Membership in the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club provides many benefits, including receipt of The Brass Bell, the award-winning quarterly print magazine of the CCABC. Additionally, there are a variety of online benefits available on the CCABC Website, including a hull registry, the Boat Buzz discussion forum, the Trading Dock classified ads, a member directory, and a number of discounts. But, in particular, membership entitles you to access to the Club’s comprehensive online historical archives.
The archives are a convenient way to view sales brochures and other documents that the Club has acquired over the years. Along with photos and specifications of nearly every model ever built by Chris-Craft, members may view operator booklets and repair manuals for engines, transmissions, and other mechanical systems.
I confess I had never explored the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club archives until recently when I purchased a 1932 Chris-Craft 15 ½-foot Model 300 Runabout, which was, at best, a gray boat in need of total restoration. The boat was substantially complete, except for the instrument panel and gauges, which would probably be worth as much as I paid for the boat. It came with two mostly complete Chrysler Four, Model UM, four-cylinder, 55 horsepower engines, one assembled and one disassembled. Missing were the transmission and the carburetor.
Since I had never seen an actual example of this type of boat in person, and had seen only a few photos of one online, I was anxious to see what information was available. I already had the hull card and the hull ID, engine, and prop tags, all of which came with the boat.
A Google search for “1932+Chris-Craft+Model+300” found 1,280,000 results in only 0.67 seconds. Certainly, Google took some liberties in broadly interpreting my selection criteria, inasmuch as fewer than a handful of the results were actually pertinent. The helpful results included a couple of classified ad listings with some nice photos, a YouTube video of a Model 300 taking its first sea trial, a Facebook page with additional photos, and some back and forth on the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club BoatBuzz forum about the proper location of the fuse box.
Next, from my own personal library, I consulted the Jerry Conrad book entitled, Chris-Craft, The Essential Guide, which is commonly referred to among members of the antique and classic boating community as the “Bible.” This provided a one-page recitation of some key specifications for the boat, which, conveniently, happened to be on page one, following the Introduction.
Also from my library, in their book, Chris-Craft Boats, authors Anthony Mollica, Jr. and Jack Savage, mentioned the boat and discussed the “Level Riding” concept being promoted in Chris-Craft advertisements from 1932 – 1934. Though not providing any additional information about the specifications for the boat, the authors did provide some historical perspective, including the impact on Chris-Craft Corporation of the Great Depression.
Having some, but not all, of what I was seeking, I next turned to the historic archives on the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club Website. A search using the same selection criteria as I used with Google yielded some great results, including the following:
- Several Chris-Craft brochures advertisements about the boat, emphasizing the new “Level Riding” concept
- A Chris-Craft specifications sheet for all 1932 models
- A Chris-Craft Hull Parts List specific to the 1932 15 1/2-foot Runabout, and
- A 120-page Chris-Craft Dealer Manual for 1932, containing a literal plethora of fascinating information about Chris-Craft, in general, and my boat, in particular.
In addition to these references, I still have available the CCABC member directory and the Boat Buzz forum, along with some personal relationships I have built in the antique and classic boating community, a couple of whom happen to own this very model of Chris-Craft, to advise me and help me accumulate the information and resources I need to take on the full restoration of my gray boat.
Of course, I should mention that boatXchg.com provides an exhaustive list of suppliers, service providers, and other resources available to help me with restoration, engine parts and rebuilding, parts and accessories, chrome plating, upholstery, fasteners, tools, stripper, sealer, stain, paint, and varnish; or for that matter, pretty much any other resource I could possibly need to restore an antique 1932 Chris-Craft 15 ½-foot Model 300 Runabout. Beyond that, it is up to me to provide the time, money, skills, and effort to make it happen. That’s the hard part.
We encourage you to join the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club, which you can do by selecting the Join option under the Membership tab on their Website. Then you too can enjoy the world of benefits provided to you by being a member of the CCABC.