A visit with Freeman C ( he has been very busy, Commander-style )

A visit with Freeman C ( he has been very busy, Commander-style )

Paul
Paul

July 2nd, 2012, 2:19 am #1

Today I drove out to a beautiful rural area near Lebanon, Tennessee and had a nice visit with my buddy, Freeman, who is busy at work on three boats simultaneously. It reminds me of Jerry, and I trust Jerry and Freeman would be the best of friends in a nanosecond because they share the same spirit (as many of us to here on THE FORUM).

Being from Lebanon, Freeman has hunted down THE LAST BOAT built by the Partee Boat Company, which was based in Lebanon, Tennessee. He also hunted down a very nice 31 Commander Express with a pair of very low hour 327F motors, and NOW..............drumroll please............he has one of 25 1970 427-powered 23' v-drive Lancer Premier models, which in more than just essence, is for all practical purposes a Commander with a Lancer badge.

The 23 Lancer Premier has taken precedence in his shop, but I noticed the Partee has varnish fresh enough to smell, so it is obvious Freeman is having a good time with boats.

I got the full tour, and guys, this fellow is serious about his boats and he is doing it right.

Here is the main focus for now, with good reason. This is one of 25 built in 1970, and there were no more. The gelcoat is being buffed and expertly repaired, the interior is gutted down to the bilge coat and everything is being properly redone.






More photos to follow.

Regards,

Paul



Last edited by FEfinaticP on July 20th, 2012, 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Paul
Paul

July 2nd, 2012, 2:32 am #2

Here are a few more photos from my iPhone, and I will upload some better ones I took with a real camera tomorrow.

The big Paragon v-drive is just a brutal looking piece of industrial hardware. Note the heavy gauge solid steel plate bolted to the sides of this unit to help distribute the stress. I guess that plate solved the problem like a sledge hammer driving a tack.

Regards,

Paul

Here you an see the bilge is in the process of being cleaned up and painted.
Photo below shows off that Jim Wynne designed 24-degree deadrise.






































Last edited by FEfinaticP on July 2nd, 2012, 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Paul
Paul

July 2nd, 2012, 3:06 am #3

During my visit we pulled out the propeller that came with the boat and it was a 3474RH which upon getting back home to my database appears to be a 14 x 14 RH on a 1-1/4 shaft. This one was Nibral and had a slight cup. Based on the prop, there is no way the Paragon v-drive is anything other than direct drive, so just for grins I did a calculation using a 15% slippage/drag number and with this prop the boat should be in the 45+ miles per hour range at 4000 rpm engine speed. That is actually pretty darn fast to be hurling a 23 hull around. The engine, by the way, is at the shop getting the full treatment, including new pistons and camshaft sourced trough George Anderson at Guessford Machine.

Ill post some more photos tomorrow when I can get to a better internet connection, out there in the hinterlands our cell phone and satellite connections are just a bit on the slow side sometimes.

That 427 oil cooler in the previous photos, by the way, looks identical to the one I got (also from Robert Henkel)

Best,

Paul
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Paul
Paul

July 2nd, 2012, 4:03 am #4














Regards,

Paul
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Paul
Paul

August 1st, 2012, 2:31 pm #5

Well I got a call from by buddy this morning, and work is progressing on the 427-powered Lancer Premier.

Gelcoating was problemmatic and would not set up, so he had to change brands and now things seem to be working. Upholstery is all done, and the motor is coming back together so this one will be making some noise in the not too distant future. I am hoping we'll see some update photos on this extremely rare (only 25 built) Chris Craft fiberglass classic.

regards,

Paul
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Paul
Paul

October 17th, 2012, 9:46 pm #6

Freeman advised the Big Dog is baaaack.

Here are photos to prove the point.


















It is quite an experience rebuilding one of these Big Dogs. It can be EXPEN$IVE too.
Everything about a 427 is expensive, not all that many were made compared to the untold millions of
small block Chevrolet motors, by comparison, and therefore the parts are not plentiful and often we are
required to use custom pistons.

Many of us have gone this route, most notably George Klein, Freeman, Randy, Eric, and Glenn. These are truely
industrial grade motors, with a very rich NASCAR and international racing history associated with this very block.
I need not remind 427 fans that this block won 101 NASCAR races in 1963, 1964 and 1965, when GM managed to win nine (9).
During this same time frame I think Chrysler won 54 races split between Dodge and Plymouth competitors.

During the NASCAR wars this block was sometimes destroked to 396 cubic inches. I know, I know, that is commonly
noted as a GM displacement but trust me on this one. In the 396 cubic inch category this block was turned into
a very high rpm "buzz motor" and I have a video tape of one running literally side by side against a 426 hemi
driven by none other than Richard Petty himself, and both cars were running at wide open throttle. As history
has recorded the event (on tape) the hemi blew up and the destroked 427 won the race. This is just one of many
events in the research and development of this particular motor, and seeing them turn up in Chris Craft boats is
pretty amazing. Those people who have them should do what they can to keep them in service, becuase having one will
greatly increase the value of ANY classic car and runabout.

Thanks for the photos, Freeman, when you get ready to fire up this bad boy let me know, I want to come out and smell the fumes, ha.

regards,

Paul


















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Paul
Paul

May 6th, 2013, 10:05 pm #7









The guy is moving ahead, impressive, not to mention that all the while he picked up what,
three more boats? I got word today that New York twin-engine 23 Lancer is now a Tennessee resident!

How does he do it?




Paul








Last edited by FEfinaticP on May 6th, 2013, 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Glenn F
Glenn F

May 7th, 2013, 1:44 am #8

Glenn
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Joined: February 2nd, 2007, 5:28 pm

May 8th, 2013, 12:48 am #9

Looking real good!
I'm going to take you up on a ride on that 427 23 Lancer Premier. Maybe I'll have to hunt down a boat in Traverse City for you to buy..... so I know that you will visit Grand Traverse Bay!

Keep up the great work and don't be shy with pics of that 1968 twin engine Lancer23!!!

Bill P
Ghost Rider
1969 23 Commander (327)
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Paul
Paul

August 20th, 2014, 2:11 pm #10

As I understand it, we'll be seeing this one on the water very soon.

Janet and I are both looking for that personal invitation Freeman !!

We will bring tools, adult beverages, and good cigars.

best,

Paul
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