PDA

View Full Version : New "Antique Toy" Boat Project.



silverghost
04-30-2011, 07:43 PM
On friday I just bought myself a new "Antique " mahogany speedboat.

It is a 1929 Chris~Craft Mahogany 28' Tripple cockpit runabout .
The boat is mostly all original & unrestored.

I bought it from a friend who has owned it for about seven years.
The reason I bought it was because he and an older so-called wood boat "Restorer" was butchering it's old bottom.
They were cutting strips of plywood and using Stainless Steel Deck Screws to fasten it on the old outer sanded bottom with 3M 5200 trough both old double planked bottoms into it's oak frames.
They were actually screwing this mahogany faced 3/8" plywood through both old bottoms on this double planked boat..
They should be shot for doing this to such a rare boat.
About sixteen of these boats were originally built.
The boat in 1929 had a Chris~Craft designed & built A-120 V8 . That original engine is long gone.
Sometime in the 1930s an A-120-A Racing engine was installed in this big impressive boat.
The A-120-A is 845 Cubic inches with 375 Horsepower at roughly 2800RPM max .
What a beast.
That is the engine I bought with this rare boat.
The Museum where all the old Chris~Craft factory records are stored has only six hull index cards still existing on these sixteen originally built boats of his type.
In my short research only two A-120-A engines are known to still be in running condition.
My engine seems to outwardly be in good shape.
The marine exhaust maniolds and elbows
are most likely shot; so I will need to have some new copper custom manifolds and naval bronze elbows hand fabricated,or .cast.
The engine has twin ignition, and multiple carbs.
I am already on a waiting list of a noted wood boat restorer to have a new proper double planked mahogany strip plank bottom put on this project.
I am trying to decide if I should have West System Epoxy applied to it's new bottom ?
Does anyone here have any experience with a Double Planked bottom with 3M 5200 to bed the outer mahogany strip planking ?
What about West System Epoxy to seal the outer bottom?
The boat's frames appear to be in good shape ?
The boat is very solid indeed.
We shall see when it is flipped-over and the old bottoms are actually finally removed ?
The boat has an up-swept front deck,
& a very large raised twin-hatch area in it's mid section.
The interior, or what's left of it, was all dyed leather.
The mice have had a real field day living in this boat over the years.
The boat was last used in 1950 and has been sitting in a Md boathouse ever since on it's original cradle bolted to a home-built trailer with wire 21 " Buffalo Wire Wheel Company of America wheels.
These wheels are similar to the wheels on my old 1926 Springfield Rolls~Royce Silver Ghost and my Springfield Phantom I autos.

The boat has two fold-up windshields on it's middle and aft cockpits just like a duel-cowl phaeton auto of this era.
One very large windshield is also up foreward at the driver's cockpit.
This project cost me $65K.
It will be moved to my home shop in Pa in a month or so.
I just spoke with Scott Pearson about this project a few weeks ago never knowing that I would soon be it's new ower.
I told Scott at that time that they were butchering this very rare boat.
We were both outraged to say the very least.
It just tore my heart out~~~
I had to do the right thing and save this boat & restore it properly.
It's another black-hole for tons of cash .
BUT~~~
It will be worth every penny and all the time spent on it's restoration.

Ghost
04-30-2011, 09:03 PM
Wow, congrats!!!


Pictures? :)

silverghost
04-30-2011, 09:18 PM
Wow, congrats!!!


Pictures? :)

I will post photos when I pull her from that dark Md barn where the "restorer" works & finally bring her home to Pa.

In the meantime~~~
Search Chris~Craft A120-A
& 1929 Chris~Craft Tripple Cockpit Barrelback Runabout on the web for more info and photos of the other known existing engines & boats.

gcarter
04-30-2011, 09:33 PM
In the book "The C-C story", there's 5 or 6 pictures of these engines being assembled.
If I remember, it has a uncounterbalanced 180* crankshaft, seperate crank case, blocks and heads.
I would appreciate any photos you post of the engine.
Well done!
If I were any less busy, I might even be a little envious.

silverghost
04-30-2011, 09:46 PM
In the book "The C-C story", there's 5 or 6 pictures of these engines being assembled.
If I remember, it has a uncounterbalanced 180* crankshaft, seperate crank case, blocks and heads.
I would appreciate any photos you post of the engine.
Well done!
If I were any less busy, I might even be a little envious.

George:
With the great high-Quality of your restoration work I could always fly you up here to Pa and put you up for a few months so you can help with the restoration.
How much would you charge per/hour for your expert services ?

Let me know if you should ever run out of work on your own restoration projects at home down there ?

At least with this project when finished it should be worth $200K +/-

It's a shame my Father is no loger here to see this project.
He would have LOVED it !

He liked the Brass-Era & Classic Era autos & boats more than I .

MOP
05-01-2011, 09:25 AM
Brad a friend of mine who has been in the wood resto biz for many years specializes mostly in Chris Crafts, I can put you in touch if you like.

Phil

gcarter
05-01-2011, 10:00 AM
In the book "The C-C story", there's 5 or 6 pictures of these engines being assembled.
If I remember, it has a uncounterbalanced 180* crankshaft, seperate crank case, blocks and heads.
I would appreciate any photos you post of the engine.
Well done!
If I were any less busy, I might even be a little envious.

I got curious about this engine and took another look at the book, (the Legend of C-C), it did indeed have a counterbalanced 90* crankshaft.....I must have been thinking about a different engine.
The engine had a "base" crankcase, many studs that looked to be about 15"-18" long, seperate blocks, and, of course, seperate flat heads.
In the picture, it seems that the rotating assembly was assembled in the crankcase w/pistons and rods going every which way, the blocks dropped on the studs and simultaneously the piston/rings inserted int the cylinders.

silverghost
05-01-2011, 01:01 PM
Supposedly this A-120-A engine weighs over 1500 lbs.
5" Dia pistons .
approx 5 3/4" stoke.
375 Horsepower @ 2800 RPM. 845 Cubic Inches .
Federal Mogul Bronze Heads.
I would love to see the engine's torque figures.
I have no idea as to the marine gear transmission's drive ratio ?
I believe it is geared-up ?

This A-120-A supposedly pushed this old 28 foot classic to the low 50 MPH range.

The fuel tank in this boat is made of Monel as is it's propeller shaft.

gcarter
05-01-2011, 06:37 PM
Here's a nice picture of an A-120...

http://www.donzi.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=63494&stc=1&d=1304289237

silverghost
05-01-2011, 09:27 PM
Thank's George:

Great photo of an A-120.

It's hard to tell the actual size scale of this beast from the photo. To help you get a better idea of the scale of this massive engine~~~
Picture TWO Big Block Chevys back-to-back and then add a massive marine mechanical gearbox.
This is a flywheel foreward style engine.

There was first the Chris~Craft A-70

Followed Later the A-120 pictured above.

Finally the A-120-A which had a longer stroke, Federal Mogul Naval Bronze High-compression
cylinder heads.
A race cam.
Larger Valves
Dual Ignition
Dual much larger carburetors
Bigger Twin-gear-style waterpump.

axelkloehn
05-02-2011, 03:32 AM
congrats on your purchase, Brad. Love the old ChrisCrafts!

mrfixxall
05-02-2011, 12:50 PM
Thank's George:

Great photo of an A-120.

It's hard to tell the actual size scale of this beast from the photo. To help you get a better idea of the scale of this massive engine~~~
Picture TWO Big Block Chevys back-to-back and then add a massive marine mechanical gearbox.
This is a flywheel foreward style engine.

There was first the Chris~Craft A-70

Followed Later the A-120 pictured above.

Finally the A-120-A which had a longer stroke, Federal Mogul Naval Bronze High-compression
cylinder heads.
A race cam.
Dual ignition
Dual much larger carburetors
Bigger Twin-gear-style waterpump.


another pic from the 20's

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=1119887&d=1287245032

silverghost
05-02-2011, 02:27 PM
Fixx Great Photo.
Thank's for posting it here.
This gives everyone a better idea of the actual scale of these engines.
Note the large diameter of the pistons .

I love the rotating engine building stand .

I am told by several owner's of these engines that these engines are real torque monsters.
One owner of the standard A-120 describes the torque as "Steam-Like".
The A-120-A that I actually own is much more powerful than the basic Chris~Craft A-120 or older A-70

I am still researcing & learning information about this engine , and the boat itself.
I am by no means an expert on either.

This will be a fun & expensive project indeed.

Craig S
05-03-2011, 12:15 PM
There was a triple at Keels and Wheels this weekend. "Muse". I think its a similar model as yours. Awesome look. Congrats, especially with the A120!!!

cutwater
05-03-2011, 01:14 PM
Very, very nice, Brad. Pics!

gcarter
05-03-2011, 01:43 PM
That's the picture I was reffering to earlier.
If you look carefully, you can see it is a 90* counterbalanced crankshaft.

If y ou look carefully in the left foreground of Fixx's opicture, you can see a fixture w/another crank w/rods attached.
I bet that assembly weighs 300-400#. Heck, you wouldn't really need a flywheel!

MDonziM
05-03-2011, 07:22 PM
another pic from the 20's

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=1119887&d=1287245032

Thats Awesome! The head bolts are 10" long. Lets see some pics of the boat.

- Marshall

silverghost
05-03-2011, 07:59 PM
My A-120-A does indeed have a flywheel~~~but it is not as big & heavy a mass as one might think.
I would guess that it is mostly there for it's starter ring gear.
The crankshaft itself has massive weights which I believe are actually bolted-on.

I am no expert on this engine~~~
But I have been told that in this time period there was really no off-the-shelf engine available that Chris~Craft could buy & then marine that would have enough horsepower & torque in the late 20s to mid 30s
that would push thse big heavy boats at speeds into the lower 50s.
You have to remember that these big High-End boats & engines were built with a money-is no object-mindset.
They were mostly sold to the top millonaires in the day. ( they would be billionaires in today's money)
These engines were sometimes used in large cruisers & yachts.
The only other engines in this horsepower & torque class were the powerful Aviation engines from the post WW I era. Liberty, Hispano~Suiza Rolls~Royce, Duesenberg, Curtis, Wright, etc.
The speed of the propeller shaft is actually propped-UP to a much higher speed.
You have to remember also that high octane fuel was not yet developed or at least readily available.
Compression ratios were mostly in the 4 or 5.5 to 1 range for typical auto & truck engines of that day.
Like one A-120 owner told me~~~
These engines are very steam-like in their torque & power output.

72Hornet
05-09-2011, 07:07 PM
Brad,
I have quite a bit of knowledge on your model of boat and on Muse. Muse is a 26 footer and resides here in Iowa. My mechanic and close friend did some work on Muse before it left for the Keel and Wheels show in Texas a few weeks back. My close friend has a 1929 28' CC Triple Upswept Deck with modern power, (454) but he also has an A 120 in pieces that he is slowly working to get back in restored running condition. We take the 28' on the Annual St. Johs River cruise in March and then over to Mount Dora to show following the cruise. I have many pictures of this boat as I have spent alot of time riding and working on it. (Moral support mostly!) We both have man caves where we spend our free time working on each other's boat projects. I am president of our Local ACBS chapter here in Lake Okoboji, Iowa and help put on our annual wooden boat show on Lake Okoboji in late July. The third muskateer in our group is a person who helps us with our wood boats and my Donzi. He is a walking encyclopedia on wood boats, and is the caretaker and restorer of the wooden boat fleet on Lake Okoboji. He would be an excellent contact to help you on your restoration from a historically accurate hull and engine perspective. Who would ever believe that we have quite a few antique boats that are not only rare, but world class out here in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa! Feel free to contact me as I would be happy to help you with anything that I can.
Awesome project!

jl1962
05-10-2011, 09:18 AM
I am president of our Local ACBS chapter here in Lake Okoboji, Iowa and help put on our annual wooden boat show on Lake Okoboji in late July.

ACBS rocks!
:yes:

silverghost
05-10-2011, 09:13 PM
72 Hornet:
Thank's~~~
I would love to talk to you about "Muse" , your friends big tripple cockpit Chris~Craft.
Can you share any photos of the boat, or the A-120 engine ?

Most of the great east coast & Southern New Jersey mahogany salt-water runabouts are now long gone.
Saltwater takes it's toll on boats & engines.
When Fiberglass hulls appeared most of the great old mahogany classics just sat in boatyards and slowly rotted away.
The yard's burn-pile was their ultimate final fate.
Most of the great new mahogany boat finds today come out of freshwater lake areas like you have in your state.

mphatc
05-10-2011, 09:58 PM
Brad,

I have several customers that are also boat owners of classic wooden boats, and I grew up on Winni and know most of the historic boats that were on this lake that still might exist. You have a cool boat, with an even cooler powerplant!

One of my ex employees and a good friend owns two old CC boats, a 26' triple upswept and a 39 racing runabout . . . he teases me to no end about my plastic boats . . .

One has a West Epoxy bottom on new oak frames, but this is a double laminated plywood bottom and the boat is powered by a very healthy 327. Obviously this is the 39 19' Race Boat. In it's stronger days a 65-70 mph woody.

The triple has just had the bottom redone, double planked. I have another customer who is having his also done . . there are several world class boat restoration shops around here, one of the owners actually used to own a Donzi Corsican as well.

I would be happy to connect you with the any of these shops.

Mario L.

72Hornet
05-10-2011, 11:52 PM
Brad,
I will take some pictures this weekend if the weather cooperates. We are in finicky weather patterns and Muse is not in the lake as of yet. My mechanic close friend, AKA 3rd Muskateer is rebuilding the top end of an A120 as I type. I will take pictures for you this weekend. They did the initial build on this engine back in 1984. If you need new valves for yours, please let me know, I can most likely help as he had 2 extra sets made for this. The 1929 28' upswept is absolutely stunning, as is "Muse". The 1929 28' has an A 120 that is currently under restoration and will be a nice addition to the boat when complete. For now, it is enjoying the 454.