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silverghost
03-16-2011, 07:05 PM
When was your very first Donzi sighting ?
The very first time you ever saw, and probably fell in love with that first Donzi 16 or 18 that are now called the Donzi "Classics " ?

My very first Donzi sighting was in the late 1960s when not one~~~but TWO small Donzis suddenly appeared on the 17/18th street Venetian lagoon in Ocean City NJ .
The first that appeared was a red Donzi 16 ski-sporter across the lagoon from my grandmother's small lagoon waterfront summer home.
Just weeks later another new smaller Baby 14 arrived in the very same lagoon ~~~this one at a house facing Bay Avenue !

I was in jr High school at the time and was very impressed with these new "speedboats" that my uncle claimed were an Itallian import !
The low lines of this sleek 16 with it's twin loud exhausts captured my attention very quickly !

I remember one day when the owner was not around I put on my Mike Nelson AMF Voit Sea Hunt swim fins and swam across our lagoon to have a closer look at this sexy "Itallian speedboat" with the racing flags on her side. I could not resist climbing up the ladder to get a closer look from the dock~~~
One day I got up enough nerve, on another visit to actually clmb on th aft deck to turn the Donzi hatch lock-knob and have a look at the Hollman~Moody 289 V8 race boat engine.

The boat's owner was the chairman of the Philadelphia Electric Corp. the big electric utility here in Philly. His name was Conover. He also had a big twin screw plywood Chris~Craft sea skff called the Revonoc , which was his name spelled backwards !

One day he saw me looking at his Donzi from our dock as he was pulling out of his slip from across the lagoon.
He asked me If I would like a speedboat ride ?~~~
I quickly replied YES SIR !
He told me to ask my grandmother first for permssion. She was also sitting on her back deck.

I will never forget that first ride~~~He switched places with me in the bay and actually let me drive the boat for a half hour at a moderate speed.
We then switched places and then he gave me a fast thrill speedboat ride of a lifetime !
From then on I was hooked and knew one day I just had to own a Donzi speedboat !
Mr Conover told me the true history and uilder of Donzi in Miami Florida ..
It was in fact American made and the dealer where he bought this boat was Longport Marine.
Lonport Marine had been the South Jersey Chris~Craft dealer for decades.
It was owned by a member of the Lovett family of the first automatic bilge pump fame !
I used to poke around this yard as a kid looking at all the great old mahogany Chris~Crafts in storage there !
There were two Chris~Craft Cobras there~~~an 18 & the larger 22 which had the rare optional Cal Connell Crusaider Cadillac V8 race engine in it !
I loved those big gold finned boats !
We could have bought the old straight flathead six Cobra 18 for $700. or the Cobra 22 for $1200 I believe at this time used as most folks were making the transition to all fiberglass boats !

After my first Donzi ride I soon dragged my Dad over to the Longport Marine Chris~Craft & Donzi new boat showroom !

Dad would not buy a Donzi~~~He bought a 22 foot Mahogany plywood Lyman skiff runabout instead with a graymarine V8C238HP flywhel foreward 327 !

The other red Donzi in our lagoon , which really did not interest me very much, was a 4 cylinder Baby 14 which I thought was just a "Kid's Toy Boat " !
That Baby 14 is still sitting in that first owner's lagoon front garage~~~
It has not been used in decades !

Finally in the early 1970s my uncle who had taken over ownership of the family summer vacation house, decided he was in the market for a "Fast Speedboat " for the entre famly's use !
A half dozen of us attended the then giant Philadelphia Boat Show at the Phila. Civic Center.(now long since demolished )

In Longport Marine's boat show booth was a green Donzi X-18 which my uncle bought right off the boat show floor.
There were guys there from the Donzi plant, as well as Longport Marine, the Donzi dealer showing this boat off !
This boat had the Berkeley/Olds 455 water-Jet pack drive !
It was claimed to be safe for kids & swimmers because it had no exposed prop !

What a BLAST that X-18 Donzi was !
We drove that X-18 for five seasons until my uncle suddenly sold it without telling any other family members !

We were all cushed !
I STILL am !

I am still searchng for another Donzi -18 Jet today for myself~~~to re-capture the fun & thrill of my youth !

What, & When, was YOUR very first Donzi sighting ?

When were YOU first hooked on the Donzi 16 & 18 "Classics" ?

How long before you were able to actually live your Donzi Dream ?

Carl C
03-16-2011, 08:08 PM
I've lived in the same home very near Lake Oakland since 1984. I bought my first boat in '85 and was immediately hooked. There have always been a lot of Donzis on this lake and I was intrigued by them but didn't know what they were. I'm like "what the hell kind of boats are those?". Got close enough to see "Donzi" on them. I always loved watching them run around the lake together. After going through several boats and going up in size and speed each time I finally popped for a brand new 22 Classic in 2005. Then I did considerable mods to it but there is still a teal 22 on Lake Oakland that is faster but only on the juice. That means that I'd take him on a run across the Big waters of the Great Lakes which is where the fun really is!

LuauLounge
03-16-2011, 10:23 PM
As I live on the Left Coast, Lake Tahoe was where I saw my first Donzi...
First time was in the 70's, but in the late 80's as we would go up and rent a place on the water for a week. They were more plentiful by then, maybe 2 on the lake. Went through the bigger boats, last was 47' before we decided to get a place on the river and get a smaller boat.
Ran an ad on CL, WTB boat and got a response for a 22ZX with a 496HO. I would have rather had a 22 Classic, but it was way too clean and way too good of a deal to pass up.
Riva's and Donzi's on Lake Tahoe seem to get all the attention.
Other than the Thunderbird.......

3rdDonzi
03-16-2011, 10:44 PM
When I was 10 years old I was on the gas dock at Holiday Marina on Lake Lanier (http://www.donzi.net/forums/#) in Georgia and a man pulled up trailering a brand new,'66 Donzi, white with green striping and interior. I can remember like it was yesterday walking up and looking at the boat on the trailer, the new smell of the resin and the mistique of the lines of the boat. It was the most beautiful thing my young eyes had seen.
After he launched the boat, seeing the way it set in the water and hearing it start, I caught the fever and that very day declared that one day I would have one myself.
Moved to South Florida at age 14 and Donzi's where everywhere. The fever only grew.
On my third Donzi now (X-18, Z-21 and '18C) and have not been without one for my entire adult life.
What special boats!
3D

BobinCovington
03-16-2011, 11:37 PM
I was 4 maybe 5 years old when I first had my Donzi experience. My family lived in Laguna Beach Ca in the early 60s (before it was so trendy and expensive). I had no idea what a boat even was, all I knew was my tricycle and a little old plywood skateboard with steel rollerskate wheels. My dad pulled up the street one day pulling a green boat (16' Ski Sporter Green with a white strip). I didn't know much, but I remember thinking it was neat.

Then one day, (I'm sure he had my mom's permission :confused:) so he put me in the car and we went down to Newport and headed out 30 miles offshore to Catalina in that little Donzi (just a little kid and a cool dad). We went out to Avalon and near catalina we stopped and turned off the motor to fish close to shore. I remember hearing some "coughing" and we both turned to see a grey whale right next to the Donzi. My dad tells me, I asked...Dad what do whales do..?

We went on to spend the night in Avalon and we watched a UCLA basketball game with some guy named Lew Alcindor on a little tv in our little hotel room . I still have a lot of memories of the handful of trips out to Catalina with him.

On one trip, we were lost in the fog on the way back to newport and finally found the jetty and at the first big house with a dock we stopped to ask directions...John Wayne answered the door. (of course, I was sleeping in the little ski storage area in the front of the boat.)
It always ended up with my dad putting that plunger thing under the boat and flushing the motor (I thought that part was so cool!)

Years later we moved to Oregon, used the boat for ski trips to Shasta and northwest lakes. That little boat survived us learning how to waterski, many family vacations, a forest fire, wheels coming off the trailer while on the highway, and years of our family using it a few times to ski each year and a lot of years of being stored in the upstairs loft over a hardware store in town (Dad knew the owners and it was nice and warm and dry).

Then my brother bought it from my Dad. He enjoyed it for many years, kept it in great shape and finally last year when he was ready to sell, I bought it from him. My wife tells me I was always braggin about this "Donzi" and she wondered if it was real. When I finally bought in brought it home, she loved it.

So here I am, a lot of year later (I'll be 49 this weekend) and I am remembering all the stories in my life that that Donzi was part of and thinking about the things to work on so we can take the family Donzi out to the lake this summer. My dad's eyes light up when we talk about what I am doing to it and he tells me stories of the work he did on it 40 years ago.

It is still the coolest boat and I still love it. So guess my "first" Donzi experience turned into my "lifetime" Donzi experience.

Jraysray
03-17-2011, 12:03 AM
I bought the first one I saw. Wanted a boat, never had one of my own. I don't like the everyday stuff really. Saw this 18C and bought it. It called out to me. Learned about Donzi later via D.net.

silverghost
03-17-2011, 12:23 AM
Wow Bob !

John Wayne !

Did you ever see his private yacht the "Wild Goose" ? It was a converted WW II Wooden Mine-Sweeper similar to Jaques Costeau's famous"Calypso" .
Wayne bought this boat as Navy surplus~~~
He then spent big money re-outfitting her into a grand private yacht.

His private captain wrote a book about John Wayne and "the Wild Goose" some years back~~~~
For more info do a web search !

John Wayne was said to have loved this old minesweeper.
He spent his final days aboard his "Wild Goose" while suffering from terminal cancer.

The old convered yacht still exists today~~~
Some claim John Wayne's ghost is still aboard ! (If you believe in ghosts ?)

Great Donzi story Bob !

Conquistador_del_mar
03-17-2011, 12:35 AM
My grandparents had a lake house at Grand Lake (Lake O' Cherokees) in northest Oklahoma since about 1958. On one of my summer visits in about 1967, the Adams (Boots Adams from Phillips Petroleum) had a dock in the same harbor about 3 houses away from my grandparents where he had 3 Donzis - one for each kid. His daughter and son would occasionally take me out for rides and skiing. I was hooked.
My first Donzi was the one I have now - a 1971 red 18' 2+3 with the LT1 350/350HP engine package and engine cover scoop. I first saw it in 1973 when a man was selling it in Richardson Texas since he was buying a GT 21. I remember like it was yesterday when he raised his garage door to show it to me. I sort of got weak in the knees and drooled with anticipation of buying the most georgeous thing I had ever seen. I drove that boat until 1977 when I bought a 24' Excalibur. I remember how hard it was to sell the Donzi. A few years ago, it showed up in my local Craigslist and I bought and restored it. Here is the thread showing the restoration. Fond memories - :yes: Bill

http://www.donzi.net/forums/showthread.php?t=52903&highlight=1971+started

axelkloehn
03-17-2011, 03:44 AM
....every summer vacation in the 1970s my parents and me drove with our family boat from Hamburg/Germany through the canals to the sea close to the danish border in a big marina with about 15 long jetties. We always ended up at jetty 10-15, and at jetty 3 there always was this red speedboat with a white stripe and this spectacular engine sound. The owner did not show up very often, usually every 4 or 5 days and he wasn't driving very often, but I have always been waiting near this jetty hoping he will show up and ask me if I want to have a ride with him. This has never happened. I ended up sitting on the dike watching this guy with his red speedboat racing with Sea Rays and Coronets and my dream started to have my own speedboat one day. Needless to say that the red boat had the white donzi logo on both sides, it was a 16" with a black V8. At that time I was also thinking Donzi is italian....:bonk:

Fishermanjm
03-17-2011, 09:21 AM
i was out at the block on my fathers 32 cruisers, we met a guy with a huge yatch with a what i think was a 22 classic on davitts on the stern of the boat, the guy took us for a ride finally, some 27 years later i was able to buy one and i still havent got it out yet, its uncovered and ready to go

BobinCovington
03-17-2011, 10:58 AM
It looks like the common theme is the sight of a Donzi stirred up some real emotion for all of us. Great stories

72Hornet
03-17-2011, 11:08 AM
I grew up on a small lake in north central Iowa. We summered there while my father commuted on weekends. Our neighbors had a 1960 Century Ski Dart in their boat house (I own the Ski Dart Now, but htat is another story). Our neighbors also had a beautuiful daughter who had alot of friends on the lake. One of those friends showed up with a 1968 Donzi yellow 18' classic with a 289 Holman Moody. Black Stripe, black interior and a windshield. That would have been 1970-1971. Their father owned a trucking company and found the boat in Wisconsin on the side of the road and bought it off a cranberry farmer. They loaded it on his flat bed semi trailer and hauled it back to Iowa. Wow, they ran that boat in all kinds of water and we thought it was so cool. I never got a ride in that boat, but we drooled as it came up to the docks on weekends. My parents aptly named it that "Damned Donzi" as they would roar up the lake at 2AM in the morning. Before my father passed in 2006, we met the owner in about 1995 at a marina. I had inquired about the boat and he had traded in the late 70's for a Sidewinder Jet. Bummer! He said that the state of Colorado had contacted him when they found the trailer abandoned on the road out in Colorado as it had never been re-licensed. I wonder where that boat ended up
My parents loved that boat and were thrilled when I found my Hornet in 2000. Took me 30 years to get my own Donzi!

Just Say N20
03-17-2011, 11:28 AM
I have been a boat nut my entire life. When my dad retired, and they moved out of the house we grew up in, they gave me my baby book. Turns out my first 3 words were; Mom, Dad & boat.

I saw my first Donzi in the late 60s while on vacation in Canada. My parents had rented a cottage on some water (I don't remember where), and I remember hearing this huge roar coming up the river, and I ran to the shore to see what was making such an awesome sound.

The most beautiful boat I had ever seen went roaring past just as my dad got to the waterfront. I asked him what it was. I had just seen my first Donzi around the age of about 12. I don't know if it was a 16 or an 18, but I was hooked.

I bought my first Donzi (X-18) when I was 27, my second Donzi (C18) when I was 37, and my current 16 at the young age of 53.

There is a mystique and aura surrounding the Donzi classics like nothing I have ever seen. :yes:

Ghost
03-17-2011, 11:54 AM
Dark blue one, on a trailer a couple miles outside Annapolis, early 70s.

Eplebnista
03-17-2011, 12:55 PM
I trace my Donzi lust back to an evening in March 1968 when I was on vacation with my parents in Fort Lauderdale. We had gone out to dinner at a place adjacent to so a marina or some docks and went for a walk after dinner. There was a yellow and black 18 tied up and it was the best looking boat my eleven year old eyes had ever seen. After that I would go out of my way to look for Donzis wherever and whenever I could. When my mom and I prodded my dad to upgrade out of the family Starcraft a couple years later he wouldn't go with a Donzi but we did get a Formula - which was a hell of a boat in its own right.

Gonna get that 18 one of these days...

joseph m. hahnl
03-17-2011, 04:30 PM
Year: 1973 place: Sampson's Island Cotuit Bay

http://www.satelliteviews.net/cgi-bin/g.cgi?fid=604259&state=MA&ftype=park

Some of the boats coming around Sampson's island into cotuit bay


http://www.donzi.net/photos/osaffell507.jpg


http://www.teamspeed.com/forums/attachments/performance-boats/11884d1218123144-donzi-hornet-3-donzi_from_front.jpg

Boatnuts
03-18-2011, 04:11 PM
Summer of '65 a nice new 16 footer arrived in Honey Harbour, Ontario. I drooled over it for years. 9 years later I bought it after the owner died.

Greg Guimond
03-18-2011, 09:01 PM
Summer of 1980. For two years prior I had been thinking of what I might change out my first boat for. I had a Glastron GT160 and then I caught the bug and started looking. Saw a 1976 Donzi 16 OB Baby with a 235 Evinrude for sale in what way back then was called the Bargain News. Between selling the GT160 and working all summer I had enough and my Uncle helped me out by coming with me to check it out in a place I had never even heard of, Sheepshead Bay. $5,500 cash (will never forget that #) and it was behind the car being towed home. That was every dime I could scrape together back then as a kid and I firmly believe that there might have been some "cement money" involved with the family I bought it from! Used to wax that thing and run it like a stretched rattler all over LI Sound during my college years while Black Duck and Jesse James were setting the pace with the big bank. One day re-did the wacker cowl and had Johnny Kurtzman letter it up .........Surface Tension :wink:

tjags
03-19-2011, 12:35 PM
Late 80's on Mousam Lake, Maine. I was about 10, and every once in a while a tiny speed boat would fly by. The only thing I remembered was the DONZI logo when I later asked my Dad what those things were all about. All he said was "Those are really cool boats." I've been hooked ever since.

somerville99
03-19-2011, 02:09 PM
them docked behind the Donzi dealer on Broadway and Rt. 35 North in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ in the late 1980s. Sometimes I would be driving on the bridge over the canal and see one heading out to the bay. Of course the red/white ones stick in my mind.

FISHIN SUCKS
03-22-2011, 06:33 AM
1978, Crooked River, Alanson, Michigan, robin egg blue 18' classic that had a Blackwidow emblem/decal on the side (don't know what that meant), but will never forget the way that baby sat in the water. My dad was a boat builder and I remember asking what that was, he responded 'that is one of the coolest best built boats on the water!' While I have never owned a Classic, that day is coming. The Z boats we've had/have have been fitting the family bill for now.

Conquistador_del_mar
03-22-2011, 11:42 AM
1978, Crooked River, Alanson, Michigan, robin egg blue 18' classic that had a Blackwidow emblem/decal on the side (don't know what that meant), but will never forget the way that baby sat in the water.

I believe Black Widow was an engine builder at one time. Bill

FISHIN SUCKS
03-22-2011, 12:17 PM
I believe Black Widow was an engine builder at one time. Bill
Please pardon the thread hi-jack:nilly:, but can I get a confirmation on this? I have wanted to know what that meant ever since my age of 10 in '78 (43 now). Maybe i need to start a thread for some history on that.

*******Hi Jack OVER******back to the thread*******:bighug:

rjparksjr
03-22-2011, 08:51 PM
Wow Bob !

John Wayne !

Did you ever see his private yacht the "Wild Goose" ? It was a converted WW II Wooden Mine-Sweeper similar to Jaques Costeau's famous"Calypso" .
Wayne bought this boat as Navy surplus~~~
He then spent big money re-outfitting her into a grand privae yacht.

His private captain wrote a book about John Wayne and "the Wild Goose" some years back~~~~
For more info do a web search !

John Wayne was said to have loved this old minesweeper.
He spent his final days aboard his "Wild Goose" while suffring from terminal cancer.

The old convered yacht still exists today~~~
Some claim John Wayne's ghost is still aboard ! (If you believe in ghosts ?)

Great Donzi story Bob !

Just a side note one of John Wayne's boats is currently for sale in Seattle check it out: http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/boa/2279593376.html

Kindest Regards- rjparksjr

JimG
03-22-2011, 10:14 PM
It was 1973, Offatt's Bayou in Galveston, I was holding dad's Checkmate tunnel boat for the start of the Galveston Classic... A yellow 18 came rumbling out of the pits, and I was HOOKED!

Planetwarmer
03-23-2011, 01:01 AM
Just a side note one of John Wayne's boats is currently for sale in Seattle check it out: http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/boa/2279593376.html

Kindest Regards- rjparksjr

Here is a post of pics. What a COOL piece of history. Im going to post it in the "other boats for sale".

http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listing/photo_gallery.jsp?slim=broker&lang=en&ywo=gigharbor&hosturl=gigharbor&units=Feet&id=2057273&back=/core/listing/pl_boat_detail.jsp&boat_id=2057273

silverghost
03-23-2011, 01:46 AM
If you think this old yacht is great~~~

Do a google web search
for ~~~
"John Wayne Wild Goose Yacht"
It is far more impressive & grand than this yacht !

The Wild Goose is still very much alive today !