Woodie on the Water: 1948 Century Boat

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

The history of Century Boats goes back to its founding in 1926. And the brand continues to flourish today, although the company has changed hands a few times, once even owned by Yamaha. This fine example of a wooden Century boat was built in 1948 (not sure of the model) and appears to need nothing but a motor, which was removed earlier after it failed. Currently residing in the “boat capital of the country”, Florida, this beauty is available here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $8,500. All you need to do is make a foray down to Polk City to pick it up!

Century Boat Company was a Michigan mainstay for more than 60 years. In the 1930s, one of their boats held the world’s outboard speed record (at the time) of nearly 51 mph. Like those in the automotive business, Century was busy during World War II working for the U.S. government, which included a contract for 3,600 of their floaters.

By the time the 1960s rolled around, Century had expanded from wooden to fiberglass hulls. And even began making their own trailers in the 1970s. Yamaha acquired Century in 1995 and merged the brand with Cobia Boat Co. By then, production had moved to Panama City, Florida. After another decade, Century and Cobia separated again and Allcraft Marine purchased Century in 2012.

The seller’s boat has been well-cared for over the past 75 years. It appears to have been treated with kid gloves and kept in a garage most of its life when not in use. Other than the seller who has the title in his name, only one other family has owned this sweet watercraft. Besides the boat, which physically seems to need nothing, the transaction will include a trailer that has good rubber. The engine folded at some prior point and has been extracted, so we assume dropping a replacement back in won’t be a big challenge. The seller is willing to help with shipping and the boat is also available here on eBay, but that listing provides the same information.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. HoA Howard A (retired)Member

    You know, had the cookie crumbled differently, and I happened to live on a body of water, where boating would be as simple as walking down to the dock,and go, I’d for sure have one of these. It’s like a classic car for the water. The gauges appear to be 40s IH, and I read, these used a Gray Marine motor,( never heard of them) in a variety of ratings. Most bigger boats like this, used an in-line flathead 6 of about 140hp. Apparently, they made 4 cylinders too. Chrysler motors were popular too. AHOY, MATEY,,very cool boats.

    Like 13
    • Steve3n

      Howard , I completely agree with you on this wooden boat. My grandparents had a boat similar to this when I was a kid and had great memories using it often. So much so, when I was 14 years old in 1968, I built my own small hydroplane. Had a 9.5 Johnson outboard on it and I used it till the end of high school. Great memories and like you, if I had or lived on a lake right now, I would certainly have a boat similar to this. Oh, yes, I could out run any help out on the lake in the late 60s.

      Like 7
      • HoA Howard A (retired)Member

        Hi Steve3n, a home built hydro, by gar, that takes me back. I remember you could send away for plans and build it in your basement. The fun part was getting it OUT of the basement. We had a lake cottage and the old man thought them too dangerous,, but a kid across the lake had one, the typical wedge type, and a 10 Merc. I rode it once, and was a handful. I remember, it would almost swamp itself going slow, and at speed, it didn’t turn very well, but exhilarating rush, no doubt.

        Like 5
  2. Barry Ervin

    We had one of these when I was a kid, or very similar. It was a Resorter 17 and had a flat head Chrysler engine. It was very heavy and a bit underpowered for pulling water skiers.

    Like 2
  3. oilngas

    If only it was closer. Been looking for something to drop my Twin H Hudson motor in.

    Like 5
  4. Bob

    Needs a bigger trailer. Bunks should extend to the transom. Marine motor were generally automotive motors with water exhaust manifolds. Lymans used AMC 327s or Chryslers among others.

    Like 0
  5. Jim A

    Put a SBC in it

    Like 4
  6. Kenn

    We had a ’52 16 ft Century Resorter with a 112 hp Gray Marine engine. More than adequate pulling skiers – even multiple slalom skiers. Lots of torque on these purpose- built 6 cyl engines. Just as popular in boats as the Chryslers. And no, not “automotive motors with water exhaust manifolds” back then, though those were available as after-market additions, Osco Marine being one company that made exhaust manifolds, carb mounts, sea water pump mounts and transmission adaptors to put an automotive engine in a boat.

    Like 5
    • Barry Ervin

      Our Resorter 17 had a Chrysler flat head 6 cylinder with two updraft carbs. I believe it was rated about 120 hp? This was over 60 years ago so I’m not sure. I suspect it had a prop with too much pitch for top performance. It would pull one skier easily but struggled with two. I we had friends who had a HackerCraft, about 19-20 feet, that would come up on plane much quicker and run away from us, probably more power though.

      Like 1
  7. RMac

    LOL put an LS in it!
    But seriously when I was a kid we had a house in south harpswell Maine and a neighbor had an 18 foot wooden inboard that had been upgraded to a 327 Chevy that thing could haul but we got caught in a fog bank off Portland head one afternoon and heard blasts and looked up to see a huge freighter 100 yds from us! Needed every bit on those 300 hp !! The wake from that huge ship almost nosed us under

    Like 2
  8. woodyboater

    These Century’s are beautiful boats. This one appears to have had the bottom Fiberglassed. Witch is a mixed bag. But for this boat is a smart move. This is a fantastic user boat and plopping a small block in it is the way to go. No need to be original on this. Heck, even a used Small block, paint it red like Grey marine did and go boating. One note. Century boats of this era were NOT double planked. So bottom issues are its weakness. Hence the Fiberglass. I know people say thats a bad thing because it can promote rot. But I own several that have been glassed and they are great. So? Unless its a show boat, and this isnt. HAVE FUN! This is a perfect boat to get into the hobby with.

    Like 4
    • Barry Ervin

      You’ll probably appreciate this. About 10 years ago my boss had a Dunphy X-55. Some kind of big Ford V-8 in it. He had it on a trailer in front of his shop for sale. Don’t know what ever happened with it.

      Like 0
    • Jay E.Member

      How do you tell it has been fiberglassed? It seems to have the plank seams in the bottom still and I cant see a line on the sides between the fiberglass and the wood? I agree that it wouldn’t be a bad thing for a recreational boat, but the wood could be a plus as well. I must say it is discouraging to see how much water seeps into a wooden boat, even if they are left in the water to swell.I fun project and an opportunity to put a nice engine in.

      Like 0
  9. Robert Liivoja

    Beautiful boat. When I was a kid, my brother learned to ski behind my dad’s 14 foot mahogany boat with an 18 horsepower Evinrude. By the time I started skiing, we had upgraded to a whopping 33 horsepower Johnson.
    You can imagine how excited we were when dad upgraded to a 15 and a half foot Princecraft (fiberglass) with a 120 horsepower.
    I will be 68 years old in March and still enjoy slalom skiing behind my 19 1/2 foot Campion with 185 horses. Oh to be young again!!!

    Like 2
  10. Cooper

    I would make a planter box out of it.

    Like 1
    • Barry Ervin

      LOL! An understandable reaction, it wouldn’t be my choice of a hobby either. But I’m glad there are people who have the money and time and desire and energy to restore and care for traditional old things like this so that we can still see beautiful things from an earlier time. That goes for old boats, airplanes, cars, houses, whatever. I lost my desire to actually own and restore an old car years ago, but I still can’t pass an antique/classic car show without stopping to look at them. A local lake has steamboat meets now and then where people trailer in old restored and homebuilt steam powered wooden boats from hundreds of miles around. The expense and effort involved boggles my mind but the boats are really cool!

      Like 1
  11. luckless pedestrian

    For those that think caring for and maintaining a vintage car is a lot of work… Don’t even think about buying a vintage wooden boat…

    Like 4
    • Barry Ervin

      We had a wooden Century when I was about 13. I must have spent 3 hours cleaning and polishing and sanding and varnishing that thing for every hour we spent out on the water with it. And that boat was only about 10 years old at the time. It was comparable to having an in ground swimming pool that you also had to tow around on a trailer. Before my Dad bought the boat he almost bought a 1927 Packard instead. I think the Packard might have been less work.

      Like 1
      • Mountainwoodie

        Hilarious.

        Classic Boating out of Oconomowoc ( Yo, HoA) is a great resource and I used to subscribe for decades.

        http://classicboatingmagazine.net/

        Always wanted a Gar Wood. This would be a lot mote manageable. :)

        Like 0
  12. Woody Boater

    You all may be surprised to know that the care and maintence of a classic Woody boat isnt really all that complex. Depending on where you live, there is a network of classic boaters that will help you stay afloat. Add to that, if it has had its bottom addressed in some way, you can trailer it or let it sit on a lift. Yes, Varnish can be an issue. But its a rather Zen experience, and the community you will be part of is amazing. Add to all that, the Wow Factory. I can pull up next to a one million dollar yacht and my ratty speed boat gets all the attention. If you want to know more about the community, SHAMELESS PLUG! Just google Woody boater, we are always here for you with one mission. To keep you floating. Boating… Okay not in that order sometimes

    Like 1
    • Mountainwoodie

      WoodyBoater is a GREAT website. Love the attitude. Thanks!

      Like 0
  13. woodyboater

    Thanks Mountainwoodie. Its fun to do. I LOVE this site though. Great writing, and fun comments.

    Like 1
    • Mountainwoodie

      Yup BF is at the top of the heap. Some of the most experienced car folks and not much gets past them. You can learn a lot as I have. For many of us of a (cough cough ) certain age, nothing beats the style, construction and elan ( how bout that!) of many of our older vehicles…..and certainly of wooden boats …….when you compare it to anything of the “ modern” age however you define it.

      Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds