Lot 226 - 1953 Chris-Craft Rocket Runabout
|Registration||Name; Gee Wizz|
|Chassis Number||Hull Number; D-17-141|
|Estimate||£12,000 - £15,000|
Chris-Craft Incorporated is a manufacturer of powerboats based in Florida. The original company, Chris-Craft Boats, was founded in the late 19th century by Christopher Columbus Smith and became famous for mahogany hulled powerboats from the 1920's through to the 1950's. Chris Smith built his first wooden boat in 1874 at the age of 13. Years later, he built a duck hunting boat; his friends liked the way he built them, and they asked him to build them one. This was technically the start of the Chris-Craft Boat Company. He soon began to build more boats and joined his brother Hank in 1881 to begin producing them full time and in 1922, the brothers joined with other partners to form the Smith & Sons Boat Company. The company name was changed to Chris-Craft in 1930. After the war, Chris-Craft introduced a new lineup of pleasure boats in time for the massive American consumer expansion of the 1950's. That decade marked the height of company prestige and the brand name Chris-Craft became virtually synonymous with pleasure boating. The company offered 159 different models and was the sales leader in many categories of small boats. The company sold high-end models to famous customers such as Dean Martin, Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley. Their boats were often made from the finest mahogany and were considered to be among the best available. Even their lower-priced boats were considered to be of high quality, often featuring such luxury items as a liberal use of mahogany, teak, and brass.
This 17ft Chris-Craft Rocket Runabout was manufactured in 1953 and imported into the UK by Arthur Bray, the sole British importer of such boats and was subsequently exhibited at the London Boat Show. Originally built to a high specification and supplied with a 4,500cc Cadillac unit, 131 horse power KBL series engine, this boat represents a superb piece of craftsmanship. The deck is of a Bow configuration with a Vee windscreen with supports incorporating grab handles. As a show boat, it was ordered with many extras, as detailed in the build sheets; the majority of which are still extant. The twin cockpit is newly upholstered to the original style and specification and a fresh wiring loom has also been fitted. Little is known of the early years of the boat, although it did appear to be sold in Holland in 2003. The current vendor purchased the boat in 2004 and has used it very little. Benefitting from a total restoration prior to his purchase and supplied with a copy of the original build sheet from Chris-Craft, clearly this is a fine example of workmanship. With a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour, such a sleek, stylish launch will always attract admirers wherever she is used. What better way to enjoy a weekend than messing about on the river?
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.