Powered by a Single Pleasure Craft 6.0L MPI 390 w/71hrs.
No bottom paint/trailer kept. Full mooring cover. Bow thruster.
Like new condition! See the write up from Popular Mechanics in the "Full Specs" section of this listing.
The original version made its debut at the 1945 New York Boat Show. A radical, art deco-inspired craft with a distinctive dorsal-finned, beaver-tailed, torpedo stern, the boat was meant to be just a "teaser" to draw attention to Ventnor's conventional models. The finned fantasy captured the show's "Boat of the Year" honor, and popular demand literally forced the company to produce it. A year later, a finless version of the Runabout was introduced, and both models were hot sellers. More than 800 finned runabouts alone were constructed before the models were discontinued after 1950.
Ventnor, which had been in business since 1902 and had dominated virtually every major class in racing from the 1920s through the '40s, folded in 1968. That would have been the end of the Ventnor story had it not been for Dick Thede. A 50-year veteran of the marine industry, he decided to revive the Ventnor name and recreate its signature 20-ft. Runabout in both finned and finless versions.
From the waterline up, today's Ventnor looks like an exact copy of the original, but with upgraded materials. What was formerly a painted plywood hull is now gel-coated fiberglass. What originally was mahogany (deck, dashboard, interior trim) remains so. The seats, gauges, steering wheels and the like used in boats of the 1930s and '40s did not hold up well because they were automotive components not designed for the marine environment. Thede's improvements include $8000 worth of leather for the seats. The gauges are custom-made. Castings and patterns for all the hardware are made from the originals. Thede points out that the exterior trim is one piece--that means 20-ft. moldings.
No other boat company does this. The others use standard-length molding strips with butt joints. The massive 60-pound chrome-plated, solid-brass bow breastplate alone costs $1360 to cast and plate.
Thede's attention to detail borders on the fanatical. Take the banjo steering wheel. To get the exact look of the original, with the horn button in the center, he uses 32 separate components, many of which he has to have cast. The mahogany rim is made in Mexico, the steel banjo spokes come from Italy, and the shell of the hub is produced in California. Thede puts it all together. The more than 700 exterior screws and bolts all are hand polished.
The old Ventnors had a flat bottom that beat you up pretty badly. They also rode nose high because of the steep 19° driveshaft angle. Thede uses a more current design: a modified V hull custom designed by a leading naval architect for a smooth, dry ride with responsive handling. The driveshaft angle is reduced to 12° so the boat planes dead flat. A small-block Chevy or Ford direct inboard resides where the old Gray Marine or Chrysler flathead Six or Eight abided. The 3000-pound runabout will hit about 55 to 58 mph.
Each boat takes about five months to build. Production capacity stands at 12 boats per year, and there's a 7-month waiting list.