populated and not like what I remember. We used to get to the Lake on Friday and "claim" our own island for the weekend.
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Postby Mark Christensen » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:07 am

pictures!
1951 22' Chris Craft Sedan
1961 24' Chris Craft Sportsman
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Postby themtrhead » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:50 pm

Image

Image

Image
Image
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Postby Bill Basler » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:41 am

Clarks Ark is going to be a special boat. Chris-Craft's Kit Boat Division manufactured boat kits from 1950 through 1958. You can see more information about the Kit Boat Division at www.chris-craft.org/wiki

A lesser know fact is that Chris-Craft also entered into sales agreements with the large catalog retailers of the day, ie: Sears and Montgomery Wards. Some of the Chris-Craft Kit Boats sold through Wards, for example, were marketed as Chris-Craft boats. Other, however, were private labeled under Wards' "Sea King" brand. A 50s vintage Wards Catalog notes. "Assembled boats, or boat kits—Made by Chris-Craft Expressly for Wards."

In a 1957 Wards catalog the Sea King (by Chris-Craft) models are listed as a 19-foot Express Outboard, a 16-foot Sports Cruiser, and a 22-foot Two-Sleeper Cruiser. The smaller runabouts were all sold under the Chris-Craft name.

I don't know for certain if Clark's Ark is of Chris-Craft origin. The styling seems to be different than other small cruisers I have seen from the Kit Boat Division. But, I have to admit I am not as knowledgable about the exact works of the Chris-Craft Kit Division as some are. For example, Jerry Conrad's Chris-Craft, the Essential Guide lists the Kit Boat Division models as follows:

8-foot Pram 1950-1958
10-foot Racing Pram 1952-1955
12-foot Runabout 1952-1954
12-foot Penguin Sailboat 1953-1954
12-foot Rowboat 1954-1955
12-foot Vagabond 1955-1958
12-foot Meteor 1957-1958
14-foot Runabout Deluxe 1950-1954
14-foot Fishing Skiff/Rowboat 1951-1954
14-foot Duckboat 1953-1955
14-foot Sportsman 1953-1954
14-foot Zephyr/Bonito 1955-1956
14-foot Caribbean 1955-1958
14-foot Barracuda 1955-1958
14-foot Dolphin 1955-1956
14-foot Comet 1957-1958
14-foot Hornet 1957
14-foot Grayling 1957-1958
15-foot Marlin 1955-1956
15-foot Tarpon 1957
16-foot Deluxe Runabout 1952-1954
16-foot Express 1954-1956
16-foot Custom Runabout 1956-1958
16-foot Sports Cruiser 1957-1958
16-foot Sports Express 1957-1958
17-foot Speedboat 1953-1954
18-foot Express Cruiser 1952-1953
18-foot Fiesta 1955
19-foot Runabout/Sports Convertible 1957-1958
19-foot Sports Express Convertible 1957-1958
21-foot Sportsman 1952-1954
21-foot Monterey Express 1952-1955
26-foot Cruiser 1953-1954
31-foot Express Cruiser 1952-1954

Strangely The Essential Guide does not indicate a 22-foot Cruiser as indicated in the Montgomery Wards catalog.
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Postby kits » Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:57 pm

I have 1956 and 1957 CC Kit Boat catalogs and a 1958 flyer that all list a 22' Express Cruiser available for inboard or outboard power. I also have an undated Montgomery Ward boat brochure that features 3 outboard cruisers "made by Chris Craft especially for Wards". Model 8890 is a 22' Two-sleeper cabin cruiser, selling for $2719.
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I have a JXLD Chris Craft/Hercules engine

Postby themtrhead » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:22 am

Does anyone know if the above engine would be suitable for my project?
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Postby Al Benton » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:05 pm

Lee,

I'm not an expert on this but the Hercules JXLD would be a Chris-Craft ML engine. They provided this engine in quite a few of their 22' boats in that era. I think it would be a good match for your project.

Al
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Postby Wood Commander » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:40 am

I'm thinking along the same lines as Bill, I'm not sure that's a Chris Craft Kit Boat. However, I don't have a lot of knowledge about those boats. Still, the lines just don't look quite the same.

As Al said, a JXLD would be a long stroke "ML" Chris Craft six cylinder engine weighing somewhere close to 900 pounds with a reduction gearbox, although you probably wouldn't use a reduction box. But even a straight drive box would still be fairly heavy.
I think a smaller QXD or "K" series, or possibly even an A or B series four cylinder Hercules/Chris Craft would be much more appropriate for a boat like yours, but that's just my opinion. And that is if you want to stick with old original style power, which is cool.
Bret

1953 35' Commander "Adonis III"

1970 23' lancer project
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Postby Al Benton » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:03 pm

Unfortunately, there's not as much Kit Boat Division history that survived over the years as with other Divisions of Chris-Craft. The list of kit boats in The Essential Guide was probably pieced together from random bits of information that were found among other documents, price lists, a few brochures, etc.

Chris-Craft probably invented the kit boat market but other companies must have been offering kits in the era as well. Wish we could say "yes or no" to a Chris-Craft Kit but at this point the answer remains a "definite maybe".

The ML would be period correct but does weigh in fairly heavy compared to a K (smaller 6-cyl) or the A or B (4-cyl) engines (all period correct).

Al
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part numbers on wood pieces

Postby themtrhead » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:00 pm

I have started to look at the un-installed wood bits that have numbers printed on them. The numbers all start with "22 56" which I believe indicates it is a 1956 22' kit of some manufacture. Does this ring any bells for anybody?
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Image
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library visit.

Postby themtrhead » Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:39 pm

I just got some time to go down to our local library which has the Sears catalogs on film from 1950's. The spring edition shows an Elgin 22' cruiser but the specs are looking different. Was Elgin related to Chris Craft or Sears private line maybe?
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Postby thompsonboatboy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:41 am

I have an undated brochure from Montgomery Ward. They merchandised the "Sea King" brand of boats and outboard motors. The boats and motors were made for them by various builders.

This brochure specifically mentions that the "Sea King Outboard Cruisers made by Chris-Craft especially for Wards". They have 16, 19, and 22 ft. models.

Maybe your boat is a Monkey Wards and not a Sears???? Sears used the "Elgin" brand name for the boats and motors they sold.

These big retailers changed suppliers all the time. Cruisers, Inc. made some lapstrake outboard boats for Wards for about one season. Chetek Boat Corp. made cedar strip wooden boats for Wards for a number of years. Span America Boat Co. made fiberglass boats for Wards for a year or so. Red Fish Boat was a supplier of boats for either Sears or Wards. The two latter firms went belly up in large part because they were making boats for the big retailer and they let their regular dealer network slide.

Andreas
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Postby thompsonboatboy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:43 am

By the way Al Benton, Chris-Craft did not invent the kit boat. There were plenty of builders of kit boats before Chris-Craft jumped on the band wagon in the 1950s.

Andreas
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Postby Al Benton » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:31 pm

Andreas, Thanks for the clarification.
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Postby kits » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:08 pm

Andreas,
It sounds like we might have copies of the same Mongomery Ward boat brochure. 4 pages, B&W with green highlights. Sound familiar?

Bob
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Postby thompsonboatboy » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:21 pm

yup, 11" x 17" paper folded to make 4 pages, green trim with black ink. drawings of the cruisers on the front.

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