View Full Version : Bought a bench seat Hornet

12-13-2012, 06:18 PM
Finally found one after years of looking. A 66 with a Holman and Moody FE 390 or 427. Picked it up in South Carolina where it has been sitting dorment.I flew out from Northern California, bought a tow vehicle and loaded it up Apparently a fresh water boat all its life. Has all the v drive stuff in good shape. Major things missing are the windshield, gauges and seat pad. Some fiberglass work has already been done but there are some soft spots and waves still.The ski locker is still intact. No hull number known but some research might pull one up. If anyone knows anything about this boat I would love to hear it, good or bad. I know I will need advise and reference from other Bench seat owners. Still need to make the trip back to California from SC.


12-13-2012, 07:01 PM
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looks nice good luck post some more pic what vdive is in it looks like some one did some wild wood work under the deck glade some one pic that one up

Greg Guimond
12-13-2012, 07:05 PM
Quad high beam headlights? That hull may have been a drug runner!

12-13-2012, 07:10 PM

12-13-2012, 07:14 PM
I was wondering if the headlights were factory or period correct. That would be cool if this thing was a coke boat! I was thinking of naming her HELLS BELLS.

12-13-2012, 07:16 PM
looks like you have most off the hardware to good score inside hull looks nice and it a crusader 4500 vdrive

12-13-2012, 07:22 PM
Nice find! What kind of condition is the FE Ford in? Are you going to run with that or go to something else? I know that on the automotive side of things it is getting pretty difficult to find FE parts (at least for reasonable $$) and I imagine it's a much bigger challenge for marine stuff. Very cool Hornet.

12-13-2012, 07:24 PM

the seat and the deck are areas of concern if i can help let me know with any questions or info

that is an early boat with the raised engine room vents it's a pre 68 boat

the docking lights in a pair(not 4) were a common option on the benchseat hornets usually more towards the cockpit but they did move them up front on ocassion like mine

we have 6 members in the LGDCC with benchseats in I/O and Vdrive form, so ask away we can see if we can help ya

12-13-2012, 07:36 PM
The engine is in awesome shape from the looks of it. Looks like it never touched salt water. I have fantasies of a twin turbo small block with an Arneson drive but I should just put the boat together and see how I like it. I have never driven a v-drive so I dont know how they handle. The hull has an added fin in the middle I suppose for better cornering, again I don't know if it needs it until I get in on the water. Is the windshield on hornets glass or plexy? Were they the same for Hornet Is and IIs? I will definitely want one as the boat looks naked without it. If anyone can help me source one I would be grateful. If anyone is having a seat redone I would gladly go in on having a second one done.

Thanks for the responses so far

12-13-2012, 08:12 PM
here's a pic of my docking lights more up front and the docking lights on " the ultimate" which are more towards the back.

12-13-2012, 10:11 PM
Congrats, very cool!!

Having had a boat with twins smallblocks and v-drives, I'm happier having an I/O. But it's a bigger deal on gas with a heavy boat and twins. And some folks have said the Hornets actually do remarkably well on both gas and performance, so maybe the wider turning radius will be the biggest difference from an I/O. That, and docking.

As for the coke thing, that was my first thought when I saw the lights.

I believe that's the same model v-drive I had in my Nova, Crusader 4500 I think. I got to know mine very well (long story, they are reversible and mine had been set-up and installed backwards before I bought the boat, so the effective gear ratio was wrong). I'd offer one piece of advice if it's in a hard-to-reach spot/angle. You might do some testing now, with things disassembled and easy to control, to figure out how much fluid it wants. Depending on how it sits in the boat and the angle she sits in the water or elsewhere, might be hard to get a decent reading off the dipstick. Even with good access to the top of the drive, I concluded that it was FAR easier to sort out the right amount in my basement, and then measure it out and just pour it in the boat.

Regards, looking forward to your progress.

Just Say N20
12-14-2012, 06:56 AM
For some reason, the Truck/Hornet pictures were of the Spiderman variety when I tried to view them; hanging upside down.

12-14-2012, 06:58 AM
Does the motor have screw in "freeze plugs" ?

If so it is a 427.


12-14-2012, 07:19 AM
if you have any serial numbers on the motor, vdrive or hull it might help id what you have.

Morgan's Cloud
12-14-2012, 07:38 AM
Wowsa ! Another bomb of a find .
Please keep this thread active with all of your work and updates. A lot of us feed on this stuff.. lol

Did you say 'fin' .... ? what a concidence .. :D

Have you determined if any of the previous work included the gas tank too ?

I'm surprised no ones mentioned it yet but if there is a number it should be on the back of the dash . Handwritten in black marker . I believe it will be under a layer or so of glass and might be mistaken for random scribble if you've never seen one before.

I wish Bill would have been able to warn me that he had reposted the pic of it on the trailer. It took me 15 minutes to stick all the keys back on the keyboard after I turned the computer upside down and half of them dropped out !

12-14-2012, 09:06 AM
Steve I just turned the phone upside down ;)

the extensive glass work on the deck and dash leads me to believe that the original numbers IF they were ever there are long gone.
the wood lattice work on the deck underside is very unusual, never seen that before .

I have questions on the 390 too, according to the HM documentation I have seen they never used the 390 in the FE series.

looks like the ski locker is green the early original hornets were always green not til late 66 did they use other colors on the hornet.

good luck on the project and keep the pictures coming I don't care if they are upside down . It is nice to see someone take the time to give you a visual along with the info :yes:

good luck with the project, I will keep you posted I will be inverstigating a new interior for mine with a local hot rod guy you does excellent work. Not cheap and I am waiting to see if the world ends on the 21st before I invest :p

Take some pictures on the trip back as well that sounds like a great road trip to recover your boat.

12-14-2012, 09:30 AM
I forgot
the windshield on the Hornet Benchseat and 2+3 and the Hornet II were basically the same. The Hornet III was different it used something very similar to the early 22 classic windshield. yes they are plexi 2 piece with with an alum frame and spline. The early ones had a wider spline then the newer ones.

for pics and info check out

www.lgdonziclassic.com there will be pics and info in the registry,model list and resources sections that will help.

12-14-2012, 09:55 AM
I can't find any numbers on the boat under the dash I will take pictures when I get some light. The engine is in a place of my truck where I can't see the casting numbers. Does not look like screw in freeze plugs. Has all the Holman a moody goodies like dual oil filter and whatnot. I have the name of the original owner which might help.
I am a contractor and leave back to Afghanistan some time in January for a year so tracking down parts will be the main task before I get started on putting it together. The green in the ski locker looks like the original color which is bit darker than the current hull color. The stringers are a work of art but I don't know if they are original. Gotta work on my pic uploading skills:rlol:. I will keep the pics coming and am grateful there are others who can help me figure some of this boat out.

12-14-2012, 10:01 AM
are there any riveted or secured ID tags on the engine?

12-14-2012, 10:05 AM
33605 in riveted on the block on an ovalish tag

12-15-2012, 01:49 PM
If you get in the ski locker, remove the bracket where the bow lifting eye's threaded rod connects to the hull. My Hornet had the hull number stamped on the back side.

12-15-2012, 03:13 PM
----The early windshields pictured were made by Taylor Made. They no longer make them and really show no interest in doing so. I called once and it seemed at that time to be a dead end. They do pop up on E-bay on occasion but probably your best chance is right off of this sight. Good luck with your project. It appears that the last owner went quite a ways and then just stopped for some reason........Bill S

12-16-2012, 07:08 AM
I went ahead and shot taylor-made an email about making a run of windshields, couldn't hurt. My tow rig sprung a trans cooler line leak so I will be in SC until monday.

12-16-2012, 10:10 AM
sorry to hear about the tow vehicle.

the HM stuff should have a tag on the bell housing with their serial number on it, if it is there that will yell you what the original motor was and then you need to find the block casting numbers . they should be on the right front side of the block. should start something like C6ME-A

That number will also give you a glimpse of the time frame of the boat

C5 would be a 1965 motor
C6 would be a 1966 motor

good luck with your project

12-16-2012, 11:09 AM
forgot it looks like an original rocket trailer are there any numbers welded on it?

12-16-2012, 11:37 AM
Sure is a rocket. No title or plates as SC not not require those. Don't know if this will be a problem driving to CA
I will take some more numbers off the engine once the truck is out of the shop.


12-16-2012, 07:41 PM
there used to be a dark green 427 Hornet that ran around on Lake Murray in the late 60's - belonged to the Ebberts- most AWESOME thing on the water we ever saw at that age!! we were all running around in Glastrons and Glassmasters and this thing would show up and leave all of us in a teenage wetdream!! they would keep in it dry storage at Wells Marina and we would all gather in awe as they brought it in and out of the water.. whether or not its that boat- awesome find and congrats!!!

12-16-2012, 10:29 PM
Lake murray is where I got the boat so that would make sense. I have the original owners name written down somewhere. I will have to check into that. Do you remember if it had a windshield?

12-16-2012, 10:50 PM
YES!! It had a wraparound plexi with a center separator! I would rather be lucky than good!! DAMN YOU!! Awesome boat!!

great find!! Shoo-Inn!!!

12-16-2012, 11:08 PM
Z- If I CAN HELP!! I live down the road-this is too cool!!!I would love to be a part of bringing this boat back!!!

01-11-2013, 05:28 PM
Here are a few more pics of my boat in transit and at its mothballed state at my friends ranch. It is out of reach of trees which took out my poor 68 Dodge Power Wagon. Never saw any numbers but the boat was indeed owned by the Ebberts of Lake Murray SC. I don't know if the boat is cored, maybe some of the experts can tell by the pictures. I am getting ready to ship off for my overseas job but would appreciate any input or leads on parts. Did I mention I hate automatic transmissions for towing?


01-11-2013, 08:21 PM
I just re-read your OP and realized that you bought the boat and tow rig from cross country, presumably sight unseen. That is fricking awesome.

So how many boxes of parts are you going to have waiting for you when you get home?

01-12-2013, 03:26 AM
Quite a few boxes. Pretty much all the Hornet V-drive un-obtainium parts are there. Just need the windshield and frame, gauges and I should be good. Might just go with new Stewart Warner deluxe gauges to keep it period correct. Looks solid enough to bolt together to run and see how I like it. An Arneson drive and twin turbo LSX motor might be in its far future. This would require further hull reinforcement and $$$ but triple digets should be posible.

01-12-2013, 06:41 AM
It always amazes me when someone truly wants a certain model
boat time and space are no match, all conquered by the desire
plus the road trip is half the adventure
war stories
to tell the grand kids. This one time on the cross Bronx expressway it was during a meteor shower and zombie attack I was trailering home and wouldn't ya know 4 blowouts and an asteroid took out my front grille ;)
Seriously Zedaker your journey and its trials will become part of the boat's story

Take care be safe overseas and good luck with the Hornet

joseph m. hahnl
01-12-2013, 08:58 AM
I allways assumed this boat was a v drive


I thought there was a brochure, that spec it at 65Mph out of the box.

I think the windshield is poly. There is that proto type car company in Orange County,Metal Crafters (http://www.metalcrafters.com/). That for the right $$$$$ could form you a glass one

01-12-2013, 09:08 AM
In tests they say the Hornet topped 70. they gauranteed 60+, all early hornets were v drives usually with big block powered sometimes even turbo power. wasn't until 1968 that the volvo I/O small block ford pkg was added to the offerings.


01-12-2013, 02:03 PM
Is the Hornet 24 degrees? I imagine with the coring construction they were able to make it very light--based on some of the pics, looks like there's very little in the water when it's running. 65 with a v-drive is amazing, 70 even more so.

Morgan's Cloud
01-12-2013, 02:33 PM
The original Hornets are about 19deg. The newer Hornet II and III were not only about 2 feet longer but also had about 22 deg deadrise.

That green is starting to grow on me too. I can easily picture a gold boot stripe , etc..

They're already very light boats though considering the power that was put in them for the time frame that they were built. Cored or not .
I'd run what you have first before getting any pie in the sky ideas about triple digits though.

I personally do not think this is a hull for the uninitiated . It takes a lot of care just to keep mine on the water at 50 (same hull ,sorry , not a 'Hornet' though and I/O ).

01-12-2013, 03:13 PM
the Hornet and it's sister ship the St Tropez were 19 degree rounded keel boats with a good amount of flare at the front for a very dry ride. I measured mine out to roughly 20 degrees and tipped the scales at around 3000 lbs dry

they used foam deck coring on some of them, but the early turbo and high horsepower hulls were fully balsa cored around the stringers, bottom and sides, it is what they call high impact fiberglass in the sales literature