St. John's

27 July 2013

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Lot 153

1955 Chris-Craft 21' Cobra Runabout Recreation

  • Identification no. TXZ5S663D989

Sold for $55,000

200+ hp Mercruiser V-8 engine. Length: 21 ft.

  • Crafted by Kib Hundley, the nation’s largest Chris-Craft dealer
  • Equipped with a new Mercruiser V-8 with less than 100 hours
  • Modern practicality and mechanicals with classic appearance

During the 1950s, the Michigan-based Chris-Craft Boat Company was arguably building the finest wooden runabouts and speedboats in the world. Celebrities of the day, including Dean Martin, Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley, all owned Chris-Craft boats. Without question, it was one of the most respected names in luxury pleasure boating.

The 1955 Chris-Craft Cobra is, perhaps, the ultimate combination of pre-war wooden handcraft and post-war American modernism. In those post-war years, wood was becoming old-fashioned and modern plastics were on the minds of both automotive and boat designers. With the introduction of the Corvette in 1953, America’s first fiberglass production sports car, the designers at Chris-Craft were inspired to create the Cobra as their top-of-the-line speedboat.

Using a racing-inspired wooden hull and a range of powerful engines, including Chris-Craft, Chrysler, and Cadillac power, top speed exceeded 50 mph. Adding to its sleekness is a car-like wraparound windshield and a fiberglass engine cover complete with dorsal fin; this was the first use of the novel material in a production boat. Even the steering wheel and interior look right at home in a 1950s automobile. Only 106 were produced over a period of just nine months in 1955; of those, fifty-one were 18-foot models and fifty-five were 21-foot models. The 21-foot models were available (depending upon engine), ranging from $4,860–$6,560, which was quite a heady sum in 1955. Today, they are among the most sought-after wooden speedboats, due to their speed, style, and rarity.

This boat was designed and built by Kib Hundley, and it was conceived by him and his son Byron, who built the boat for their own use. Hundley began hauling passengers for 50 cents a person across Lake Dallas, Texas, aboard his first boat, marking the beginning of the Hundley Boat Company in 1923. Hundley continued to build and sell boats for many years in Lake Dallas. By 1936, he became a Chris-Craft boat dealer, rising to prominence and ultimately becoming the country's largest inland dealer for Chris-Craft.

This magnificent watercraft is equipped with today's modern technology and equipment. The drivetrain is a new Mercruiser V-8 with less than 100 hours. It is fully-equipped with a custom interior, La Carrera steering wheel, custom gauge package, stereo system, a unique bow thruster system, tonneau cover, and custom aluminum trailer. When one looks at this boat, it is difficult to differentiate it from a Cobra built in 1955. Yet, this boat is comfortable to pilot and operates as a powerful, well-sorted, well-designed, modern watercraft built in the late 1980s. This Chris-Craft Cobra Recreation is nothing but pure enjoyment, offering the reliability and practicality of a new watercraft with the extraordinary looks and exclusivity of a real vintage Cobra.

Titled as 1989.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more