37' Italian (Avery) Chris Craft Corvette ( From Herb Pocklington )

37' Italian (Avery) Chris Craft Corvette ( From Herb Pocklington )

Paul
Paul

August 10th, 2009, 11:33 pm #1

Hello Commander fans, here is yet another priceless look into the inner workings at Chris Craft "back when". Where else are you going to hear a tale like this, except from "the man" who was there, Herb Pocklington? Answer: nowhere else. This is great fun Herb, thanks again for sharing this info, we enjoy knowing and learning about how the Chris Craft empire worked in various parts of the world.

Paul




-------------------------------------------------------------------------


From: HLPocklington
Sent: Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:53 PM
To: Pau1 P1etcher
Subject: - 37' Corvette Exclusive release

Paul, in the seventies while President of Chris-Craft Italia, I asked Dick Avery to come over, inhale a lot of the just-emerging, flamboyant Italian design - then restyle our deep-vee, twin-Diesel 37-footer in true Italian style. Boy, did he!

(But first, we asked Pompano Beach HQ to extend (all in forward bow-reach) their 36' wood Corvette and ship us a mould so we could build it in fiberglass. (When the US President du jour heard about it he sent word that I should not proceed - which I could and did ignore as we were an arms-length subsidiary). It did very well for a few years, but Mediterranean dealers said it would sell like hell with a real, (read, flamboyant, non-Chris-Craft) totally Italian "look."

Here are some photos of the fantastically successful, top-performing, truly Italian, "Ricardo" Avery 37' Chris-Craft Corvette.

It was also extremely profitable for, as a new look in a deep-vee fiberglass cruisers with two Diesels, I did not hesitate to price it accordingly. There must still be a lot of them around in Europe. I know of fifty of them - the factory's last order, sort of custom-built for that stellar yachtsman Colonel Muammar Gadhaffi (yes, that one) who, for some reason, wanted all the fore decks to be well-reinforced.

Note, I returned from Europe without photos, so credit my daughter Kathi Pocklington who saved and handed them to my yesterday. Enjoy, Herb


Ricardo Avery 37' Corvette

Muted Italian decor






From: HLPocklington
Sent: Sunday, August 09, 2009 9:00 PM
To: Pau1 P1etcher
Subject: Re: Avery Corvette

The US version could be called a test, because the first (MAYBE ONLY) Jim Wynne hull on a larger Chris. I believe it was not a roaring success in the States, but it seemed like a good idea to me. We made it a very good idea with twin Fiat/Aifo 6-cylinder Diesels in a fiberglas hull. The performance was excellent

In a message dated 8/9/2009 9:51:56 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, PPletcher writes:

Got it!

Riccardo did a nice job! Was the wood version of this boat with it's v-drive and 427 power a market test for the US market?

Regards,

Paul












Paul's added note: In American form, this was a wood boat with twin 427 V-drives installed, in true offshore racing fashion! There are still a few around, and they would be a heck of a collectors item if you can find one in decent shape.
Last edited by FEfinaticP on September 5th, 2009, 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

August 11th, 2009, 9:39 pm #2

I sent a note to Herb saying that I thought he missed an opportunity to sell to the Italian market, and in comes this photo, ha!



Paul
Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

January 9th, 2010, 11:58 am #3



In the Essential Guide, it is noted that one (1) of these hulls were built in fiberglass, but then there is another note saying this hull series was built in Fiumicino, Italy.

Very interesting to know our Commander friend, Herb Pocklington is actually "the man" behind this boat, having commissioned Dick Avery to "do something Italian-style" based on the wood Chris Craft Corvette.


Here is a photo of Herb opening the Italian Chris Craft plant, with a representative from the Pope sitting in the audience.


Herb was in charge of Chris Craft European operations, and this particular Corvette is his pet project, wrested from corporate US and produced in significant and profitable numbers in Italy, with diesel power. It's a good looking boat and could well have been called a Commander, although the Corvette name goes well with the character of this narrow beam deep-V offshore speedster.

In US form, the boat was built of wood in 1968 and 1969, 34 hulls were built, using 327Q or 427 power transmitted via V-drive. This is a Jim Wynne inspired boat and it apparently didn't inspire too many people at Chris Craft Corporate, as this model didn't survive very long. Most people were probably looking for someting a little more family-cruiser oriented, than the offshore racer format. Herb, on the other hand, took a liking to the boat, and got one shipped to Italy where they pulled a mold in fiberglass and used diesel power for the Italian Mediterranean market. Herb told me one day that "we sold a lot of them", so I am sure there are sure to be survivors still running on the Mediterranean now.

Since some of this information is still considered "classified", and some is SBU ( "sensitive but unclassified" ), much of the information Herb and I discussed was done under cover of darkness.


One of the highlights of my boating career was to bring Herb Pocklington and Chris Smith together at a Commander Rendezvous, and what a pleasure it was to see these two guys having fun, talking about fiberglass classics, and being able to share a few moments with them.


Below are a few other boats Herb was responsible for in Europe. Quite a fascinaing history, and so much more to learn!












In case anyone is wondering, FART in Swedish is "FAST", and Herb told me that when this ad was ready to run, a nervous editor brought it to him saying "we have a problem", and after very careful review it was allowed to run as shown below! Pretty funny.




Regards,

Paul






Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

January 9th, 2010, 12:38 pm #4

I forgot to mention a couple other points about Herb. Of course we know he was a boyhood friend of Chris Smith, both from Algonac, and they both worked at Chris Craft. What may not be so well known to Chris Craft guys, is the fact that when Chris Craft came under new management and things started going from good to bad, Herb moved to Hatteras, where he served as President of Hatteras Yachts International, a company with 10,000 or more employees, from 1975 to 1992. I'm very please that Herb took the time to write the forward, "Canvas to Fiberglass" in my recent publication, "The Legacy of the Fiberglass Chris Craft Commander". What an honor that is for me! Herb remains a very close friend of Dick Avery, and was kind enough to personally deliver a copy of this book to Mr. Avery. Just a heck of a nice guy.

Here (below) is the world release of this article in electronic form, and yes, this article is formally copyrighted, but it is submitted here for your personal enjoyment and personal use.







Regards,

Paul
Last edited by FEfinaticP on January 9th, 2010, 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

October 15th, 2010, 2:44 pm #5

It was such a pleasure to be with Herb Pocklington and Chris Smith again (at Bay Harbor) this year. Those guys are so laid back and friendly, and they know so much about boating and boat history, I always learn something. They have such great senses of humor too! I laughed out loud on more than one occasion. I got a chance to visit with them together, and individually, having the pleasure of being at the awards banquet table with Herb. Chris elaborated on how they tested some of the early Commanders, and what a fascinating life these boys have had. Chris, in particular, got off on the Jim Wynne lifting strakes, and although these do work on the smaller boats of course (19' and 23' hulls), being tried and true in offshore racing, Chris looked at these with disdain on the larger boats. He said he took one test hull they had produced and did some grinding and filled in some material and looked at me with a smile, and said the boat went faster with his modifications. Ha, what a hoot. He also gave me some advice on my 23' Lancer 427 project, and he didn't bat an eye when I told him about the big motor going in that boat. You may have seen the commpent posted elsewhere on the forum, but the photo below with Chris in his Sea Skiff, was taken moments after I shook his hand, he complimented me by saying "you did a good job" with my presentation, and I told him he looked like the pope. He got quite a chuckle out of that, as the photo will show. Antique and Classic boating, sure brings out the nicest people! At that point the tow vehicle started to pull away with Chris still standing there, and several people began commenting about the Pope!!




When it comes to classic Chris Craft boating, it doesn't get much better than these two guys.
The guy we were missing was Dick Avery, how much fun would that have been!??
We tried to get Dick and Maureen there, perhaps next year.

Herb spoke about the marketing of the 19' boat in Europe and told the story about how his marketing guys ran into his office one day saying "WE HAVE A PROBLEM". The new ad had the word "FART" in big letters across the page, and in Swedish it ment FAST. Everyone enjoyed the story and of course Herb said to run the ad like it was. Now I am wondering about the production of these boats. I wish I had asked the question. I sent Herb a note about his European production, and wanted a clarificatin regarding the 19' Commander series. I want to know if they were selling an American built product, or whether this boat was actually made in Italy, using American V8 power. I'll post the info when I get the answer.

Regards,

Paul

Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

October 27th, 2010, 4:13 pm #6

Hello Commander fans, here is yet another priceless look into the inner workings at Chris Craft "back when". Where else are you going to hear a tale like this, except from "the man" who was there, Herb Pocklington? Answer: nowhere else. This is great fun Herb, thanks again for sharing this info, we enjoy knowing and learning about how the Chris Craft empire worked in various parts of the world.

Paul




-------------------------------------------------------------------------


From: HLPocklington
Sent: Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:53 PM
To: Pau1 P1etcher
Subject: - 37' Corvette Exclusive release

Paul, in the seventies while President of Chris-Craft Italia, I asked Dick Avery to come over, inhale a lot of the just-emerging, flamboyant Italian design - then restyle our deep-vee, twin-Diesel 37-footer in true Italian style. Boy, did he!

(But first, we asked Pompano Beach HQ to extend (all in forward bow-reach) their 36' wood Corvette and ship us a mould so we could build it in fiberglass. (When the US President du jour heard about it he sent word that I should not proceed - which I could and did ignore as we were an arms-length subsidiary). It did very well for a few years, but Mediterranean dealers said it would sell like hell with a real, (read, flamboyant, non-Chris-Craft) totally Italian "look."

Here are some photos of the fantastically successful, top-performing, truly Italian, "Ricardo" Avery 37' Chris-Craft Corvette.

It was also extremely profitable for, as a new look in a deep-vee fiberglass cruisers with two Diesels, I did not hesitate to price it accordingly. There must still be a lot of them around in Europe. I know of fifty of them - the factory's last order, sort of custom-built for that stellar yachtsman Colonel Muammar Gadhaffi (yes, that one) who, for some reason, wanted all the fore decks to be well-reinforced.

Note, I returned from Europe without photos, so credit my daughter Kathi Pocklington who saved and handed them to my yesterday. Enjoy, Herb


Ricardo Avery 37' Corvette

Muted Italian decor






From: HLPocklington
Sent: Sunday, August 09, 2009 9:00 PM
To: Pau1 P1etcher
Subject: Re: Avery Corvette

The US version could be called a test, because the first (MAYBE ONLY) Jim Wynne hull on a larger Chris. I believe it was not a roaring success in the States, but it seemed like a good idea to me. We made it a very good idea with twin Fiat/Aifo 6-cylinder Diesels in a fiberglas hull. The performance was excellent

In a message dated 8/9/2009 9:51:56 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, PPletcher writes:

Got it!

Riccardo did a nice job! Was the wood version of this boat with it's v-drive and 427 power a market test for the US market?

Regards,

Paul












Paul's added note: In American form, this was a wood boat with twin 427 V-drives installed, in true offshore racing fashion! There are still a few around, and they would be a heck of a collectors item if you can find one in decent shape.
Now after seeing the glamour of the marketing presentation, here is the reality of a survivor, with Perkins diesels, in Italy. There are undoubtedly many such Chris Craft boats still afloat and viable for use and restoration.





Regards,

Paul
Quote
Share

thibaud
thibaud

October 28th, 2010, 8:00 pm #7

Hi Paul,

From what I see on the pics, the boat has a Corsican (hence French) registration.

For what it's worth.

thibaud
Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

October 28th, 2010, 8:52 pm #8

I appreciate the correction.

Regards,

Paul
Quote
Share