The New Classics: Heritage-Inspired Dreamboats

by Matt Forcey

Earlier today, the Thayer IV, took to the water, on a lake in Minnesota, for the first time since it’s near-complete restoration.  Few probably know that this boat, a 1950 Chris-Craft Sportsman, was featured in several scenes in the Oscar-winning movie “On Golden Pond“.

For me, that boat was the highlight of the movie.  Ever since being conscripted to watch the Hepburn / Fonda melodrama with my folks when I was younger (it’s not a kid flick), I have been infatuated with older Chris-Craft runabouts.  These dames were endowed with an elegance and character that I didn’t see in the motorboats produced during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s (even those built by Chris-Craft).  

In 2000, Chris-Craft was sold out of bankruptcy to Stephen Julius, who also owned the iconic brands Indian Motorcycles and Riva (Italian boat maker – remember the boat chase in the third Indiana Jones movie?).  Mr. Julius, who seems to be, like myself, inspired by history, set out to re-establish Chris-Craft’s image of luxury.  From a design standpoint, this meant introducing new models that harkened back to Chris-Craft’s heyday in the 50s.  All new models were united by distinctive design flairs, such as the classic reverse transom and a flared bow.   

Chris-Craft and their European competitors now offer a fleet of aristocratic, yet seductive, motorboats that infuse classic design with contemporary technology.  As evidenced by the number of industry awards bestowed on these boats, this is apparently what the boating crowd desires. 

Now, although I’m still counting my nickels and dimes, I do of course have a wish list in my head for when that day arrives where I can motor off into the sunset.  Here are my current favorites… which will hopefully have made their way to the pre-owned market by the time I’m ready to buy:

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This last video is a bit of fun, and features a Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS versus the Aquariva Super in a port to port race.  Enjoy.


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