There aren't many things about which hard-core Chris-Craft enthusiasts will agree, but ask about the 25' Sportsman, and you'll hear almost universal acclaim. While the 22' Sportsman (U-22) was the model of which Chris-Craft built the most boats (over 4000 built), a great deal of extra care and craftsmanship was spent on the 25' version (208 total built). They were deluxe, desirable, and expensive; the spiritual successor to the pre-war triple cockpit runabout.
Chris-Craft built the 22' version with cedar topsides, painted white, immediately after WWII ended, until the mahogany supplies caught back up with production. They chose, however, to "temporarily discontinue" production of the 25' version in 1947, indicating how seriously Chris-Craft valued the 25' Sportsman as the "flagship" of the line.
The 25' Sportsman is a big boat, beam of 7'9", 25" draft, and weight of 3800 to 4300#, depending on engine options. Oh yes, engine options, ranging from a Chris-Craft 130 hp Model "M", to the mighty Scripps 225 hp Model 208. Pricing in 1948 ranged from $5100 to $6970, plus $795 for the "streamlined ventilating cabin". A total of 48 25’ SP’s with this option were produced and about 8 are known to survive. The 25' came standard with leather upholstery, another indication of its' position in the Chris-Craft lineup.
"Barnwood" is among the rarest of the rare: One of only 208 total 25'
Sportsman models built, but only 38 were equipped with the Scripps engine, probably because it cost $1000 (or about 15%) more than the next lesser engine option. What's more, this boat is also equipped with the optional "streamlined ventilating cabin", making it one of only eight with both the hardtop and the Scripps engine options, and the only known remaining example. At a total cost of $7765 for this Sportsman, one could have parked both a Cadillac, and a Chrysler Town and Country convertible in the garage for the same money!
"Barnwood" was delivered new to Salt Lake City, UT in 1948, migrating to Montana in the 1950’s. Her life there is substantiated by extensive records from the late 1950’s on through to the mid-1970’s. In 2009, she was purchased from the estate of a long-term owner in Kalispell, MT by well known Montana restorer Steve Nickol. Steve had known of the boat for 35 years and leapt at the chance to convey this rare and soundly preserved boat to an owner who would undertake a complete, but sympathetic, restoration. Stored in a shed since 1975, she was incredibly well preserved. There was no rot, weather, or rodent damage, which made for an excellent candidate for a true and accurate preservation – a rare opportunity indeed.
Upon acquisition by the present owner, the boat was inspected and documented by well known classic boat researcher and restorer Brian Robinson, who found her to be the best preserved example of a 25’ Sportsman he had seen, so good, in fact, that she would serve as a new reference point for originality.
Consistent with the ideals of the new owners, the original six cylinder Scripps model 208 engine of 225 hp and 678 CID, along with the transmission and all ancillary equipment, were completely rebuilt by McNeilly Marine Service in Seattle, and the engine has accrued approximately 6 operating hours since. The 17" by 23" propeller allows the torque-y Scripps to plane the boat at 1100 RPM, cruise comfortably in the 30 MPH range, and exceed 40 MPH at top speed. The instruments were original and in exceptional condition, as was all wiring. The gauges worked as new as soon as the engine started – after nearly 4 decades of storage. The large displacement Scripps engine required a12 volt electrical system, as opposed to the industry standard 6 volt system of the time, so no changes were required.
The original green leather seating surfaces were so well preserved that only deep cleaning and conditioning was required to return them to excellent condition, evidencing the incredible state of preservation of the whole boat. The leather engine box covering and the crash pads required replacement due to shrinkage and drying, but an exact texture match was found and the color was duplicated, using the original pieces. The headliner and canvas exterior cabin top were replaced with material identical to existing original. New "battleship" linoleum flooring was installed. The original optional equipment, the Half-Mile Ray spotlight and electric bilge pump (as found in the original production record) were retained and found to be fully operational.
The interior wood surfaces were so well preserved that they did not need to be stripped – only a single coat of varnish was required to return them to lustrous original appearance. Several hull side planks were replaced to correct repairs done 40+ years ago, which used short pieces of incorrect wood species. The transom was replaced for the same reasons, as well as to correct damage caused by an outboard motor mount. The decks and covering boards are original, as is approximately 90% of the rest of the wood. While extensive re-fastening was undertaken, none of the "modern" glues or epoxies were employed, as the owners wished to retain the original "feel" of the 1948 craftsmanship. The original bottom was examined carefully, and found to be in excellent condition, requiring only refastening and caulking.
A new custom built steel Ryan trailer with electric trailer brakes and a new custom-fit mooring/storage cover are also included in the sale. Extremely detailed records of the complete restoration process are available, and included in the sale.
No expense has been spared in the effort to preserve and present this true survivor boat with wonderful patina – an authentically prepared and presented boat that can be both used and displayed. It is as close to as-delivered, 1948 condition as is possible today. "Barnwood" has been honored as the Antique and Classic Boat Society "Best Preserved" boat of 2012. She also was First in Class at the 2011 Tahoe Concours d’Elegance.
Preservation completed by:
Lake Oswego Boat Company – Mike Mayer, Portland, OR & Judge - ACBS
Jack’s Custom Upholstery – Jack Mayeuax – Tigard, OR
McNeilly Marine Service – Seattle, WA.
Priced at $175,000 U.S. Dollars