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View Full Version : Checking out a 1969 18 footer...advice needed!



DownByTheRiver
11-21-2016, 09:02 PM
My best friend called me the other day, telling me about this old Donzi I needed to see. I currently have a 275lxc that I'm on the fence about keeping, and I've wanted a classic Donzi for years, so I decided to go check it out. I'm in the middle of finishing a 1968 c10 pickup with a turbo LS setup, so what better time to buy this, you know?
From the information I received on her, she's supposedly a 1969 18. She very obviously needs a full resto, but there's very little rot. From my little research, it appears to have a jacuzzi WJ jet drive. I've read these are reliable units but am prepared to rebuild if necessary. The motor that comes with the boat is a 350, which is good for me. I did entertain the idea of an LS swap because of my familiarity with the platform. I looked through the 1969 brochure, and didn't even see an option for a jet drive, so I'm assuming this was added later.

I've noticed some things are not the way they were when they left the factory (the GAS PEDAL for instance), and someone cut the inner shell out of the boat. The other weird parts are the hatch cover (opens differently than others I've seen...sideways with pins), and the seating arrangements, namely the panel that separates the engine hatch from the cockpit. I wish I had a better picture, but it does not appear that there's a way for there to be 3 seats back there. Looks more like 2 really small seats with a large center divider "box" between them. I was wondering if this was original. I'm also somewhat frightened of the cost of a full interior. Are these seats as scarce as I think they may be?

So with all that being said, unless there's some glaringly obvious reason not to buy this boat, I'll probably pick it up. I'm not scared of the work, as I've done plenty of auto restoration and hot rodding. The boat needs a full repaint, so I could have something very unique, and I love the idea of rescuing this boat from impending doom underneath these trees. When all is said and done, I'm basically buying this boat for the cost of the trailer it's sitting on. It was parked in 2006, and I know she's dirty, but if there's anyone can see the real beauty, it's you guys. The people I've showed these pictures to think I'm crazy, but nothing I'm not already used to honestly.

Any advice on the above would be much appreciated!

DownByTheRiver
11-21-2016, 09:12 PM
85418
85419
85421
85422

DownByTheRiver
11-21-2016, 09:16 PM
85423
85424

f_inscreenname
11-21-2016, 11:53 PM
Here you go.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV5nLGD5kMs

Yours looks like a barrel back. If so just be aware for some reason they are not worth what the "classics" seem to bring. I have no clue why. JMHO but I would also dump that jet drive. 10 to 15% HP loss before you put it in gear is to much for me.

woobs
11-22-2016, 01:21 AM
There is so much satisfaction to be had with a project boat. That said, you have to love it.... the boat and the work or you will never finish it. It helps to have a vision of the finished boat in your mind. It is also not for those who are shy about opening their wallet. It doesn't have to cost a lot but, it's going to cost. How much depends on what you bring to the table.

As far as this particular 18 goes, it'll never be a pristine factory boat with the cockpit cut out as it is. You would need to find a deck.... and you may as well find another boat. However, this is also good news as you open up so many options. A custom interior, a benchseat, whatever you can think of.

Of course, I'm a little biased as I have just started a boat resurrection on a boat in far worse shape than yours (see what I did there with ownership :) ). I even cut out the cockpit tub!
So, you see it can be done, you're not crazy... at least no more than the rest of us. And there is support here. In fact, imho the best support of any boating community is right here!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it....

Here are some pics of other projects just to make you feel better about how good a project your 18 really is.

BTW: I agree... ditch the jet.

yeller
11-22-2016, 02:00 AM
When all is said and done, I'm basically buying this boat for the cost of the trailer it's sitting on. Well that trailer isn't worth chit, so hopefully the guy is paying you to take the boat away.
New paint will be the cheapest part of restoring that boat. You'll spend far more than it'll ever be worth and you'll spend far more than it would cost to buy one already restored..................so, unless you just like working on things and aren't overly concerned about the final cost, I'd walk away.

That being said, I had a jet in my 16 and it was an absolute blast. Pretty sure the 18 would be just as much fun with a jet....but then again, that jet isn't even complete.

yeller
11-22-2016, 02:07 AM
Just reread what I posted. Man, am I in a pissy mood. :biggrin.:

If you like the boat, go for it. There's a few on this site that like foolishly spending their money, may as well join the club. (Not me though...I'm much to level headed for that. :rolleyes:)

Ghost
11-22-2016, 03:01 AM
just reread what i posted. Man, am i in a pissy mood. :biggrin.:

If you like the boat, go for it. There's a few on this site that like foolishly spending their money, may as well join the club. (not me though...i'm much to level headed for that. :rolleyes:)

lol, :)

Morgan's Cloud
11-22-2016, 06:54 AM
It sure could be an original from the factory jet . John Chisholm said that even if it wasn't on the option sheet they'd put in whatever the customer wanted .
I too was thinking barrel back from your description but looking at the pictures it's got a round keel . Maybe a few pics of the hatch arrangement when it's cleaned off will help .
Not to put a damper on things but I'd be very surprised if there's no rot in that thing . Sorry , meant to say 'very little rot' . Once you start digging you'll get a better idea.

chip w
11-22-2016, 09:28 AM
If you can do glass work I say go for it. All but a couple of my friends thought I was crazy when we restored our '68. I'd do it again if I had the time but that's got to wait another 10 years before I can do it again. I always felt a little better putting ours in as I knew what it was from the inside out. As far as cost goes, we don't do this for the investment value. I have twice as much into my 18 as I'll ever get out of it. Do want you want to it, save a boat, make yourself happy and post lots of updates and pictures so the rest of us can live vicariously!

854358543685437

f_inscreenname
11-22-2016, 01:22 PM
Just to give you the other side of the doom and gloom. I could have that boat back on the water for less then 5 grand. Being I have a motor and outdrive in stock I would say under 3 grand. Just depends on what your skill level is.

DownByTheRiver
11-23-2016, 10:36 AM
Wow! This is the most responsive forum I've ever seen. Thank you guys. Really takes a lot of the questions away from these old boats, especially for someone who's not too familiar with them.

Anyway, after reading all the replies here, and weighing the time/effort/money/space thing, I think I've decided to look for a more complete boat. I don't mind the work, but I'm put off by the missing interior, the cut decking and the "mods". I do dig the jet drive for its uniqueness, but I'm more familiar with the Bravo platform. So, that being said, I'll be in the market for a 60s barrelback. Don't mind doing paint/glass work, but I'd like it to be mostly original. I still want to pick up a project, that's ready for a Bravo and a SBC of some sort, because that'll lend itself well to an LS swap. If anyone's got one, let me know! I'll be purchasing in the next few weeks to months.

I went back to the boat today, and it was very apparent what was hacked up/changed. I loved the boat, but need something more complete. Here are a few examples of the butchering it received:
85441
85442

My current Donzi, more or less sponsored by aqua buff :)
85440
85443

DownByTheRiver
11-23-2016, 10:45 AM
Here's my current frame off project that's almost finished (believe it or not). 1968 c10 with 5.3 & homemade turbo kit, custom Strange gears Ford 9", 4L80e that I built myself, yada yada yada:

85444
85447
85445

And my other "Z", however neglected it may be at the moment:
85446



So, as you can see, I'm not afraid of work, just looking to make my life a little easier. I've always been told to buy the best body I can find. Ideally, I'd get a late 60s 18' that needs an engine/outdrive setup. I'd like to throw an LS with an MSD box and a Holley into something.

Morgan's Cloud
11-23-2016, 12:23 PM
You might have made the right decision . That thing had definitely had some strange mods done . It almost looks like the engine hatch deck area was shortened . It's also been painted so you never know what you're getting into if whoever did it cut all sorts of corners .
Keep looking but IMO see if whatever you find , no matter how much of a clunker it might be , has the original glass and gel work.

yeller
11-23-2016, 01:02 PM
It's entirely possible its not even a real Donzi. Could easily be a copy someone made.

I like your thinking on the C10 project..........love homemade turbo builds. :yes:

If you're thinking about doing an LS in your next boat, you might be interested in my project (which I'm documenting on this site). I'm in the process of putting a LS3 in my 22.

woobs
11-23-2016, 02:07 PM
It's entirely possible its not even a real Donzi. Could easily be a copy someone made....

The more pictures of this boat I see, the more I agree with you!

BTW: Love the C-10.

Morgan's Cloud
11-23-2016, 02:07 PM
It's entirely possible its not even a real Donzi. Could easily be a copy someone made.



That certainly is another possibility .

wwahl
11-23-2016, 06:43 PM
While you are searching watch out for some things (I'm sure others will add to this).

Number one to me is a gas tank problem. The tanks were steel and foamed in. Water in the gas eats these out from the inside. The repair requires splitting the deck from the hull.

Number two is the earlier boats had plycore tops that had balsa wood between the layers. The insides would get saturated with water.

Number three is water saturated stringers and/or stern where wood is part of the deal. Then, of course, there is all the stuff with the engine and stern drive.


Wow! This is the most responsive forum I've ever seen. Thank you guys. Really takes a lot of the questions away from these old boats, especially for someone who's not too familiar with them.

Anyway, after reading all the replies here, and weighing the time/effort/money/space thing, I think I've decided to look for a more complete boat. I don't mind the work, but I'm put off by the missing interior, the cut decking and the "mods". I do dig the jet drive for its uniqueness, but I'm more familiar with the Bravo platform. So, that being said, I'll be in the market for a 60s barrelback. Don't mind doing paint/glass work, but I'd like it to be mostly original. I still want to pick up a project, that's ready for a Bravo and a SBC of some sort, because that'll lend itself well to an LS swap. If anyone's got one, let me know! I'll be purchasing in the next few weeks to months.

I went back to the boat today, and it was very apparent what was hacked up/changed. I loved the boat, but need something more complete. Here are a few examples of the butchering it received:
85441
85442

My current Donzi, more or less sponsored by aqua buff :)
85440
85443

Trueser
11-24-2016, 08:38 AM
Just reread what I posted. Man, am I in a pissy mood. :biggrin.:

If you like the boat, go for it. There's a few on this site that like foolishly spending their money, may as well join the club. (Not me though...I'm much to level headed for that. :rolleyes:)

Yup, foolishly

LOL

Ghost
11-24-2016, 10:55 AM
It's a disease. :)

woobs
11-24-2016, 04:02 PM
But, it's still cheaper than therapy.

f_inscreenname
11-24-2016, 11:04 PM
Where is the boat? Maybe one of us has more drive then brains.

Scott Pearson
11-26-2016, 08:52 AM
Had to jump in on this one. Its clearly not a Donzi. Its some sort of clone. Not sure who the manufacture is but its definitely not a Donzi. If you really want to have a classic Donzi make sure it really is one so when you invest all the time and money into one it will truly be what it really is and hold it value somewhat.

With that being said I would keep looking for a nice 18 project. There are a lot of them out there and you can find great deals on them as well.

DownByTheRiver
11-30-2016, 06:41 PM
Wow, so not even a real donzi? Good thing i passed :rlol:

The boat is located in Jacksonville, FL if anyone is remotely interested.

Thank you for the tips on what to look for in a boat. Any other advice on major issues? Any specific years to look for? I do like the x18, but feel like I'll end up with a 60s 18.

mattyboy
12-04-2016, 08:42 AM
for future reference if someone finds 16 to 18 foot donzi that the liner has been cut out of it is most likely a Vance