Classic Wooden Cruiser! 1951 Century Resorter

Boating anyone? Let’s take a brief respite from wheeled motivation and take a look at a beautiful water-born creation in the form of a 1951 Century Restorter. This 18ft, closed bow runabout is located pretty far from its place of birth as it is now domiciled in Polk City, Florida and is available, here on BF Classifieds or here on eBay for $12,500.

According to the Century Boats website, the company was formed in Milwaukee in 1926 and then, a few years later, relocated to Manistee, Michigan where it remained for 60 years. Performance was an attribute of Century watercraft and they were later dubbed the “Thoroughbred of Boats”. After successfully serving as a government contractor in the ’40s, Century returned to pleasure boating in the ’50s and amassed an extensive network of over 300 dealerships. The 1960s saw the introduction of not only jet drive propulsion but also a switch from wooden hulls to fiberglass. Over the years, as Century encountered different ownership, they continued with model and size differentiation finally coalescing around center-console designs popular with fishermen. Since 2012, Century has been headquartered in Zephyrhills, Florida, and is owned by Allcraft marine.

The seller of this Resorter states that it has seen little recent use, has been stored indoors and has no sign of wood rot. The topside does show quite well but the hull below the waterline appears to need some attention in terms of recoating – and the seller states as much. Generally one uses anti-fouling paint on a hull that will remain in the water for long periods, this hull looks to have a peeling varnish-type topcoat. And speaking of varnish, which is frequently the bain of hardwood, mahogany construction, there can be a lot of annual upkeep to manage. That said, someone has stayed well ahead of the workload curve in this case.

The interior is in magnificent condition. The seller doesn’t elaborate but the vinyl seating surfaces and engine cover appear to have been recovered, at some recent point, in a very appropriate 1950s shade of sea-foam green. He also suggests that “Mint Julip”, as this craft has been christened, will need carpet too. From a perspective of authenticity, it would be interesting to know if a wooden boat like this would have initially been carpeted. My recollection is no, as the wooden boats that I recall have had painted wooden decks with synthetic fiber carpet making a much later marine appearance.

This Century’s engine is a 112 HP, in-line flathead six-cylinder unit of undisclosed displacement. Regarding the operational capability of this Century, the seller states, “Did have running recently on separate gas tank with clean fuel; Motor runs strong“. And he further adds, “Will need fuel system cleaned throughout“. The powertrain arrangement here is strictly inboard so there is no outdrive.

The seller claims that this boat was with the same family most of its life and there is documentation dating back to the 1950s. While wooden boats can be a lot of work, they are also classic in their lines and appearance and make quite a statement when they are simply docked. Best of all, in the case of this Resorter, there is no restoration work to be done, just ongoing, annual maintenance. If you have ever considered a marine alternative to the ubiquitous fiberglass mainstay, here’s one that deserves a look-see, wouldn’t you agree?



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  1. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Beautiful boat. But be forewarned; The “birdcage” to examine on this one is the floor and the timbers below.

    Like 8
  2. Daniel wright

    Correct me if I am wrong but wood hulled boats dry out and one has to be careful putting it back into the water..the hull has to swell up to make it water tight

    Like 6
  3. Guy Blessing

    These boats probably started life with “Nautilux” decking not carpet. The 6 cyl engine may be Graymarine as was common in the era. Fun but not fast.

    Like 5
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      It’s a classy rig and has no reason to be fast. If you want fast buy a supercharged personal watercraft for the same price; if you want something built with old world craftsmanship buy something like this beautiful machine..

      My $.02 worth

      Like 14
    • Norman McGill

      Looks like the Chrysler Crown engine we had in a 1947, 16′ Garwood. Beautiful boat and the price is good too.

      Like 2
  4. Charles Sawka

    I’m prejudiced because I’m the same age ! Beautiful little boat.

    Like 6
  5. Howard A Member

    You won’t get my usual complaining on price here, as with boats, it’s a different story. These classy wood boats have always been a favorite, although, I can’t recall ever riding in one. By the time I was kid,( 60’s) everything changed to fiberglass. I’d have to think they give a great ride, as they weigh a ton. The motor is the tried and true Chrysler flathead 6, that has a vast history in itself. I believe it was Chryslers bread and butter, it powered everything in the war from searchlights to troop carriers and made it’s way into the civilian market for many years. Due to my location ( Rocky Mountains) clearly, a boat is not on the agenda, but if I lived on water, I’d go with a boat like this. Beautiful, matey,,,

    Like 8
    • Robert Baime

      Chrysler Crown most likely. They were ubiquitous.

      Like 1
  6. local_sheriff

    Always loved wooden boats but I know of personal experience (not plywood though) just how much work they are – I remember some old tricks to keep it afloat in the spring was to run it ashore and let it swell for a couple days, smear margarine into crevices or flow dry sawdust under the hull…

    It’s a sweet cruiser in a handy size but if I were in the market I’d wanted one with more barrel back design and less bulky windscreen. The underwater hull on this one is completely useless on anything but calm waters or any speeds above trolling speed…these are just for slow cruising. By todays standards probably more ‘furniture’ than ‘vessel’ – there are more than one reason why boats of this category are made of fiberglass today…

    Like 4
  7. Daniel W Wright

    She is not built for speed, but for a quiet calm day out on the lake. No loud stereo, turn off your cell phone. Take a basket full of fried chicken and a beverage of choice. Pure Zen.

    Like 10
  8. Joe Haska

    I love this boat! If I could afford it, I would buy it just to pull it, behind my 53 F-100 and make everyone jealous. Putting it in the water would just be icing on the cake.

    Like 6
  9. Woody Boater

    These are amazing little boats and Century’s are the more stylish of the big brands, and yes, still in business. Your big issue here would be the condition of the bottom and frames. Centurys dont have double planked hulls so thats the issue. The Windsheild looks a little tall, and a lowered one would add to the look big time. If you want to juice it up throw a 283 in there and GO! The hobby is AMAZING! Lots of car folks and a very generous group when it comes to helping each other. This is a sweet family boat and will always be a great family member.

    Like 3
  10. Kenn

    I owned one of these from new and with speeds capable of 40 mph they were great water-ski boats though not quite fast enough for bare-footing. Which none of us thought at that time was even possible! Mine had a Graymarine 112 hp six, and if this isn’t one here it’s a replacement that looks like one. Certainly it’s the wrong exhaust manifold. We re-varnished the boat every fall before putting it up for the winter. A labor of love, but took pleasure in the result every time.
    Yes, it took about a day for it to soak up in the spring. That’s been eliminated (I’ve read) by the use of a new type of bottom coating. This offering needs the original windshield – the one here is way too tall and not original by any stretch of the imagination – but then you can enjoy this beauty for slow touring or high-speed cruising. It can, in fact, handle some chop. Price is more than reasonable. Wish I had it.

    Like 2
  11. John Member

    Back in the day our neighbor had the 16 ft version, had a Chrysler in it and could pull skiers all day…W/2 skies. The inside color is wrrong , should be red and as was sed, a naugahide floor covering,and the wrong windshield and those rod holders?, what happens is the floors rot under the naugahide, the windshields break as were glass. Have to soak ’em but also avery 5-6 yr’s or so need to re-caulk the bottom, now W/tube sealers is easier then the old “oakum”. Looks like a nice old boat, got a few of them in Diamond Lake in southern Michigan

    Like 2
  12. Richard Van Dyke Sr

    My Uncle Jim Lewis had one when I was a kid and he enjoyed jumping waves because of my “losing my stomach” reactions. I loved that boat and of course my Uncle

    Like 1
  13. dan joyce

    Boat. Bust out another thousand. But in this case, many.

    Like 1
  14. Guy Blessing

    That is the definition of “Boat”. A hole in the water into which you throw money!

  15. Kenn

    “Golf”. A way to ruin a nice walk in the park.

    Like 1

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