View Full Version : New Donzi owner! '90 Black Widow 24' (need parts!)

03-06-2012, 11:09 AM
Hey everyone, I've been lurking on here for a while but didn't want to register/post anything till I was 110% committed.. once I found this boat I jumped in the car and drove 11 hours without hesitating though. I'm sure some of you had seen it for sale - let's just say that I got it under 5 digits. ;)

The motor doesn't run, but I work at a motorcycle shop and know two different performance boat shop owners as well as a machine shop that specializes in performance engine work - so I'm not worried about that. Honestly it's probably not too bad since apparently the engine runs but doesn't develop power and has no compression in one cylinder. It looks to be a rebuilt 454 w/ mods (Holly 800, MSD Blaster, SS headers, etc) - originally installed in '93 when Donzi recalled these and swapped it in for the original 460 Ford motor. It has the tougher OMC "daddy" King Cobra with the cone clutch and F-N-R gears in the upper housing. It's in clean shape - just checked the oil and it's brand new, looks like she found some good owners over the years.

The hull has been repainted, and the cockpit was totally redone, the cabin looks surprisingly plush considering they hadn't touched it during the restoration - 22 years old and all 10 of the lights still work!

I was curious if anyone knows where I can find the little light housings that fit within the mirror on the side walls of the cabin? They each have two little movable lights in it. The reflective coating is flaking off and I'd like to replace them with something stainless or white plastic with LED bulbs (going through the whole boat and doing LED retrofits for power usage/reliability).

Most of the other stuff I think I can source out, like the piano hinges for the cockpit door, etc.

Does anyone else have this boat? I've seen the 30'ers but hardly any of the 24s.. makes me sad :garfield: Does someone have some history on these? What their purpose was, target audience, hull problems, what their performance figures were, and maybe what their original price was back in the day? Thanks!!

Better pics to come soon hopefully. The last 2 are from the ad but they're the only shots of the cockpit/side that I have so far.


Craig S
03-06-2012, 11:50 AM
Nice tow vehicle!

03-06-2012, 12:21 PM
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Haha thanks! I actually rented an expedition to drive there and back... don't tell enterprise. :angel:

I hitched it up real quick just to see how it sat with the hitch that I had, since it's got a hide-away hitch receiver that sits rather low - if I drove around for a second it would have leveled itself, but I got the basic idea with it sitting there.

So for the boat - I was kinda unsure if I liked the white painted "bubble" since they came red, but honestly after doing a search through 4 pages of black widow threads, I think I like how the previous guy painted it white.

I might do the red stripe down the middle with black pinstripes, and the "Black Widow" etch-style logo words on either side of the bow facing outwards, 2-3' long.

Does anyone have ideas on the front cleat? Is it even possible to remove the thing? I'm going to a low-profile Perko LED bow light and would like to run a large pop-up cleat at the same time. I'm going to convert the others to pop-up if possible as well, and run a new Perko stainless anchor light base.

I dislike the hatch trim ring being painted - I want to draw less attention to the front hatch, not sure why someone would paint it and draw attention to it.. I mean it's just a hatch. Black would blend with the window but make it look larger. White would make it look smaller but might look harsh against the black window - any ideas?

For the interior, has anyone run vinyl inside? There's a lot of options for a sporty looking pattern/stripe with the red/black/white combo the boat has.

03-06-2012, 02:47 PM
Welcome aboard. Nice looking ride.

I believe Donzigo had one of these that he restored. You might want to PM him sometime, introduce yourself, and see if he can answer any of your questions. He also has a 33.

Did you have a survey done? My concern would have been stringers and transom.


03-06-2012, 02:53 PM
Congrats on the new toy. Sounds like you shopped well. Trailer looks like it's in great shape. Did they re-do any stringers or other structure?

Can't imagine that cleat can't be removed--do you have decent access to the underside? I'd hope it was forward of the front of the cabin, with the mounting exposed. (Almost has to be if it's a lifting ring, which I think it's not.) There are tons of pop-up cleats and some traditional pop-up lights.

Don't know about the cabin lights--there are tons of things around but can't see them in the pic well enough to know if I recognize them from my travels.

I'm interested to hear about motor progress. I don't know the recall story. Curious what the internals are.

Welcome to the board.


03-06-2012, 03:35 PM
Bob- nah, I'll admit it was somewhat of an impulse buy, but he did say that someone came out with a moisture detector (the guy was actually a surveyor, but was thinking about buying it) - he had zero readings anywhere except one corner of the transom and he said it wouldn't have been enough to even mention on a survey. So I'll take that with a grain of salt. :lookaroun:

I'm going to pull out the boat when it gets warmer and check everything thoroughly before I even think about putting it in the water - dump water into the bilge and check the pump, run all the actuators many times.

I plan on redoing most of the electrical as well as putting in a completely new sound system. 4 cockpit 7" alpines with component tweeters for the front, and 2x JBLs in the cabin, plus a 15" Kicker Solo-Baric and 3x amps. The battery system is almost complete.. Had two large interstates in there, and I added an Optima blue top for engine start, I plan on adding one more interstate and running those three in parallel for house batts, with a ProMariner 30A charger (could always run my little EF1000is generator to the charger if I run low).

It has all-new Gaffrig gauges already and they look to be wired professionally, so that will stay. I'll probably run new bilge and ignition wires w/ conduit, and replace the open terminal blocks with protected ones, plus cutting off all crimp connectors and soldering everything.

Oh, and I'm going to run red 12V LED rope light behind the mirrors in the cuddy and get rid of the old incandescent "mood light" bulbs back there - should add a really nice glow above/below the mirrors.

Mike - I believe the support pole slants forwards to the trailer/tow hook? Not sure how to get past that front bulkhead but yes - it is forward of that location. :(

Oh, and this is the fixture I'm trying to replace - I can't find anything even CLOSE. 70350

I'll message Donzigo and see if he can shed some light on my questions. She really needs new rub rails too - they had been replaced at the time of the restoration but I can't hit them with anything that will turn them black again, it has this gloss finish that can't be touched, so it's never going to be solid black again. I'm trying to get white rub rail with stainless center trim - it's ~$120 / 20' section though. :boggled:

03-06-2012, 10:22 PM
Welcome to the site and Donzi family Estor! Clean looking ride!!

We owned a '90 24' Blackwidow, 3rd owner that had some options. Ours was sold new to a doctor in Indianapolis for $64k, 454 360hp King Cobra, windshield (not windscreen), red/white with red bubble, trim tabs, snap in carpet. we owned her from 2002 to 2008. best speed we could get out of her was 63. fun boat, loved the portholes, never did anything with the lighting so i'm not much help there. I had our chrome vents replated in Toledo at Als Polishing for $20/each, they turned out great. we put a 12" sub just ahead of the captains feet that put out a nice sound and was concealed, easy to get to.

The way I understood the history for the 24' was the Blackwidow existed from '90-'91, from '92-'94 it was known as the Z24. standard motor was a 350 (I never saw one, but thats what the literature states), then 460 340hp Ford, then 454 360hp Chevy. Some say that the Blackwidow only existed in the red/white combo but I have seen it in yellow/white and also teal/white. I have also been told that the 24' Blackwidows were built in both Goshen, IN (I could not get anyone to confirm Goshen) and Televast, FL, ours was in Televast. I have no idea how many were built.

If you look in the event photo sections, ours was the only 24' Blackwidow to show up to AOTH (Awakening Of The Horses Donzi event on Lake Cumberland, KY) from 2004 to 2008. In 2000 or 2001 there was another 24' Blackwidow that came to the event, but that was before we started going, couldnt tell you much about that boat other than he was from Michigan (Bay City area I think).

Hope you enjoy your ride, let me know if you have any questions, I'll do what I can to remember and help ya,


03-07-2012, 12:45 AM
I've seen fixtures like that used on other boats in the late 80's/early 90's, but I'm away from work this week and can't really follow up well. I'll keep my eyes open though and let you know if I find anything when I get back.

Nice ride - sounds like a great deal!

03-08-2012, 04:38 PM
I believe the Black Widow edition was 1st introduced as a sponsorship for Kyle Petty in NASCAR. Donzi did a sponsorship of his car. Might be able to find some pictures of the boats introduction from a Kyle Petty Nascar photo shoot? I remember pictures of the boat being handed out at of all places, a World of Outlaws Sprint Car race at Eldora Raceway here in Ohio. (Track now owned by Tony Stewart) The Black Widow shown in this picture was of course black with I believe lime green accents in the name and stripes on the boat.

Maybe Josh Stickles who may still be at Donzi has some old archives or pictures from that time frame? This goes back some 22 or so years though now. Hard to tell what might still be hidden in someone's collection. I had a friend who went to this Sprint Car race with me. He picked up 1 of those picture cards being handed out. Can't tell you though if he still has it or not. Not really sure where he even lives now. (Marriage kinda ended my weekend race trips and we've lost touch with each other)

Anywhooooooo, back to your thread. Good luck with your upgrade list. Looks like it was a great buy. I owned 2 Classics. A 18' and then a 22'. I always liked the Black Widow models. One thing you have there that I never had.........A place to get outta the rain. LOL :-)

03-12-2012, 10:27 AM
Tom, thanks for the information - that's crazy, nearly $111,000 in today's $$. Do you remember what prop you had on that engine, and if you had done anything to it? I'm trying to find out information about what 454 they used, but it's a pain! It's a straight Chevy engine, right? At the stated 360hp you mentioned, it's well beyond the old mercruiser 454s - was this the Gen V block?

zelatore thanks, let me know if you find anything - that seems to be the first thing people notice (otherwise, it doesn't actually look too dated down there.)

boldts - I'm with you on the cuddy - since I'm coming from a bow rider I was a little nervous about the switch, but I've grown to love it down there. In the parking lot anyways.. but I've had dreams about seeing water out of the portholes :boat:

03-12-2012, 02:23 PM
I am trying to remember (been a few malted hops ago, so forgive me) but i believe i ran a 14.25 x 21P viper prop. I remember trying a labbed 15 x 21P prop and the boat did not want any part of that.....slow to plane and about 10-12mph slower. The guy before us punched out the original 454 to 30 over, nice cam (don't know specs, sorry) but still had the original cast manifolds. I thought it was Gen IV 454, but i could be wrong. Yeah, I believe the previous Merc 454's were 330hp, but in the Donzi brochure it clearly states 360hp on the 454, 340hp of the 460 Ford.

There used to be a photo gallery on this site, but I can't find it. Heres a couple pics of her, I think i have another one somewhere to add. No, I'm not in any of the pics, those are just friends and my wife is in there some where. I liked the sound of the IMCO pipes on the back. And on our chain of lakes, the 'eye brows' on the pipes helped put the sound in the water when goin through the channel (less hassel from the water bears).

03-12-2012, 02:30 PM

03-14-2012, 03:14 PM

...I wonder if I ended up with your boat haha, this guy said he got it out west, but I picked it up from him in MI so who knows.

But yeah, it's got that exact Viper 3 blade SS 21p prop on it, and I just discovered today that the motor was taken apart and heads machined, bored .020 over. When I got it, the thing had black SMI headers on it though. Any ways I could tell? Something you wrote under a rail or something? :cool:

03-14-2012, 04:51 PM
"Out west" or "from West?" ;)

03-14-2012, 08:49 PM
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Well he lived in L.A. and took it with him here apparently, who knows..

03-15-2012, 06:51 AM
Oh, I can help decipher what Ghost (Mike) is sayin, I am Tom West.

One could draw that conclusion that it was ours, but we had the optional windshield instead of the standard windscreen. We sold ours in June of '08 to a couple in Michigan CIty, IN and I saw that he sold it last fall on ebay to who knows where. He did add headers and had the motor rebuilt.

Where are you at in Michigan Estor? Or is that just where you got your Widow from?