View Full Version : Formula Jr. Found

11-22-2011, 02:52 PM
In my travels, I found a Formula Jr. for sale. I know it needs a lot of work, so I thought I'd consult the experts on the potential of this restoration. It looks like it was painted and the hull paint is cracking, the interior is shot, and there is exposed plywood in places. It does not look well cared for and the last time it was registered was 1994, but I'm dreaming of its potential. What kind of money is something like this worth as-is? -not running, and in need of a total resto.


11-23-2011, 02:00 AM
price, location??

11-23-2011, 02:57 AM
These are great little speedboats.
Very historic boats & the forerunner of the Donzi 16 ..
This must be the forth Formula Jr. that has popped-up on this site in the last nine months or so.

The early fiberglass boat collectors really love these boats.
A real future collectable.

Right now they don't seem to bring very much money $$$ in unrestored condition.

What engine is in this boat ?

Some had inline sixes.
Others had small block Ford V8 s.

Does the engine run ?

Sweet Cheekz
11-23-2011, 09:04 AM
Big money and a lot of time to bring it back. Dont buy it for an investment. Buy it only if you have the time and money and you want something special when you are done.


Just Say N20
11-23-2011, 09:49 AM
Big money and a lot of time to bring it back. Dont buy it for an investment. Buy it only if you have the time and money and you want something special when you are done.


For the restoration, figure an honest $10,000 at least if you do a lot of the work. This assumes a new interior, stringer replacement, a good complete repaint, some engine and outdrive repair, and some hardware replacement.

If you are considering buying it to restore and sell, it is very unlikely you will make money on it, even if you got it for free. Like Parnell said, the only reason to buy something like this is if you really want one, and are willing/able to restore it.

11-23-2011, 10:37 AM
very well said Parnell and Bill,

this boat seems to have had some updating over it lifetime the drive is a 280 which is newer than production span of the Jr. most likely it was an eaton badged volvo aq200 or a aq 200 updated to the new drive leg.It is a neat piece of history but it must be something that is worth it to you, if you want it to be worth something to someone else that is a slippery slope...

11-23-2011, 12:12 PM
Have you guys seen what I have done with the last couple boats I bought? It can be fixed and not for 10 grand if you know what you are doing.

Just Say N20
11-23-2011, 12:44 PM
screen, I'm just speaking from experience. My 16 ran and was usable when I bought it. I did a lot of the work myself, but I don't have the equipment or knowledge to do the paint or upholstery.

To get the boat to where I wanted it, I have over $20K in mine including the purchase price.

Parnell's boats make mine look like a bargin.

11-23-2011, 01:32 PM
Small world, that little boat is only a few miles from my house. I know the guy selling it. If anyone needs better pics or whatever, shoot me an email.


11-23-2011, 01:45 PM
Hard to tell from the pics but if it runs and you don't want to make it a museum piece, depends on price and your skills. Looks like it is all there and a free spinning reel to boot. I think I could make it a pretty sweet ride for about $6k + purchase.

This is going to be one of those boats that in 10-15 years you are gonna be saying...I could have bought one of those for $2000 back in 2011....what was I thinking walking away?

11-23-2011, 01:59 PM
The thing that I suspect would make, or break, this Formula Jr. deal is the current engine's condition.

Does it run ?
Is it rusted out?
Is it worn out ?
Does it need a rebuild & rebore ?

The engine could be a big black hole to pour a lot of cash into.

If you have to totally replace that engine it would mean Big Bucks $$$. depending on how much mechanical engine work you can do yourself.

It sure will become a future collectable boat in the distant future in my opinion~~~for what that's worth ?

So far~~~
Early fiberglass boats have not acheived the price increase in collector value as have the old wooden mahogany runabouts.

Only time will tell if the prices of these great little early Formula Jr. boats will increase in collector value.

So far~~
They really have not done so.

11-23-2011, 02:10 PM

Price and location please. To far away and I'm out anyway.

I want it with a locked up motor. Makes it cheaper. All i would want is that 280 and the hull. After that it would get what the Monza Project II would get.

11-23-2011, 02:22 PM
It's in Casco, Maine. The motor is an inline 6 Volvo with 2 carbs. The guy is asking 3500. This boat has been up here for years. Been shrink wrapped for probably 10 yrs or so. The previous owner had abandoned it at the marina it had been stored at.

11-23-2011, 02:45 PM
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My sister lives in So Portland, brother outside of Sanford, niece in Cape Elizabeth. We were at Bar Harbor for a week over the summer and was at my brother's just a few weeks ago..........damn .....I would go back to get it in a heartbeat but 3500 is way to much. I looked at a couple boats the last time I was up there and the money they wanted wasn't on the same planet as we are. I guess there is not a lot of non-work boats up there and the market is good for the cool ones. That Jr in the condition it's in would never get more then a grand around here. Damn. I would love to re-do it next.

11-24-2011, 09:23 PM
I spoke with the owner on Tuesday and I think he said the price was $2500. Magoo is right, the boat is in Casco, ME and you can call Naples Marina to get the boat owners phone. His name is Scott, and doesn't work at the marina.

Cool boat. Didn't open the engine hatch so not sur if an 8 or 6 in there. Too much of a project for my amateur abilities.

11-25-2011, 12:50 AM
If you are interested in the great little Formula Jr. use this website's search function above and search for Formula Jr.
There are quite a few threads & posts here about the Formula Jr. with lots of historical information.

This is really the little performance boat that started it all .

When first produced the very early boats typically had inline six cylinder engines with single & dual carbs.
As Matty already stated these were usually coupled to the early Eaton~Interceptor outdrives.
It was thought that the very ealy Eaton outdrives would not hold-up to the power & torque of a V-8.

Later production versions came equipped with Small Block Ford Interceptor, & later Holman~Moody V-8s along with the lower horsepower inline 6 cylinders.

It's interesting to note that in the last few years quite a few of these little boats have come up for sale .
I have seen at least seven advertised in the last few years alone.

Some of these boats now have had
Donzi hullside stickers improperly added for some strange reason.

Back in the day before Formula built the fiberglass versions you could send away for homebuilt plywood kit plans to build your own.
These were similar to the famous early plywood Win~Mill raceboat.
Only a small handfull of the plywood homebuilts seen to still survive today.
I know of one sitting in Souh Jersey that is sadly slowly rotting away.
It is now only a "Pattern Boat" that cannot be restored.

Keep looking and sooner , or later, you will find one to restore at a very fair price.

11-25-2011, 11:55 AM
if that is the original transom that boat never had eaton~interceptor drive on it.there are none of the tell tale signs in the pictures to indicant that. as I said it was an eaton badged volvo aq200 or an aq200 which will take any power a 6 or a healthy small block v8 can throw at it.

my feelings on worth/value

On projects i am not emotionally attached to I use the double the cost of admission rule and as with any project you need to add a few more dollars for the unseen issues. this is for a looks good at 25 feet not a pristine show boat or a extreme motor build project.

so if you use my rule on this boat and it costs 3500 and you invest another 3500 dollars to get it in turn key running condition can you enjoy the boat for a few years and re coupe most of your money?? can you have a 6cyl R&R'd for 2k and put 1500 into an interior?can you clean up the boat use it for 3-5 years and re sell it for 5-7k down the line. so what is the cost of ownership? 2k ?? try that with a new 60k chris craft or searay you would be lucky to get half for it in 5 years. so the cost of ownership is much less in the smaller older well kept classic go fasts. I mean you aren't taking other fixed expenses into this that come with boat ownership storage, fuel, normal maint, you spend that on any boat new or old. I did this with my 16 I purchased it for 8500 turn key put some money back into it a tank and some gauges over the years maybe 1500 bucks and sold it for 9500 7 years later. could I have done that with a sting ray , sea ray or another run of the mill i/o?

now when you have an emotional attachment to the project and you want it to be a show stopper or a speed demon or both the rule goes out the window and as i said it has to be worth it to you.
things that are hard to put a value on: your time and labor, the enjoyment you get from ownership the joy of running it ,the admiration at the docks,the satisfaction you get from knowing you saved and own a piece of history or owning something no one else has a one of a kind.

I have been around long enough to know the small glass go fast will NEVER be a shadow of what the muscle car or wooden boat markets are.It hasn't happened in the 10 plus years i have been here and i doubt it will happen in the next 10.
but the values and worth of the older go fast from thunderboat row has weathered the test of time and the weak economy better than the run of the mill boats. the fans of these boats are getting older and not being replaced in any great numbers so I don't know where the boom in the market will come from.

sorry for the long rant I guess
if it is worth it to you ,it is worth it to you best sums it up.

11-25-2011, 06:07 PM
Antique boats show venues around the country have just started to accept the very early fiberglass unusual stylish runabouts in the last few years.
I am now seeing the early tail-fin designs popping-up at these shows.

So far, as already stated, these early fiberglass boats have not seen any real upward spike in valves.
It really remains to be seen if future collector interest will start the prices moving upward.
Who really knows ?

I do remember a time in the 50s-60s-70s when the now high priced mahogany runabouts were almost worthless.
I can't tell you how man great wooden mahogany runabouts I saw go to the South Jersey boatyard burn piles in this time period.
Nobody wanted , or cared about them .
Thousands of now rare wooden boats were sadly destroyed.

Hoffman's Boatyard in South Jersey once had two Chris~Craft Cobras that you could have bought for only a few hundred dollars each.
I once saw a large & small Chris~Craft Cobra sitting side by side in a large storage shed building.
I remember wanting that larger Cobra with it's original Cal Connell Crusaider Cadillac V-8 race engine.
I had NO money as a kid to actually buy and save one however.

That larger Cobra could have been bought for way way under $1000 .
Those very boats restored today go for $150,000. +

In any collectable ~~~ Collectors want the car, or boat, that they could not afford when they were kids.
The boat that the rich kid's family had up the street.
The boat their Dad, Uncle, or Grandfather once had.

That boat that they would see zooming past their vacation home at a distance; with it's great lines & cool engine exhaust rumble.

A collectable car, or boat, is a way for a collector to recapture their youth.

These collectable cars & boats are now really Time Machines.

Will collectors start to buy-up the early fiberglass speedboats ?
I think so ~~~In time.

But really only time will tell if I am right , or wrong in my predictions ?

If you really want one now~~~
I would buy it & enjoy it if you can afford the boat & the involved & costly restoration.

11-25-2011, 09:11 PM
I think I agree with you guys.
My thing is I hate to see cool boats like this sit and rot away. There is so much cool stuff just laying around that no one cares about. People are to busy, don’t have the skill or just think they will have 10 times in it then it will ever be worth. I know I can save a boat like this one and still make it affordable for the next owner But it all starts with the asking price. If that‘s to high then the finish product will be to high.

11-25-2011, 11:52 PM
Far too many sellers have an unrealistic idea as to what these project boats are really worth.
They think they got a diamond in the rough.
I ran into the same issue with my current project the "benchseat 18"
I kept making repeated runs at trying to buy it all summer~~~
After Labor Day the boat owner, and the boatyard owner finally got realistic soon after most everyone else went home for the winter.

Why not make him an offer with an expiration date in writing .
Offer them what you think the project boat is worth to you.

If this Formula Jr. was in fact abandoned at the boatyard~~~
the boatyard owner may be trying to get back past due storage fees etc.

I understand what you are saying.
We have made offers on abandoned projects that were sitting uncovered rotting away boatyards for years.
Sometimes they will finally sell them to you~~~
Sometimes not~~~
And they just sit ; and continue to rot.
In at least one case the boatyard owner got disgusted and cut the boat up with a chainsaw.

In the case of our benchseat 18 project~~~
the boatyard owner had threatened the boat's owner all summer long that after Labor Day he wanted the boat out of his yard~~~or he would indeed cut it up.

I was finally able to make a deal & buy this project after Labor Day weekend at MY price~~~which I believe was a very fair one.

Make him an offer, with an expiration date, that he can't refuse.
You never know ?~~~

Good Luck !

11-26-2011, 01:49 AM
I think I’m already out of their price range.
Asking 2500 or 3500 for a boat that was given to them from a boatyard is unrealistic in this market. There is a reason it was given to them. I see a lot in the pictures alone and I‘m a worse case scenario guy. I look at it and think the motor has to go (that‘s not a rebuild it a replacement, a lot more money), needs a 280T or better transom shield for trim is a must (not going to pay half the cost of the T to fix that f_in POS tilt motor that broke in the picture), probably some wood replaced, electrics, dash, upholstery, interior, …(kind of looks like it was painted with a roller and I would not doubt that in Maine, very common).
Like I said before, down here that boat is not going for a 1/3 of that in the condition it’s in. Take me for a ride in it and it performs OK maybe ½ that. Add in my 650 mile ride back (not adding in the trip up there) and tolls it starts to turn into real money. Put all that together and sadly I don’t think they are going to like my offer.
I like to restore boats to the point where the new owner gets a great deal and I can make money so I can do it again. It then can be up to the new owner to keep it as a cool a$$ daily driver or make it a show boat. I think most folks today would rater buy the daily driver at a reasonable price and then do the little things if they want like re-chroming a bow cleat or something like that later when they can instead of plopping down premium money for a perfect something they are going to use 15 times a year.
There is a couple reasons folks lose money on projects like this one.
1, to much up front costs (they fall in love with the boat and idea of fixing it)
2, condition of boat is beyond repair (if it cost more to fix then it will be ever worth you better want to keep it)
3, restoring it better then it was built from the factory
If it’s your boat and you plan on keeping it that’s one thing. Bling every little thing on it you can. I’ve got more in my SuperNova 19 then ten of them are worth and that money pit will be sucking me dry until I die and I‘m cool with that. The Monza I’m doing now has a budget. If I go over that budget the next boat may not happen. Please understand I’m not saying I do it cheap at all. I do it efficiently with the knowledge I have collected over the last who knows how many boats I have done (doing 2 early 70’s Monza 19’s in row don’t hurt either). Not going overboard on it is a line that cant be crossed to keep a boat within the price people are willing to pay for it.
Maybe I’m just stupid in the head. I see a classic, unique boat and the only thing I want to do is eat, sleep and fix it. I go by a hundred sitting boats a day then there is that one that makes me turn around. I didn’t need the SuperNova24 race boat but after finding it I couldn’t see it sit in the boat yard for another 20 years…. Took 5 years to get it and 2 to fix but I had to save it. I also want to prove you can have (and save) a classic boat and it wont cost you an arm and a leg to do so. The boats I redo and sell may not be perfect but they are well on there way to where the average boater can take it that next level if the want to. I do know they get a lot of attention in my area so they cant be to bad.
Last, there is some heart involved and I do care about them, like orphans and I would love to save this one. I want to make them all better then send them to a good homes and I really try. I know I cant prevent someone from buying and trashing it but I can discourage if they don’t sound right for it. lol
I’m thinking 7 or 8 grand when done for this Jr. With my short list above the boat and trailer would have to be in the hundreds and no one asked about the paperwork. Boat yard gave it to them. Anyone got a title? Trust me, I’ve got a boat trailer with no numbers, no title, just a bill of sale from the past owner. That’s not good enough for Maryland…….and the fight started.

11-26-2011, 04:51 PM
Guys, I love the analysis of antique boats, cars etc... As well as what a reasonable price is. That said, why is it assumed the boat yard gave the boat away? Call the owner and find out!

It was explained to me that the boat has been stored for the last 10+ years, the owner traded it in to go towards a purchase of an antique car. The current owner was going to restore it, but decided not to. So....you would be purchasing it from an antique car guy, who took it on trade. The owner, Scott, knows what he has and seemed realistic.

Scott probably wants to get back the trade value, which I'm sure wasn't 2k or more. Good luck!! I'm happy to take more pics next time I'm out that way, but Magoo is closer.

It is a shame to think of a boat like this rotting.