After reading very informative threads here on iboats.com, I hope to request your advice on a unique situation I find myself in.
Here is the story: I have been looking to buy a used boat for trolling on small lakes around my residence. Because we live in farm country, we always hoped we could find one for cheap you know, those small aluminum boats sitting along the bank of the farm pond.
My search for a cheap boat finally came to a halt when a friend revealed that there was such a boat sitting outside a barn for many years. The 13'8 aluminum boat was covered in pine needles, ice, and leaves. Upon closer inspection, I was amazed how well the boat was made and its condition.
It appeared to be very old and no hull identification number was found. So I called the Ohio Coastguard to see what needed to be done. Since no HIN was found, they requested that the boat be physically brought to Ashtabula so that they would identify its origin and assign it a new HIN. This process normally is 'quick', said the manager.
I brought the boat in and what should have been quick jaunt through the paperwork, became a fun hour-and-a-half of what's this gem? The inspector, like me, was amazed at its construction and condition. He had never seen this boat model before. I showed him the manufacturer seal in its original condition at the stern of the boat, which he said was authentic. I told him I could not find any information on this boat by searching Google nor Yahoo for hours.
The tag reads: J. Studebaker Boat Company- Number 323 Model 33, and it was designed for a motor of up to 40hp.
We did find a few Ohio stickers. One was from 1974 and the other 1989. We also found the name Cardinal 40 on the sides in sticker form. However, the inspector feels like that was an add-on by a previous owner and not its original name.
They said their computers in Columbus would reveal its humble beginnings, yet when ran through the database nothing. Nothing except a small reference to a pontoon boat made by J. Studebaker in 1959.
Only one reference to the possibility of origin? I am hoping maybe someone here has came across one of these boats. We know at least 323 of them were made around 1959. It was quite interesting seeing the Coastguard taking multiple pictures of this boat since they've never seen this boat before.
My new registration reads: 1959 model 33 J.Studebaker Company. I guess my boat is very rare and any information I can glean from you fine folks would be appreciated.
Also, I want to restore the mill finish and replace all iron screws with aluminum of its age. A previous owner put a few things on with regular screws. Your advice is very much appreciated.