View Full Version : Got a 60's vintage Bench seat hornet with vdrive

12-02-2012, 08:17 PM
I have in my possession a late 60's benchseat hornet with drive train. The boat/hull had just been redone when hurricane IKE washed away the top deck. I would really like to save this Boat. Anyone have a line on a deck or can pop a copy one off for me? give me a call at the office 713-910-2000 or email on my phone clearlaketx@gmail.com.
you can also text me on my cell seven one three - eight nine eight - zero six zero five
Scot V

12-03-2012, 02:21 AM

Finding such an original benchseat deck might be almost impossible .

Making a new custom benchseat deck mold from an original benchseat Hornet , and then hand laying-up a new copy would be possible~~~
But I suspect would be a very costly project .

You may have to resort to buying an older 70s 2+3 Hornet, or at least it's old deck, and cutting-up & splicing the deck to make a benchseat style deck out of it by moving the dash area aft to form the necessary smaller size cockpit ; and then filling in the now left open middle section to form a benchseatdeck just like the prior owner did to my Benchseat 18 project. (see my very first post on this forum from 2009 with my project's photos )
After tearing mine apart for a deck re-core & restoration I can now see that this was not really very hard to do if it was thought out carefully & measured properly.

Stan (inferno) just built himself a custom Benchseat 22 out of a standard 2+3, as was suggested by Lenny, by using the very same cut & splice tecnique.
The end result is nothing short of spectacular !
There are photos of his custom built red Donzi 22 benchseat project on the Donzi forums.

Good Luck !

12-03-2012, 07:34 AM
[ QUOTE=$originalposter]{$pagetext}[/QUOTE]
Silverghost. not to hijack this post, but can you show pictures of your 18' benchseat? Love to see how cool that would be. As for the Hornet mold, could you have measurements made and then build a mold yourself, (I know, Expensive!) ? I would think that the tub portion qould make it tough to do.

12-03-2012, 07:37 AM
Another option would be to put a proper (traditional) mahogony deck on her.

This has been my goal since I fell in love with Donzis as I'm already a certified woodyboater nut. I realize that with less than 50 benchseat Hornets produced, it's tough to lose one but a nicely done wooden deck with a v-drive would make a stunning "gentlemans racer" and the hull would not go to waste.73954

Or if you find a donor boat for the deck....call me when you want to clear out it's hull. I've been searching for something longer (21'-24') but 19.25 would work for me.

12-03-2012, 08:26 AM

sounds like neat project.

rustnrot did the woody thing to a 16 vdrive the end result was very unique.

the 2+3 has slighty different proportions the additional seating was a take a little from here and a little from there. so the nose and hatch are smaller ( the back seat is closer to the transom ) so a 2 +3 top MAY not fit on an existing rigged benchseat v-drive bottom.

I would also think that you would need a restored deck over an original deck to pop. my deck is solid and original but far from perfect. If I can help in anyway let me know.

12-03-2012, 01:31 PM
Scott Pearson owns both Benchseat, and 2+3 style, V-drive Hornets. He is very familar with these early V-drive Hornets .

He should be able to measure both deck & cockpit style V-Drive Hornet boats; and tell us if the deck & cockpit tub can in fact really be swapped without any issues~~ I would think ?

12-03-2012, 01:38 PM
SG, how bout a recent pic of your benchseat hornet ?

12-03-2012, 05:37 PM
we had a chance to line up a few siblings in the donzi classic line up at this year's LGDCC fall picnic. we had my 68 benchseat next to Scott Pearson's 70 2+3. we also had Jay's 67 Skisporter next To Andrew's 90 sweet 16. Both comparisions were visibly different to the naked eye. Jay can expound on the differences in the 16s but the differences in the 19s were very apparent.

the motor compartment is smaller (Shorter) on the 2+3 this can be seen in the distance between the front and back air vents, the length of the hatch and the proximity of the back seat to the transom. This means the floor is also closer to the transom. The BBF and vdrive are cramped in walo the front and back of the motor are very close to the transom and the back seat. The v drive is partly under the seat .
I know it is hard to visualize with all the bling on walo

In the benchseat hornet the motor and v drive are more forward in the attached pic of Pizzazz a BBF v drive you can see this as the v drive is under the seat locker. I think if walo's deck was placed on this setup the v drive would not clear the floor. Vice Versa I think there would be no issue putting on a benchseat deck on walo's setup.

I realize this is a worthy project and a big project with a price tag to match. The benchseat deck is unique, it is the only deck that has a raised deck stripe, it has the big bilge with side to side twin hatches. the proportions of the seat to the lines of the boat are perfectly balanced IMHO. I feel the only way to do this is to pop a benchseat deck .

here are the pics that show the difference in proportions on the two decks, look at the hatch, the vents and the seat/rearseat locations

Morgan's Cloud
12-04-2012, 07:49 AM
So the seat in the Benchseat Hornet is in fact NOT where the rear seat is in a 2+3 Hornet's ? It's a little forward of that ?

Actually , now that it seems that way , I do recall the engine hatches appearing to be kind of long on number 39 that made it out here some years back.
And the engine room was huge too. You could probably stuff 4 people in it and shut the lid even with the engine installed !

Love them pics too Matty .

12-04-2012, 08:17 AM
yes the two decks are very different, you can also see how much weight is shifted aft in my boat. the nose on a sbf and volvo sits higher than a blown bbf and v drive just look at the inner strakes at the bow in the pic i posted

12-04-2012, 09:15 AM
Lenny once emailed me that when he first built his prototype X-18 Benchseat custom built cut & splice project he actually moved the bench seat's back foreward about six inches from where my Benchseat 18 project's seat back now is.
My seat bench is still in the orignal 2+3 location.
This gave Lenny a much larger engine bay than I currently have on my standard "Classic" style 18 benchseat project's deck.
His new cockpit itself is also a bit larger fore & aft than mine . Mine only measures 35 1/2 inches from the dashboard face to the fiberglass benchseat's back.
Mine will actually be pretty tight with the seat cushons finally installed .

Lenny still has several old photo posts on this forum showing his cut & splice X-!8 Benchseat project's deck.
In some of them you can see where he added additional deck fill-in material between his many old deck splice joints.

Lenny's custom Benchseat X-18 project is very cool indeed !

Re: Scot's Hornet~
Altering the final measurements on the V-Drive Hornet's cut & splice deck , twin hatch, & tub fabrication , along wih adding some additional cuts & fill-in, might actually make the older Hornet's 2+3's cut-up & spliced deck work with the existing Hornet hull's V-Drive gearbox & engine configuration placement ?
You might have to get really creative here~

Rootsy (actually onesubdriver Wayne)started to do this same sort of thing on his 16 cut & splice benchseat project the "Crazy Chinese Chicken"
He toyed around with several configuration ideas.
Photos of his project are still on the Donzi forums.
Sadly that project boat was later stolen right out of his own driveway; and later recovered all smashed-up.
It sadly all went to the dump later.

I do agree with Matty that the Best option might be to pop a custom deck mold off of a real original Benchseat Hornet's Deck & Cockpit Tub like the one Matty owns.

But at what price ?
And how much trouble would it be for someone to actually build the new molds ; and then hand lay-up a reproduction deck & tub ?

The all Mahogany Retro-Style wood deck like Woobs suggested earlier , or the cut & splice 2+3 Hornet deck fabrication job I suggested, might be far easier & far far cheaper to build~~~

But then it would no longer be a real Benchseat Hornet any longer would it ?

12-04-2012, 09:42 AM
[ QUOTE=$originalposter]silverghost said:You might have to get really creative here~
Rootsy started to do this same sort of thing on his 16 cut & splice benchseat project the "Crazy Chinese Chicken"
Photos of his project are still on both Donzi forums.
Sadly that boat was later stolen right out of his own driveway; and later recovered all smashed-up.
It sadly went to the dump later.{$pagetext}[/QUOTE]

that was not Rootsy that was onesubdriver (Wayne)

12-04-2012, 09:51 AM
Your memory is better than mine here~~~
It Was onesubdriver (Wayne) !

12-04-2012, 09:53 AM
But then it would no longer be a real Benchseat Hornet any longer would it ?

I think that ship has sailed.... The original deck is gone.
Any solution will be to save the hull driveline as much as possible.

Boats are different than cars.....If you look to the ACBS restoration rules they can replace pretty much 100% of a wooden boat and as long as the correct proceedures are followed the resulting restoration keeps the boats provinance. Others say that 25% original material must remain. Running gear/driveline may also be changed without hurting provinance. A complete hull certainly exceeds these criteria.

Now, some of the really nice restorations "Miss Canada IV" for example are original to each screw as far as hardware goes...but there's no getting past the wood issues. In this case a re-popped deck on that original hull certainly qualifies as an original boat. So does the cut/splice as long as the dimensions are the same as the original.

My solution as akin to a "resto mod" for a car... Original hull = original frame. after that, it's all good.

Scot, if you find a donor boat and decide to go that way...talk to me about the un-used hull.

12-04-2012, 10:48 AM
I really like your idea of building a rero-style Mahogany & Caulked style speedster deck for Scot's V-Drive Hornet's project hull.
Instead of traditional caulk lines on Cherubini's new 20' & 24' retro "Classics" Dave uses thin strips of light colored Maple in between the Mahogany decking planks to simulate the look of old school caulked deck seams.

Check-Out ~


For photos of his great new retro-style Mahogany decked speedboats.

12-04-2012, 11:16 AM
an old one

12-04-2012, 12:42 PM
Thank's Lenny !

That's Exactly what I was talking about.

Now that's what I call a super cut & splice benchseat deck fabrication job.

Is Lenny's "Lenco" Benchseat X-18 not a Super Cool Restomod or what ?

I can easily see this same process being done with an old scrap 2+3 Hornet donor deck, hatch, & cockpit tub used on Scot's V-Drive Benchseat Hornet V-Drive hull.

What do you guys think of this crazy cut & splice idea now ?

12-04-2012, 01:06 PM

I suspect Some of the aft weight that causes your Benchseat Hornet to have that heavier aft attitude angle when sitting at rest might be caused by your Benchseat Hornet being an I/O powered boat with the heavy outdrive hanging out off it's stern ,along with the inner drive housing & bellhousing back there also.

Your hull also does not have the extra foreward weight of the V-Drive's gearbox, jackshaft , along with the standard underwater inboard shaft, strut & running gear to push the bow down while sitting at rest.
I have no doubt that the balance differs on the V-Drive , or I/O, in a benchseat, or 2+3Hornet hull configuration.

Matty is your engine actually mounted closer to, and more near the Hornet's transom, than it's V-Drive cousins engines ?

12-04-2012, 02:01 PM
Keep in mind the 2+3 were pretty rare and made in numbers not all that much greater than the bench seat
Lets not make it sound that they are a dime a dozen

The big thing will be the height and length of the drive train easy line of sight if it sits higher than the stringers a 2+3 deck may require heavy modification

The cost of a popped bench deck may be worth it as it will be the closest to plug and play and will retain as much originality and heritage over other options

Not mentioned would also be a St T deck but that would change the personality and use of the boat

12-04-2012, 02:12 PM
(Quick sidebar thought: After seeing Lenny's, I wonder what a 22C would be like with an X-18 style deck. In a bench seat, 2+3, or classic mahogany runabout bench/bench setup.)

12-04-2012, 03:40 PM
the difference in attitude between the two hornets is 6 feet and 50 gals of gas :yes:

Rob M
12-04-2012, 04:26 PM
Matty: Great point about 2+3 relative rarity. I recall this was loosely covered before, but do you (or anyone else) know the exact breakdown of Benchseat and Hornet 2+3 Hull numbers produced?

Greg Guimond
12-04-2012, 06:30 PM
Cut and splice and woody pics .............

12-04-2012, 08:13 PM
nice pics everyone ~~ a PICTURE is worth a 1000 words~~~

Rob I am trying to track that down but at 96 total produced ( 19 foot hornets both models combined) the numbers are probably close to a 50 50 split not exactly but pretty close. hull 52 is a 1970 2+3 and one maybe two more benchseats were made after that hull 59 is a 1971 benchseat. hulls 40 and 41 are benchseats. i think the 2+3 is seen in the 71 brochure and not in the 69 so 70-71 should be the 2+3 introduction I have to track down the 70 brochure I have it in all the stuff I am digitizing somewhere.

some other noteworthy info walo is the last v drive 2+3 It very well could be the only v drive 2+3 , hull 59 is the last v drive benchseat it may very well be the last benchseat still have to find that out

As the LGDCC gathers info on each model we will record and publish the info .

Rob M
12-04-2012, 08:26 PM
Mine is #93 built in June 76.

Isn't AirGrady's 76 2+3 also a v-drive?

12-04-2012, 08:34 PM
Have a hull number on his hornet

12-04-2012, 08:41 PM
yeah Rob sorry had one mis categorized yeah walo is not the last v drive 2+3

Rob M
12-04-2012, 09:37 PM

I'm not sure of his hull number, sorry - it used to be on the old Registry site back in 2000 or so (really miss that list).

Thanks for providing the total hull info for Hornets - it's really helpful. I always thought the Corsican was a low production model and therefore relatively rare, interesting that the 2+3 Hornet configs are just as rare, or slightly more so.


HM - apologies for briefly hi-jacking your thread. There seem to be a few Benchseat restorations on the go, hopefully somehow you can pop a deck copy and keep your Benchseat intact and proper.

12-04-2012, 10:47 PM
My 1972 2+3 hull number is I think is 63. I'm out of town for a few days and can't remember for sure. But I think it was C19H63. Does that sound right?

12-04-2012, 10:53 PM

when you get home let me know we can check

12-04-2012, 11:15 PM
73995739927398973999739967399373990740007399773994 73991739887400173998:us-texas:
I took some photos yesterday morning and was going to post the but was at the hospital for 7 hours doing my oncologist appointment and transfusion. ran my ass off at work today trying to play catchup. I will get the hull number. i will only do this boat as a benchseat. it will be the easiest route to take.

12-05-2012, 07:14 AM
hang in there Scot, hope today is a better day our prayers and thoughts are with you. glad to hear you want to keep it a benchseat post up pics and hull number and i'll give you any history I can.

12-05-2012, 02:46 PM
We are all pulling for you ~
Here's hoping your health will be on the upswing very soon !

The Hornet hull looks to be in great shape !

Did you also get all the underwater V-Drive running gear, & foreard gearbox, jackshaft etc. with this project ?

How about the Deck's hardware ?

How about the original engine~
Do you have it also~~
Or do you at least know what the power plant was originally in this hull when delivered new ?

It would be great to see this boat restored with a real original Benchseat Hornet deck.
I fear finding an original orphened Benchseat Hornet deck might be almost impossible given the total production numbers of 50- total bench style decks produced by Donzi.
Pulling off a mold & laying up a new reproduction deck, tub, & two engine hatches from another existing Benchseat Hornet might be your only realistic restoration option in this situation ?

Best Of Luck !!!

12-05-2012, 03:17 PM
Pulling off a mold & laying up a new reproduction deck, tub, & two engine hatches from another existing Benchseat Hornet might be your only realistic restoration option in this situation ?

Clearly, that would be the best way to go physically.... not sure economically.

The "cut and fit" proposal might be a better solution, but it creates another orphan hull of a scarce boat.

Either way HM I'm sure you'll figure a way. This could be just the project to keep you focused. Good luck on the boat! Best wishes for you.

12-05-2012, 05:13 PM
wood deck...

12-05-2012, 05:41 PM
I do have the underwater V-Drive running gear, & foreard gearbox, jackshaft etc.
I have not picked it up yet but I was told they have all the deck hardware and windshield.

The original engine is history BUT since I am getting it from the original owner, I believe there is extensive documentation of what was in the boat and photos of the original boat

Or do you at least know what the power plant was originally in this hull when delivered new ?

I want to see this boat restored with an authentic style Benchseat Hornet deck.

I spoke with one of our members today who thinks he can make a reproduction deck and hatches happen.
I did not drop any names in the interest of his privacy.

Its nice to get good news for a change!!!! :cool!:

12-05-2012, 10:18 PM
wood deck...

Buiz, That'll be MY next project!
I just need to find the right starting point. :cool!:

12-07-2012, 09:04 AM
Scot , i expect to see more of you on here next week , and have you given any thought of maybe doing a one off custom deck like done at Skater using one large pannel bagged which actually in my opinion would be the best way to go , easy , and fun . Gotta tell yah .........Man .....i wish that was my boat considering all the possibilites .

12-14-2012, 10:01 AM
I just picked up a bench seat you can see in another thread. I am not planning on working on it for at least a year and I am passing through Texas. You needed to pop a deck mold from an original? Maybe we can work something out. What part of Texas are you in? PM me.