Alston C 1956 Chris Craft 17' Runabout

A Classic meets the Future

My unique story began with a vivid dream of owning a classic Chris Craft wooden boat while serving overseas in Germany with the United States Air Force in 2006. I was looking for a classic wooden Chris Craft boat to restore for over six years and finally located one locally and pulled the trigger and purchased it January of 2013. I found it on craigslist literally down the street from me in Melbourne Florida where I was currently living. The owner I purchased the boat from was looking for a buyer that was going to restore the Chris Craft boat themself. He had a passion for restoring projects and wanted the person that was going to take on the task to enjoy the process as well.

Family and Friends at the time couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact of what I was getting myself into. I tried to explain my vision but my words couldn’t even come close to painting the vivid pictures in my dreams. Even though I had an idea of what I wanted with the project, looking back now I can honestly say that I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I made the purchase. What I did know for a fact was that I willing to do the research put in the effort and do the work to get the project done. I have always been pretty handy and good with my hands but never did restore anything so this huge project was a first for me. I did most of my research online and read plenty of books. Even though I did plenty of countless hours of research there was a lot of trial and error due to being an amateur. I wanted to do most of the work myself so the obstacles along the way were all part of the learning process. I visited the Antique Boat show in Tavares Florida in March of 2013 after purchasing my boat and that was the first time that I was actually exposed to Chris Craft boats fully restored in person, what an experience! Once I saw the boats fully restored it fueled the fire of my dream and obsession and couldn't get back to work on my boat.

My vision for restoring the boat was different than what I was admiring at the boat show and the restores that I was researching online. I wanted to take the classic 1956 Chris Craft boat and add a retro modern twist to it with a little help from my imagination. A lot of the people that are into restoring these boats could be my grandfather so their view on restoring these boats doesn’t veer away from how they were delivered from the factory. I on the other hand wanted to bring my boat into this century hence why I wanted to go with Seadek flooring in my boat vs. the traditional carpet/rubber flooring. The Engine was upgraded from a 95hp inline 6 from the factory to a small block V8 Chevy 383 stroker with 350+Hp. The sound system is completely JL Audio to include the Amp, One 8.8 subwoofer along with two 6.5 and two 7.7-inch speakers. The system is operated via Bluetooth no radio necessary everything can be controlled by your smart phone. The entire boat design, color combinations, woodwork and electrical work was all done myself. I interviewed several local mobile marine mechanics and was fortunate enough to meet the owner of Mobile Marine Tech Joe that helped me put in the new engine and transmission. The entire project took three years from start to finish but the memories and lessons learned from the restoration project Limitless will last a lifetime.

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