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Best Chris Craft- Barrel back or racing runabout?

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jschwamm
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Best Chris Craft- Barrel back or racing runabout?

Post by jschwamm » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:50 pm

Wanted to get some input on which of these boats people feel are the best handling/riding of the Chris Craft. 1949-54 racing runabout or the collectible barrel back with MBL engine.
Can experts give me the rundown on each for handling/ride/ collectability and style?
Have my choices narrowed down to these models, but am a novice.
Of course will buy the best I can find of final choice model.
And wondering if one should have the sides and decks glued, or backed with backing to attach to for less chance of cracking/shrinking in dry climate?
Thanks,
John

jim g
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Re: Best Chris Craft- Barrel back or racing runabout?

Post by jim g » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:14 pm

The Barrelback will be the best riding one. The Racing Runabouts where built for speed. Flatter bottom so they are rougher riding in choppy water.

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Don Vogt
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Re: Best Chris Craft- Barrel back or racing runabout?

Post by Don Vogt » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:31 am

epoxy-ing will definitely avoid the inevitable opening of seams that would otherwise occur in hot dry weather in the summer. Those properly done that way have a thin sheet of plywood underneath the planking.

For reasons that escape me, the barrelback has a devoted following and the prices have been stronger than the rr. Both are in higher demand than most of the other smaller runabouts. a split cockpit is different, however, in terms of sociability if you are typically taking another couple, for example, along for a ride. the first part of the rr run had painted sides, etc. As people tend to prefer the varnished models, there has been an effort to fake the age of some of the boats by varnishing earlier models and claiming they were part of the later run. So you need to be aware of that.

I think the rr is considered the better handling hull.

there are lots of other great models out there so no need to necessarily be exclusively focused on those two. One basic question to ask is how you plan to use the boat. Just because there has been this "obsession" in the boat culture with these two models, doesnt necessarily mean one has to follow the herd. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
1938 Chris Craft 17' Deluxe Runabout "Jennifer II"

jschwamm
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Re: Best Chris Craft- Barrel back or racing runabout?

Post by jschwamm » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:25 pm

Would adding the plywood sheathing for epoxy attachment to back the planking affect the originality/collectability aspect?
I sure think it would help eliminate any seam crack/shrink issues.
Thanks,
John

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Don Vogt
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Re: Best Chris Craft- Barrel back or racing runabout?

Post by Don Vogt » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:00 pm

Hi John, actually the plywood sheets are placed on the frames and then the planks are epoxied to the plywood.

You can check the acbs and tahoe scorecards to see the actual point deductions if you are shooting for a concours level restoration. I had my decks done that way for exactly that reason and it was a relatively minor deduction as I recall that didnt really affect getting top honors in both instances. You can check with people who use their wood boats where you will be using yours to see what kind of a problem you might face. In my case, I didnt want the prospect of seams opening up on the deck and in my mind, ruining the look. It is conceivable that some potential buyers down the road mind have some concerns but they might also have concerns in the alternative if there are seams showing. we moor our boat all summer long at our dock (under cover) where it is often over 90 for long stretches with low humidity and there has been absolutely no movement in the more than 10 years since restoration.
1938 Chris Craft 17' Deluxe Runabout "Jennifer II"

jschwamm
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Re: Best Chris Craft- Barrel back or racing runabout?

Post by jschwamm » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:28 pm

Don,
Thanks, that is what I had been told, so that is the direction on deck/side const.
Now just need some further info on RR vs. barrel back on which one is best choice. I do like the RR longer front deck look, rear cockpit is not the best for guests, but not my priority. Stern on barrel is classic too, so tough choices. Will need one needing all work to do the build right. Ballpark cost for ground up build by professional, assuming all parts there useable?
Best value/ride/handling/collectability. And input from others on each is appreciated. Being a novice I only want to have one one done right to fit dry AZ climate!
Thanks for any and all suggestions/advice, pro or con.
John

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Don Vogt
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Re: Best Chris Craft- Barrel back or racing runabout?

Post by Don Vogt » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:05 am

John, i will send you a private message. a bottom up concours level restoration by a top restorer could easily get into 6 figures. It would be unusual if you could ever recover restoration costs in a subsequent sale. Barrel backs are higher priced in the market than racing runabouts. my suggestion is to find some owners and go out in these boats for a spin and decide what you like. You should enjoy the restoration process and subsequent use but dont expect to make any money out of it. So far at least this is not like autos where you can find a derelict '30s rolls, put $300 K in a restoration and hold it ten years and sell it for a million.
1938 Chris Craft 17' Deluxe Runabout "Jennifer II"

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