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sprink58
03-01-2011, 10:33 PM
This is my 4th Formula...1st was a '78 F-18 w/888 302 Ford/Merc on a No 1 drive. Had it 9 years. 2nd was a 1986 242 SS w/single 260 Merc/Alpha 1...the last one built in Miami. 3rd was a 1986 272 LS w/twin 320 EFI/Alpha 1...74 MPH "Bimini for Lunch Bunch" special.

Now I have lucked up on this 32 year old 255 Liberator that has been in Traverse City , Michgan for all but the last 2 years. Fresh water does make a difference and this survivor boat is testament to that. It has '06 model Mercruiser 260 crate motors on Merc No 1 drives. It came to me with a torn starboard u-joint bellows. That equated to a fried gimbal bearing and a partially rotted out bellows flange that leads to a transom assembly change out. I found a good, tight, fresh water No 1 transom assembly and the starboard engine is comming out this week to swap the TA.

Unbelievably...this 255 is rock solid after 32 years and has that classic "Don Arronow" look that still turns heads. The first step in the restoration is to get everything tight,safe and reliable and have some fun with this old girl.

As time and budget allows, we may get into Bravo drives and a pair of stout 383's. Prior to that move will come some creature comforts like modern electronics and a small power inverter diven Air Conditioning system....I was suprised to actually see a shore power set up on this boat. I would also very much like to find some late model McCleod/Formula bolsters for this one.

If anyone has a similar older Formula or Donzi I would love to compare notes and see some pics...here's mine.

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Formula%20255%20Liberator/formula002.jpg

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Formula%20255%20Liberator/DSC04967.jpg

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Formula%20255%20Liberator/DSC04972.jpg

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Formula%20255%20Liberator/DSC04976.jpg

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Formula%20255%20Liberator/DSC04977.jpg

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Formula%20255%20Liberator/DSC04979.jpg

cutwater
03-02-2011, 08:37 AM
Look at that freeboard! :eek: Nice boat, welcome.

zelatore
03-02-2011, 01:21 PM
Great looking boat - gotta love classic lines.

I'm curious if you've done any research on a small inverter powered A/C system. I've not seen anything like that. Granted, I'm usually looking at larger systems but everything I can think of uses quite a bit of power. You're going to need a heck of a battery bank and one big-a$$ inverter! Not to mention some high-output externally regulated alternators to recharge that battery bank.

zelatore
03-02-2011, 01:25 PM
Hmmm...perhaps I should do some checking before I post.

Looks like MarineAir has a 12vdc system. Only 3500 btu, but that might be enough for a small cabin like this. No reverse cycle heat; only AC. It draws about 30 amps at 12v, so with a big battery bank you could make that work.

http://www.dometic.com/enus/Americas/USA/Marine/Marine-Air/DX-Self-Contained/products/?productdataid=80972

Keep in mind, I've never used or even seen one of these systems. I've used MarineAir plenty of times, but only the larger 120/240vac stuff.

MDonziM
03-02-2011, 02:04 PM
Look at that freeboard! :eek: Nice boat, welcome.

Seriously, you can stand on the drive and you're not guaranteed of making it out of the water onto the boat...

realbold
03-02-2011, 02:07 PM
Nice lookin old Formula. Those handle the big lakes great.
I talked to Barry. Unfortunately he no longer has his.

sprink58
03-06-2011, 11:33 AM
Hmmm...perhaps I should do some checking before I post.

Looks like MarineAir has a 12vdc system. Only 3500 btu, but that might be enough for a small cabin like this. No reverse cycle heat; only AC. It draws about 30 amps at 12v, so with a big battery bank you could make that work.

http://www.dometic.com/enus/Americas/USA/Marine/Marine-Air/DX-Self-Contained/products/?productdataid=80972

Keep in mind, I've never used or even seen one of these systems. I've used MarineAir plenty of times, but only the larger 120/240vac stuff.

That is the system I am looking at. MarineAir is near my office in Pompano and I picked up some info from them. This 3500 BTU rig is perfect for my application. As far as heat go's...I'm in SE Florida so heat is not an issue.:cool:

sprink58
03-06-2011, 11:58 AM
Look at that freeboard! :eek: Nice boat, welcome.

Yes...they do ride nice in the water..

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Formula%20255%20Liberator/Catalog_edited-1.jpg

Greg Guimond
03-06-2011, 07:39 PM
Now THAT is freeboard :lightning Great looking lines in white.

mrfixxall
03-11-2011, 02:09 PM
and yet another one a friend sunk a ton of money into that he lost interest in..

Ghost
03-11-2011, 03:39 PM
Gorgeous boat.

<extend arm, flick lighter> "Freeboard! Freeboard!"

sprink58
02-17-2013, 01:52 PM
It's been almost two years and I have re-directed this project. One day I was out running and discovered that I had a blown out Freeze Plug on the port engine. I pulled both engines with the intent of replacing freeze plugs and cleaning up the bilge a bit. well...as thing can go with a project like this suddenly 2:New 355 Vortec Roller Cam SBC's came available at such a good price that I had to take them. These are 420+ HP engines so I knew the old Pre Alpha drives weren't up to the task. I found a good deal on a pair of near new fresh water Bravo Transom assemblies complete with rams and pumps. I pulled the old T/A's and in they went. I had to change just about everything associated with the engines, steering and drives to make this happen. New exhaust, brackets, ignition , cooling , bell housings, couplers, oil cooler, steering ram, etc.

Here are a few pics of where I have been with this.

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The 255 is in the shop now having the engines and drives installed. we figure a few more weeks until I splash and strt prop selection.

Ghost
02-17-2013, 03:38 PM
Looks great--I bet she's a completely different boat. Can't wait to hear how it goes when you launch...

sprink58
02-17-2013, 05:45 PM
I had to replace the trailer...got tired of "Sucking up the Seat Covers" every time I went somewhere.


http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/DSC_0110_zps3bfedf94.jpg

I went with an All American twin torsion axle, 4 wheel disc, 10,200 GTRW carrying about 6500# loaded. Pulls nicely behind mt Escalade ESV.

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/IMAG0252.jpg

You guys know how these resto projects go. You get to the point where you start saying "Well...I might as well...". I didn't put a schedule on this project but I loosely figured 2~2 1/2 years...I'm close. Dollar wise I set a goal to create a reliable 70 MPH Sport Boat with modern power and drives along with updated electronics and safety features for around $25k. I will be at 60% of that when I splash...including $4k for the new trailer. That leaves me roughly $10K in the budget to do the cabin, cockpit and eleectronics...with maybe enough to update the Isinglass, zippers and Sunbrella Bimini/Cockpit enclosure.

Donzi's and Formula's share a kindred heritage and I appreciate you guys letting me share this with you.

sprink58
02-17-2013, 05:54 PM
Thanks for your thoughts.

sprink58
02-28-2013, 11:22 PM
I wonder what Formula's designer John Adams inspiration was when he designed the Formula 255 Liberator?

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/DSC_0110_zps3bfedf94.jpg

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Cigarette28_zps885538f3.jpg

The "Family Resemblance" is Amazing!!!:fam:

Ghost
02-28-2013, 11:41 PM
Bullet sunfish? ;)

glashole
03-01-2013, 07:39 AM
a few of us on this site run formulas ranging from jr's to sport boats to the big a$$ cruisers

solid boats built on quality

yembo77
03-01-2013, 08:49 AM
It's like 2 donzi classics tall! She's a big girl!!! Sweet looking boat with classic lines.
M

Tidbart
03-01-2013, 12:30 PM
I wonder what Formula's designer John Adams inspiration was when he designed the Formula 255 Liberator?

The "Family Resemblance" is Amazing!!!:fam:


I don't what it is, but that Formula really catches my eye. Beautiful boat.

roadtrip se
03-01-2013, 04:57 PM
This is our second. Runs 55 and can seat 14 of your friends and family. Awesome ride, too.

sprink58
03-02-2013, 10:42 PM
I don't what it is, but that Formula really catches my eye. Beautiful boat.

Yeah...I know...sort of like..."OK...Let's go!!"

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Formula%20255%20Liberator/My255Pompano.jpg

Plus it's 35 years old and still looks good!!

sprink58
06-30-2013, 03:22 PM
OK...made some BIG progress in the past 90 days.

I decided that before the power goes in to re-do ALL of the wiring....new engine harnesses and new bilge to transom harnesses. These old boats were assembled with the inner liner & cockpit separate with the gauge cluster being installed prior to the cockpit hull "marriage". Therefore, there was no way to access the back of the helm...so we did surgery. We cut out the old original panel and created a new one with new gauges.

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/IMG_2631_zps9b98ca47.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/IMG_2631_zps9b98ca47.jpg.html)
http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/IMG951400_zps0868a3a2.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/IMG951400_zps0868a3a2.jpg.html)

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/DSC_0187_zps5857de1f.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/DSC_0187_zps5857de1f.jpg.html)
http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/DSC_0195_zps72ceca20.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/DSC_0195_zps72ceca20.jpg.html)
http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/DSC_0193_zps1c9be473.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/DSC_0193_zps1c9be473.jpg.html)
Also a new switch panel with new new rockers...the 2 on the far right are drive trim.

Once the transom assemblies and steering ram went in it became apparent that these boats never heard of Bravo Drives...so there was not enough room to keep the steering on the starboard side so we moved it to the port side. This required the installation of a new 24" longer steering cable. Since there was no room for the inner tie bar connecting the tillers the outside Tie Bar becomes the sole steering linkage. it works great....steering is very tight and immediate.

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/DSC_0189_zps3192ace4.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/DSC_0189_zps3192ace4.jpg.html)

So now the engines are in...

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Twinsatlast_zpse0f669cd.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/Twinsatlast_zpse0f669cd.jpg.html)http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Twinsatlast_zpse0f669cd.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/Twinsatlast_zpse0f669cd.jpg.html)

...and the drives are on and all is aligned...

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/TwinBravos_zpse37bba6b.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/TwinBravos_zpse37bba6b.jpg.html)

http://i705.photobucket.com/albums/ww52/sprink49/Bravoduo_zps2da94785.jpg (http://s705.photobucket.com/user/sprink49/media/Bravoduo_zps2da94785.jpg.html)

note that I am currently spinning both drives CW due to the old Morse Controller not allowing enough throw for CCW set up on the port drive...as soon as I figure out which controller I am using I will switch the port back to CCW.

So...how does it run? The hole shot with 800 plus horsepower and 900 ft. lbs in the water in a 5600# boat is stunning. The launch is from a slow idle...2/3rds gets it out of the hole...back off to 1/2 stick and let the bow fall over...then gradually open it up. once that bow drops the drives are trimmed out a bit and this old 'bird sails past 55-60 very quickly. Running 23" Mirage Plus 65...70...73, 74..@ about 5300 and I back down quickly to 65 @ 4500. These roller cam Vortecs spin up fast...strong torque...good power all the way up. Depending on drive setting 50 ~55 cruise is easy at 4000.

The flow of power is almost electric...like turning the volume knob on a radio...like right now!! No lag...no wait...it just goes. The handling is great...trims easily...good throttle response coming off swells...backing off as it leaves the water and instantly picking back up as you land. The steering is tight and precise...very predictable. The exhaust is thru prop so there isn't a lot of noise as there would be with thru hull....underway you hear mostly wind until you bring it all in ...then the Vortecs sound like a pair of Skill Saws cutting thru a sheet of 1/2" plywood.

Pulling up to the ramp with a conspicuous pair of Bravo I's hanging off the transom of a 34 year old boat draws those that recognize what it is in closer and then the questions start...

WTF is going on here? How did you fit them up? What's the power? Any issues with the cooling...how did you set up the pumps?...and so on.

So now I am working on getting it all back together...adding the VHF, GPS and Sound System. I have a pair of McLeod Bolsters going in and I want to put a neutral shade UltraLeather in the Cockpit and Cabin.

Without the trailer I have about $25K in it and that was my budget. So far it's turned out to be a very nice balanced and relatively quick Sports boat...stay tuned...more to come. :cool:

Ghost
06-30-2013, 04:00 PM
Very nice! Sounds like she's really running. I love it! -Mike

biggiefl
07-01-2013, 04:02 PM
I think that actually has more sideboard than my Baja 240. Close in resemblance and look like a 30' boat with 5' aft being cut off. Do the intakes have brass sleeves for salt water?

sprink58
07-02-2013, 12:52 AM
I think that actually has more sideboard than my Baja 240. Close in resemblance and look like a 30' boat with 5' aft being cut off. Do the intakes have brass sleeves for salt water?

Yep...brass lined intakes.

I measured the freeboard from the rub rail to the chine at the rear corner...43"...I really appreciate it in the Atlantic when things get nasty.