New here. Just purchased this 1965 Aluminum 18' Starcraft Starchief with hopes to restore or remodel into a fishing boat. It is a cuddy with a 110 hp GM and Mercruiser drive. Not sure of engine/drive condition, hull is very good, transom seems solid, interior needs redone. No sure whether to restore or remodel-remove cuddy, overhaul, repower or convert to outboard. Any thoughts, ideas, comments or advice are appreciated.
Welcome, and a good looking rig you got yourself there. To chop or not to chop, that is the question. Personally I like to have a cabin. Great place to store stuff and keep dry in the event of rain. I spend a lot of time on Lk Huron trolling and many time I have not beat the rainstorms that pop up resulting in a lot of wet gear. Now that I have a Chieftan it is more practical for us as now there is the cabin for the grandkids to set in and play games or take a nap while we are out. Also with a cabin depending on where you are you can do an overnighter in the boat. Seems now a days most manufacturers have done away with the aluminum cuddys going with open boats and they will become a rare commodity. Good luck in your decision.
Land of big water Nebraska. I will probably not chop the top, cause once I do I can't go back. Ok so what do I do with the engine/drive? overhaul? repower? convert to outboard?
Thanks forthe input.
My two cents since you asked: See if the original power train is serviceable, if so the fix it up and go. If not look for a fiberglass rotted donar boat with a minimum 3.0 liter. Better would be a 6 cylinder 165 mercruiser. No OMC, or the white outdrives. You can't get parts for OMC outdrives anymore. A 4.3 liter would be a sweet option too.
Nebraska and big water hmmmm. OK. I welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the Big Ten anyway.
18' Starcraft; 1971 Offshore V ; Proud member of the Starmada since Jan 2010 (Starmada phrase coined by ozenine)
This original outdrive is white, but says mercruiser my research leads me to believe it is a 1Aez Shift. Are those usable,can you find parts? And I already have a 84 16' lund for fishing, so I guess the top stays.
Nice looking boat, welcome to the forum...if you are willing to do enough reading alot of ideas are discussed on here. I would be hard pressed to cut that cabin off myself....however, what about making it smaller? I have the Islander model which has the smaller cuddy and more fishing room, fits the bill to storage problems and fishing room. Wonder what that would look like with a shorter cabin? An extra two feet of fishing space can make a hugh difference. Just some food for thought...........
Sounds like in some areas (Australia) parts are hard to come by, but stateside, it appears parts are available, or were when that thread was started.
There do seem to be some NLA & in stock parts listed here for the 1963-1966 110 GM I-4, and here for the 1A Ez drive. Iboats.com may also carry parts for either, possibly a manual too. You will definately want a service manual for both drive & motor, no matter what combination you use.
For me it would be a toss up, if I needed to do a pretty complete tear-down to bare hull, make some improvements/changes to the boat's setup/layout, and before it started to hold up progress, I could find a decent donor boat priced right w/ a 'better', newer running driveline, I'd probably swap it during the torn down stage. Even if the motor & drive are currently in operating condition. It's still a 45+ yr old setup, and eventually parts are likely to be hard to find for the drive. And you're likely not going to be unsatisfied in a larger re-power motor that is also not 45+yrs old.
If it's running, and you can find a different outdrive that will mate up to your current motor, that would be my 2nd choice. Selling an operable outdated drive can be profitable, as someone else may want or need a parts drive for their project. Jas did quite well on his OMC drive & motor sale and swap to the 4.3L motor & mercruiser drive from Thumper.
If it's running & budget constraints prevent a swap or there doesn't seem to be a market to support the motor/outdrive sale, then run what you've got is always an option.
So, you've been holding out on us about the Lund.... hmmm
Cool, then you're already an MBS sufferer............ Welcome to the next level of Starcraft ownership......
Rick, welcome to iBoats. Bud, actually your boat is a 1964 Cheiftain. Here's the brochure page. 64 Chieftain.jpg
In the early years the Mercruiser outdrives were white. I have a 66 and although I had my share of motor problems, I'm still running the original outdrive with absolutely no problems. I say go thru it all and see what you got. You may just need to replace the wear items and go fishin.
You might be right, but in the port stern on the interior gunwhale there is an original manufacturers plate saying it is a 21 ft Starcraft Sunchief. The boat actually measures a little under 19' but I was told they used to measure them by following the keel. Does any of this make sense?
I agree with you it sure looks like the brochure. But the plate sure looks original, riveted to the gunwhale. I can't understand why someone would change that. If you are right then I stand corrected and should amend my post to say Chieftan. Why 1964 though, could it be a 65? Hopefully someone else has some ideas. Are there any ways to verify it?
It really is a carp shoot sometimes, often the question of model comes down to hull & topsides colors, as certain combinations were only offered 1 year on 1 model. And unless you have the original maker's documentation, every title since new, and all the registrations, anything is possible when it comes to ID'ing a boat.
For my 'fleet', I have a registered & titled 1960 Glastron FireFlite that was sold to me w/ paperwork ID'ing it as a 1959, which it clearly is not, they aren't really similar. At some point, the DMV (or whatever agency handled boats) in whatever state someone needed to reg/title the boat, needed year info about the boat that was not readily available, but the motor was easily ID'd as a 1959, so that's what the boat was labeled. My 1963 SC Jet (ID'd by length, beam & transom width) was registered in a non-title state as a 1974, which w/ little effort I quickly confirmed that it was a 1963. Even though the boat has been repainted (poorly). It is now reg & titled correctly.
My SC Holiday doesn't seem to conform to any of the length/beam/transom width combinations I could find. Trying to use the color combo to limit the years didn't match up either, but the model plate, lists it as a 18' Holiday. So sometimes, there are a few that just don't conform to the 'normal' ID methods.
Generally, NorthBeach is the go to guy for ID'ing vintage SC's..... So if he's confident its a '64 Chieftain, he's probably right...
The type & style of the side windows and the bow hatch all match the '64 Chieftain.....
That's good to know, and that why I am here, to learn. If NorthBeach is the go to guy then I am good with it being a Chieftan. So it measures about 18"9 do I call it a 18 a 19 or a 21' as the plate and registration says?
If you have all the paperwork, I'd probably leave it as is. Unless Neb is similar to WV. It was more difficult to register the un-titled trailers then it was to change the inaccurate info about length, year & model on the boat paperwork.
But before you make any changes, it might be important to check into Nebraska's trailer registration & title info. Some are length based, some are weight based and some are a combination of both. Twin axles also sometimes change the title & registration requirements.
I grew up on lake erie and in the old-old days it was common to measure a boat by the gunwale length. If my memory serves me correctly they would measure the width at the widest point on the deck, then take a measurement from that widest point along the deck, following the curve to the point of the bow, then double that length. That became the registered length of the watercraft. I can remember watching them measure old wooden boats in that manor when I was a kid. When they changed to centerline length I am not sure.