View Full Version : California Formula Jr

04-17-2017, 04:45 PM
Thanks to Woobs, I picked up a Formula Jr here in California.

When I first arrived at the boat, I immediately thought that I should have driven past the boat and kept going.
The wheels and tires were buried 7" deep into the ground, the trailer was really deteriorating, and the inside of the boat was filled with dirt, leaves, spiders, etc...

I had just dropped off a 37 Garwood I had just sold so I was there anyway

I was very skeptical to even attempt a 10 hr drive back up north.
Spent a few hours at the trailer store trying to figure out what to do.
The hubs were free. Loaded them up with grease to be safe.
The original tires were basically square, so I went and bought 2 new tires just to get me home.
Didn't make it all 10 hrs on the new tires, but that is a whole different story.
Trailer needs major work including bigger tires HAHA

She is currently at my brothers and will be coming home soon.
I did start the cleaning process when I did get to its current location.
Filled a large dumpster up with tons of junk from inside the boat, gave it a nice wash and scrub and she now looks great.

Very original boat
The sides of the boat and the transom are in excellent condition. The deck has a small smash in the front stbd corner.
The gel coat is very dry on the deck to the point where there are tiny tiny dots like it is porous.
This boat used to race up in Chicago back in the day.
It has the Incline 6 mercruiser 150 and the 160 Mercruiser drive which will be replaced. I want a v8
Attached are pics of it and the original brochures that are in fantastic shape for their age

Not a ton will be done to this boat. I will swap engine and drive, new interior, figure out the fuel tank as the one in there has to be shot.858328583385834

04-17-2017, 04:47 PM

The original windshield is in my truck and it is in great shape

Morgan's Cloud
04-17-2017, 04:57 PM
That's a whole lot of 'originality' there . Great catch .

Just Say N20
04-17-2017, 06:51 PM
They always look bad when you first see them. But the after a good cleaning, you can see things more correctly.

Looks like it has tremendous potential!

Scott Pearson
04-17-2017, 07:13 PM
Nice Find!

04-17-2017, 08:12 PM
So I have a question for all you mechanics.

The boat has a Merc 150 6 cyl and a Merc 160 drive.

I want to change out both.

I have a spare low hrs 350 engine mated to an Alpha One.
Is that a good enough drive and will it fit right in?
I actually prefer the Volvo because I know how to work on them and I don't have to pull the engine every time I need to fix something with the drive.

Will the volvo 270/280 fit without replacing the transom. I have heard it does, but I also heard that the hole will just need to be made wider.

What would you all do?


04-18-2017, 12:17 AM
Glad you got her home! She looks a whole lot better in YOUR pictures but, I think she is worth restoring.
Oh, if you make any copies of those ADs I love a set :)

P.S. My Jr. was (and is) in far, far worse shape (and I drove Toronto to Miami for her)

chip w
04-18-2017, 09:25 AM
What a great find. That really cleaned up nicely. You'll be really happy with that and I'm sure the project will be as enjoyable as using it. Maybe even more so.

Greg Guimond
04-18-2017, 10:04 AM
First off, congrats and thanks for saving one! Second, what year is it? Third, coming soon "Outboard", very very interesting :yes:

04-18-2017, 08:20 PM
Congrats on a beautiful boat!!

As for engine, I'm thinking LS9 and for the outdrive, how about an IMCO with a -2 lower? :)

04-18-2017, 09:27 PM
These boats are a light layup. They are not as sturdy as a Donzi 16 so, when you're thinking drivetrain..... think light!

A SBF is 100lbs. less than a SBC (as well as narrower and not as tall). An Alpha drive is 85lbs. Aluminum heads, intake manifold and a lightweight SS Hi-Tek exhaust system will all pay dividends. Further, a SBF can make very good reliable power... But, that's just my plan for my Jr.

Just say'n...

04-18-2017, 09:40 PM
I too had my interest peaked by the "coming soon" declaration..... first I've heard of it. I wonder if they ever made any? Are there printing dates on those ADs?

I have pictures of this Jr. with a whacker-on-the-backer... but, I assumed it was a conversion. Maybe not? Too bad there's no shot of the stern.

Kenny n.
04-18-2017, 10:12 PM
I have only seen 1 of these about 30 years ago when a customer brought one in for a shift cable replacement. As far as the Volvo transom plate, yes the Volvo is larger and will cover the Mercruiser pattern. I replaced several Mercs with a Volvo package.

04-19-2017, 12:36 AM
Ive got a really good feeling that an LS9 will not be going into this boat.

Sounds like a 270/280 for the drive and either a 302, 351, 289, or 350.
I have a good running 350. I can lighten it with aluminum exhaust, intake, etc...
Just don't know how well it will fit.

There is no date on these brochures

Kenny n.
04-19-2017, 09:53 PM
A 302 with a 347 stroker would be sweet. The 280 Volvo transom plates can be a real PITA to change the hydraulic lines and the rams are hard to remove if it was in salt water. The 290 version is a little easier . Another thing to consider is an old OMC Cobra transom plate since they used Ford engines. Then get Stern Drive Engineering Alpha with the OMC conversion kit.

04-20-2017, 06:49 AM
The plan for my Formula Jr. included a 347 stroker. At several points through my research I have been cautioned about this plan as the 347 has some compromises...
For one, really short piston skirts and some other clearancing issues that must be done to accommodate that kit. The alternative is a 331 stroker kit without any issues that is just a tad more sedate but, a whole lot more robust. A wee bit more power or, longevity and peace of mind... The choice is yours.

Kenny n.
04-20-2017, 09:49 AM
I had forgotten about talking to a "STANG BANGER" some years ago and you are right about the 331 for longevity. He said that the 331 was much better than having the piston problems with the 347 that he experienced.