Parts from thousands of miles apart, coming together to make a 1973 Lancer! The journey !

Parts from thousands of miles apart, coming together to make a 1973 Lancer! The journey !

Paul
Paul

May 4th, 2012, 2:41 pm #1

Well the 23 Lancer I am working on has taken quite pathway in its life since 1973, starting out in Cortland New York at the Corsair Sport Boat Division, and then being shipped to where we think was the East Coast Atlantic Seaboard where the boat apparently lived in the salt water off New Jersey, or perhaps in Chesapeake Bay Area. There are no records of who owned the boat at this time but I may send in to the Mariners Museum just to get the info out of curiosity. In any case the boat ran long enough to take on some obvious signs of wear, a mild collision here and there, some bent up rub rail, and the apparent consumption of one entire drive-train which was gone when I got the boat.

Just as well, on the drive-train by the way, because I had two 427 motors sitting in my garage just waiting for something like a 23 Lancer to come around. There were no seats, basically all the interior was gone, the wood shelf bonded to the fiberglass hullside serving as the base of the side pockets was totally rotted out, the instruments were there but well worn, and the worst of all, the actual damage that was the toughest problem for me to fix (other than the fact that the engine and transmission were gone) was done by the previous owner with a hack saw. The idiot (and gentlemen, I dont use the I word too often) wanted the windshield off this boat so badly he actually cut one cut through the top rail of the windshield assembly only to find out that made his task of removal no easier. Then he left it as it was (with half a windshield installed).

So after being shipped to the East Coast and living what I hope was a full and fun life, the boat ended up with Jerry Namken who saved it from further destruction. The boat came to Jerry with part of the windshield removed, associated parts stuffed inside. Then through a complex deal involving details we cannot divulge due to international security considerations and steeped with international intrigue, the boat ended up one day on Jerrys trailer at Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee. The boat was splashed perhaps for the first time ever in fresh water with tennis balls stuffed into the exhaust pipes so it would not take on water, and transferred nicely onto my awaiting trailer that had been specially purchased and fitted out to take the 23 hull.

Before the boat arrived in Tennessee I found a suitable trailer and modified it to conform to the hull shape of a 23 Lancer, which was easier said than done without having the boat here to measure. Architectural training came in handy. I used all available photos, broke them down geometrically to find the center of gravity most often observed on trailer photos, and I set my trailer up accordingly. The result was a very close match and Jerry and I made a few last minute adjustments in the morning before we transferred the boat after looking at the hull and my trailer prep.



Here you see the boat after it had already racked up a couple thousand miles of road travel during its lifetime, sitting proudly but without a motor or anything inside. Here are also a couple photos of the inside of the boat as it arrived in Nashville.


Hey Look Ma.half a windshield !!


One of my lake house neighbors came over to take a look and was astonished that anyone would see value in a boat like this. His words were: Paul, youre NOT going to restore THAT? He said it in disbelief. I said yes, this is a Jim Wynne designed hull, theyre legendary, and they have some of his offshore racing fame built into that hull, just look at those lifting strakes, the guy holds the patent for those. The forlorn 23 Lancer was sitting right beside a nicely restored 1966 20 fiberglass Sea Skiff they all had been admiring that summer, so they knew I could do the job but they were all pretty horrified at the starting point of the boat. For me, it looked like good fun.





As I got into the cleanup I began getting assorted windshield pieces together and eventually discovered I was missing a critical piece. Time and time again I would stand there holding all the pieces and wonder just how I was going to fix this nasty little curve ball of a problem. There were several solutions but nothing ever really seemed right. Then one day I made a contact with a guy who had a complete windshield in Michigan, but that deal died on the vine and the problem remained as I focused my attention on the motor and transmission.





Before THE FORUM got into full swing and Eric Jensen arrived on the scene, many of us didn't know Chris Craft actually provided 427 motors with full Chris Craft equipment to Hatteras. My 427 motor came from a 37 Hatteras that ran in Chesapeake Bay, so it is possible that the Hatteras and Lancer actually saw each other. The motors were equipped with heat exchangers and only had antifreeze in the blocks, eventually were fully rebuilt and I understand they received new Keith Black pistons and ran some more until such time the owner pulled them out in favor of a diesel replacement job. At that point shortly after September 11th, I and a buddy flew to Maryland, rented a truck, and hauled the motors back to Nashville where I single handedly unloaded them and hauled them into the shop ( a quarter inch at a time). Here are the engines being loaded in the truck, thats my buddy Dave giving a hand.



The motor went under exhaustive scrutiny, with cylinder head evaluation, new performance intake and carb, removal of the very heavy iron exhaust manifolds and circulation pump, and received some old school speed parts from none other than Steve McElroy himself, who personally searched through his Southern California shop for me. During the research on the various cylinder heads I had available in my shop, including the ones on the boat that looked bran new and the spare set I have, it was determined to use the same iron cylinder head Carroll Shelby used on his 1968 big block Mustang GT-500 KR, which interestingly enough arrived on the motor when I got it and apparently was used on numerous Chris Craft motors of that era (1968 and thereafter). Without going into too much detail now, the motor is conservatively rated at 375 horsepower now. This is a result of a huge amount of consultation with many people around the USA, some of whom are experts on the FE Ford motors, and considerable care was given to realistic drivability and longevity, with intentions to never exceed 5,000 rpm.






Everything inside looked remarkably clean, and the cylinder heads themselves looked like new. I could tell the boat had run for a while after the rebuild, however, which is a good sign, due to the amount of junk I found in the carb and filter.








I pulled out some old 427 aluminum exhaust parts I had intended to use on my 38 Express years ago only to find the shape of these things conflicted with the motor mounts on the standard Chris Craft motor so they were just put into storage until now. I cut off the ends to open them up to the larger diameter, and drilled and tapped everything for increased flow.












The use of the aluminum exhaust parts and replacing the 80-pound iron intake manifold with an aluminum piece that weighed 25 pounds helped me shed 250 pounds of weight off this motor. The exhaust system runs through bigger pipes to a 4 diameter tip, safe to say there wont be much back pressure on this engine compared to the stock setup.




The transmission that came on the 427 motor was a 2.5:1 Paragon and that was totally unsuitable for the Lancer which came from CC with a 1.5:1 reduction. After much discussion and trading letters with the Naval Architect at Michigan Wheel, I decided I would keep prop speed down with the same 1.5:1 but would go with an aggressive pitch. The standard prop for this boat is a 15x15 but my starting point will be a 15x23. Because of the torque of even the stock 427 (at 438 foot-pounds at 2900 rpm) a Borg Warner 72c was selected because the 71c model was not rated for that kind of power. Ron Holloway in Florida rebuilt one for me, shipped it to Nashville, so now there is yet one more piece of soul in the boat that came from afar and without any known history of use. It is my hope that all the parts will like each other when they are formally introduced and asked to perform a concert.

So now with all of the pieces coming together, the issue of the windshield started to loom bigger and bigger. It is a big heavy and well designed piece of hardware and it is pretty much of a Lancer icon with that curved 3-piece design. No real solution has been found to date but again, well get to that part when we need to sort of thing.

So the other day Im driving on my way to work and I get a call on the cell phone and its Jerry, and I could tell by the tone of his voice that something was up. He was in his shop and saw a piece of metal that had apparently been put aside a few years earlier, and upon looking closer it sure looked like a piece of Lancer windshield metal. Upon closer examination it had hack-saw marks on the starboard side and it was precisely as long as the missing piece on my 23. In short, Jerry found the missing piece of the windshield and now that piece is on its way to Nashville to once again join up with the rest of the boat. The windshield Rosetta Stone has just been discovered, hallelujah, praise the Lord, pass the ammunition! Having that piece will make the restoration SO much easier. Thanks again to Dr. Namken !! ( now bowing to the East ).


This is inboard Lancer model year 1973 I am working on, and it is the second year of the inboard which was introduced in 1972 as noted in the information piece below which appeared in a boating publication at the time. I am not sure of the true speed of the original boats but I think the 350Q powered boat were capable of speeds in the mid to high 30s, and the projection for the 427 powered boat is right at 50 miles per hour. By working with the Naval Architect at Michigan Wheel we calculate a 45 mph speed using a 15 X 22 3 blade, Cupped, NiBrAl Material at 4000 rpm, so the 50 miles per hour target is quite realistic using a 15 X 23 and being able to run the rpm up another 500 or 1000 if necessary. Only time will tell if the available power and torque will spin a prop that aggressive at that kind of engine speed.





So here we have parts coming from Cortland New York, Maryland, Florida, Southern California, Michigan, Wisconsin, and many other locations for smaller parts. All the crazy things Ive done and had to research so far, contribute to the final result but will never be known to people who see it sitting there at the dock some day in the not too distant future. Thanks to Jerry for saving this Lancer. It is up to me now to do the rest. I have just about all the basic parts now, all new hardware, new seats, and Ill soon go after the basic hull now that the weather is warm enough to get out and work under the sun, moon, and stars! I figure a little natural rain water may do this hull some good too. Well do another pressure wash down of the entire thing, and then well go after the filling of any open holes in the internal roving, then painting, removal of the rub rail, straightening of the bow rail, total patching and repair/repainting of the topsides and maybe the entire boat we dont know just yet, and of course the windshield now that the Rosetta Stone is on the way to Nashville. When all these parts finally come together this 1973 Chris Craft will have a heart and soul once again.

This particular project is not necessarily about the final product (which will be a lot of fun in itself), but the true story and fun here is about the journey. Working on these old boats is just good clean fun !

regards,

Paul






Last edited by FEfinaticP on May 4th, 2012, 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jerry
Jerry

May 4th, 2012, 3:37 pm #2

Paul and All:
I am not only guilty of putting the windshield piece away and forgetting it, but also the two deck pieces that go between the forward seats and the deck piece that covers the engine bay just aft of the engine box. I am pretty sure these also belong to that particular boat as they were stacked in near approximation to the windshield piece in the shed. I forget the reason that I forgot what I did with these pieces. LOL. There is a lot of stuff there and I am no longer sure where it all came from but I have been ordered to clean it up or else.

What we need now is a kind soul that may be traveling between Washington, DC and Nashville TN who can take these two deck pieces to Paul. If no good smaritans are forthcoming, we will just have to ship them overland. Here are the two pieces and a photo of my boat with my two pieces installed to show where Paul's two pieces will go.







Any help is appreciated and we will work with anyone to get them delivered to Paul.

Otherwise if we don't get these to Nashville, Pual will continue to come up with reasons that he is not ready to run his big dog with my 454, if you catch my drift...
Jerry
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Paul
Paul

May 4th, 2012, 5:03 pm #3

Jerry, Amazing !

I had a suspicion that Nadia may have ordered a policing of the grounds, but didn't want to venture an opinion on that, but since you mentioned it. I generally have a rule that I follow pretty closely and it is not often spoken around here.

In short: "any man who claims he is the boss in his own house.......you can not trust"

As for those pieces Jerry, wonderful, good find, and I will put them into their proper place on the boat. In the event there are no travelers between Washington, DC and Nashville anytime soon, we'll have to figure out some other way to have em shipped here, at my expense of course.

This is just one more part of the overall legacy of a 23' Chris Craft that was built 39 years ago. Some of the parts got removed, some were probably recycled onto another boat somewhere, and now some of those parts are coming back to the boat. It sure would be fun to have a log of all the trips and events the boat saw during its lifetime, along with a complete listing of passengers. I actually do keep a log on board TRADITION, and we also kept one on board CLIPPER prior to that, and it sure is fun to look back now and see all the people we've had on board over the years. Lots of fun, these boats, whether they're running or not.

Regards,

Paul
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Joined: October 13th, 2011, 3:05 am

May 6th, 2012, 12:28 pm #4

Hey Paul do you still need a windshield for that lancer , I have one in good condition !!!!
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Paul
Paul

May 7th, 2012, 4:13 pm #5

I sent you a note on my iPhone.

Regards,

Paul
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Joined: April 11th, 2012, 7:45 am

May 9th, 2012, 9:33 am #6

Paul and All:
I am not only guilty of putting the windshield piece away and forgetting it, but also the two deck pieces that go between the forward seats and the deck piece that covers the engine bay just aft of the engine box. I am pretty sure these also belong to that particular boat as they were stacked in near approximation to the windshield piece in the shed. I forget the reason that I forgot what I did with these pieces. LOL. There is a lot of stuff there and I am no longer sure where it all came from but I have been ordered to clean it up or else.

What we need now is a kind soul that may be traveling between Washington, DC and Nashville TN who can take these two deck pieces to Paul. If no good smaritans are forthcoming, we will just have to ship them overland. Here are the two pieces and a photo of my boat with my two pieces installed to show where Paul's two pieces will go.







Any help is appreciated and we will work with anyone to get them delivered to Paul.

Otherwise if we don't get these to Nashville, Pual will continue to come up with reasons that he is not ready to run his big dog with my 454, if you catch my drift...
Jerry
Jerry and All,

I'm happy to see that you manage to find the pieces you are missing for your boat. It gave me a heads up on the above pictured deck piece that goes between the helm chairs. I do not know if it was delivered as standard or option. Anyhow my boat does not have one.

If anyone would come a across a white/off white such piece I would be more than interested.

Thanks,

Best,
Martin
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Joined: October 13th, 2011, 3:05 am

May 9th, 2012, 2:48 pm #7

Hey Paul, check your email. I hit you back

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Joined: October 13th, 2011, 3:05 am

May 9th, 2012, 2:48 pm #8

Jerry and All,

I'm happy to see that you manage to find the pieces you are missing for your boat. It gave me a heads up on the above pictured deck piece that goes between the helm chairs. I do not know if it was delivered as standard or option. Anyhow my boat does not have one.

If anyone would come a across a white/off white such piece I would be more than interested.

Thanks,

Best,
Martin
Hey Paul, check your email. I hit you back

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John Kloka
John Kloka

May 9th, 2012, 2:51 pm #9

Jerry and All,

I'm happy to see that you manage to find the pieces you are missing for your boat. It gave me a heads up on the above pictured deck piece that goes between the helm chairs. I do not know if it was delivered as standard or option. Anyhow my boat does not have one.

If anyone would come a across a white/off white such piece I would be more than interested.

Thanks,

Best,
Martin
Martin... When I had my 23 Lancer, I had the deck piece,which covers the well between the helm seats, but chose not to use it. Without it, you can stand up and drive/stretch your legs with the convertible top up.
What I did was made a nice "half Deck" for the stern half of the well between the seats, thereby allowing me to stand in the forward half and still keep a portion for storage in the rear. I made it from teak and holly plywood, with a solid teak surround, with several coats of varnish. I stored my Fortress anchor and line under that portion. The entire well, from the stern of the well to the V-berth was then lined with Dry-Deck interlocking tiles. It was very nice, and increased the function of the area, as well as making the step down to the cabin easier to negotiate...
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Martin
Martin

May 9th, 2012, 3:43 pm #10

John,
That is a nice idea. I will consider that when I get a better feeling for how it is to move around the boat. Still, an original deck piece would be nice to have to make the boat complete.
Do you have pictures of your build?

Cheers,
Martin
Last edited by FEfinaticP on May 10th, 2012, 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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