Fast Fun: 1957 Chrysler Hemi V-drive Boat

Who hasn’t wanted a Hemi powered vintage ski boat? If you have, this may be the perfect one for you. This boat has a detailed history and was supposedly owned by the builder’s family for its entire life. Found here on Hemmings with an asking price of $7,500, it is currently located in Southlake, Texas. A little bit of work and this boat will be a ton of fun for the new owner.

The power for this boat comes from a 392 cubic inch Chrysler Hemi mated to an original velvet drive (forward, neutral and reverse drive) transmission. The power is then transferred from the engine to a Hallcraft V-drive set up.

V-drives are fairly common in the boating industry. This allows the engine to be mounted facing rearward which increases room inside the boat. A drive shaft transfers power forward from the transmission to the V-drive which transfers the power back toward the propeller. You can read more about the pros and cons of V-drive systems here.

According to the ad, “It was manufactured by George Fawcett of the Lake Land Ski shop in California in 1957. George is also known for his wooden skis under the brand “Feather Glide”…It’s a 1957 18′ all wood construction sheathed in fiberglass. No rot in the hull structure or transom. Original wood trailer.”

This boat looks fast sitting still. I can see this boat screaming across the surface of Lake Mead or Lake Havasu. How about you?

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  1. Steve R

    Cool boat. Thank for featuring something so different.

    It seems like a fair price for a boat from that era in that condition. A friend recently bought an early-60’s Ski boat with a 50’s era Hemi for a few thousand dollars more. There is a pretty active group of enthusiasts for that style of boat in the northern part of California.

    It’s a nice bonus to have pictures from when the boat was new. It and the wagon made for a great pairing. The original color scheme looked sharp, hopefully one day it will be repainted that pattern.

    Steve R

  2. Howard A

    Nostalgia up the ying-yang, but today, there’s probably modern motors that put out more than this in a smaller package. Lot of hardware spinning there, for a boat. Wonder why they ran the generator off the output shaft? Bet it sure sounds nice.

  3. gbvette62

    Somebody needs to buy this boat, restore it, and then buy something like the 57 Chevy 210 wagon a little bit further down this page, to tow it.

  4. Jetfire88

    To heck with the boat, I want the Ranchero with the convertible top over the bed!

    • Beatnik Bedouin

      I’d love to have the whole rig – Ranchero and boat, Jetfire88..!

      • jo6pac

        LOL my thought also.

  5. J. Crumpler

    Much rather have the ’57 !!!

  6. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Fun stuff! Put the Hemi in the wagon. 9.9 Merc in the boat and troll for walleye.

    • Howard A

      That twin Merc would sure lighten the load, the engine and drive setup probably weighs more than the boat. I’m no fisherman, but I’d love to go with and troll for “bottle-bass”. ( been thinking of coming back to the UP, der hey)

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Your always welcome here at The Sugar River Yacht Club Howard!

  7. Jay E.

    What a beautiful boat, great lines. Begging to be restored to its former glory and that terrific original paint job that enhanced its lines. Oh, to be 48 again!

  8. Rspcharger

    Step one, reinforce the plywood box around the V-drive & U-joints with some thick steel. Step two, enjoy.

  9. rancher

    We used to water ski/fish every weekend on Shasta Lake with a similar red/white inboard/V Drive boat. It had a sloped padded/upholstered cover over the 4 cylinder engine that us kids sat on for more seating & 2 seats in the rear. It ended up named “To Hell With The Yardwork”

  10. Wrong Way

    No doubt that this would haul buggy! I grew up with boats! My first vehicle was a 14 foot Cobia with a 125 Mercury mounted on the transom! It would fly! Skied semi pro growing up! Sorry got side tracked on memories! LOL, anyway I love the boat!

  11. Mark Holmstrand

    In the 1950s and 1960s our family lived at North Lake Tahoe, California. My dad built an all-wood cabin cruiser with a Chrysler Hemi and a v-drive. It could pull 8 skiers easily. He also clad the hull in fiberglass. All the upper structure wood was mahogany. I believe the ribs and hull planks were oak. That boat could frigging move. My dad built custom homes at the time. He also built and re-built classic boats for fun starting when he was a kid.

  12. skippy

    There are a lot of homebuilt or low volume builder wooden lake boats for sale if you look in the right places. And there are even more slightly newer fiberglass lake boats of the same flat-hull design. (Look up the early Champ, Tahiti, Schiada or even Hydrostream or Checkmate designs). They are very cool boats but there is a reason they are so inexpensive. The first and perhaps most important is that they are fairly dangerous. These boats are designed for VERY smooth water and most lakes these days no longer have that. I had 2 different friends that flipped their flat-hull boats going too fast on the Intracoastal waterway in Florida (back when you could actually go fast there…) Besides safety, the flat hull and tight interior spaces make them very uncofortable. You will be bounced hard. You will get wet. Your seat will be tight, very shallow and poorly padded. In addition, the wooden hulls are relatively expensive to maintain, and you can’t get parts for the very early V-drives and lower units anymore. Like a lot of projects, this boat will never be worth more than what you put into it. I know that is OK for some people, but if you are going to go through all that trouble, you might want to start with a more universally popular wooden boat. You can’t go wrong with a Chris Craft or Century from the same time frame and those boats actually make practical boats for family and friends. . If you are just looking for a small, super fast, fun boat, take a look at the mid-sixties-to-present Donzi Sweet 16, which can still be found in the $10k rnage, is still highly servicable and is nearly trouble free from a maintenance prespective. No, it’s not the same as a flat-hull wooden boat, but when you are flying along at 65mph+, the ride is just as fun, smoother and at least a little safer.

    • Wrong Way

      I agree and the Donzi is a awesome boat to play with! I am curious as to where your friends flipped their boats at on the intercoastal?I know it well they must have been out in Okeechobee?

      • Skip

        Actually, One flipped his boat between the Dania cut-off and Port Everglades and the other flipped his in the north end of Biscayne Bay south of Haulover inlet. Technically, both are Intracoastal but the water can get pretty rough there. The flip in Dania occured when he got into some rough water near the port, decided to turn around and did so too quickly. I don’t remember the details of the other flip. Both boats had pretty flat transoms which make turning pretty difficult in rough water because the boat will slip sideways when turning, sometimes dramatically. One boat was a Checkmate and the other, I think. was a Tahiti. Late 60’s early 70’s fiberglass boats with a similar hull but a little bit of a V at the stern. Those two boats could run rings around my CVX-16, but these two friends were much crazier than I was.

  13. stillrunners

    Nice….found it’s way to Southlake ? Lots of money around there or maybe inherited….


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