Chris Craft History

Chris-Craft was founded in Algonac, Mich., by Christopher Columbus Smith and sons Jay, Bernard and Owen. It was the largest manufacturer of production wooden boats and remains one the most sought-after marques of classic and collectible runabouts.

Chris-Craft stock wood production ran from 1922 to 1972. Like the automotive industry, Chris-Craft introduced the next year's models in the second half of the current calendar year. For example, a new production run or model for 1955 may have actually been built in late 1954.

Because some of the models were produced in fairly significant numbers, vintage Chris-Crafts dominate ownership in the classic boat lifestyle. Most of the popular models like Sportsman, Continental, Riviera, Deluxe Runabout and Custom Runabout were offered in various lengths over the course of production. Specific eras of design (like barrel backs) seem to influence value as much as a model’s rarity.

The models listed in this price guide correlate to the official models identified in their catalogs. We’ll address these most popular models first and add lesser production runs as data becomes available. More specific technical information may be accessed from the Chris-Craft / Antique Boat Club website at www.chris-craft.org.

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