Windham Life and Times – August 21, 2020

Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered a lot about classic boats. There have been more beautiful boats turning up on the pond including a gorgeous mahogany inboard, an interesting “Lumie” with a Bimini, and a nice hydroplane boat with a mid-century modern Evinrude. It might be a Minimost. I remember several of these being on the lake back in the day.  One of the most incredible discoveries I made was about the history of the AristoCraft boat and the Atlanta Boat Company. In my opinion, they made one of the most distinctive, mid-century modern, wooden boats ever built. I think there was one of these boats on Cobbett’s when I was a kid, but I couldn’t track down who might of owned it. What I remember was a white mercury engine on the back and the distinctive green windshield. If you know who owned it or have a photo please let me know.

    According to the AristoCraft website, “Atlanta Boat Works began manufacturing AristoCraft boats in 1946 following Claude Turner’s return from service in World War II. Production began with five employees at a downtown Atlanta location. These early days saw the production of an open fishing-type boat which was replaced in 1947 with the models that AristoCraft is known for. The Typhoon, a 12′ 2-seater runabout, was introduced, followed by a 13′ Torpedo that had a barrel stern. In the late 1940’s, AristoCraft even produced racing boats that included a bullet-nosed boat called the racing smoo. With the arrival of the 1950’s, AristoCraft engineered numerous changes. A cabin cruiser was marketed for a short while, introducing to the market a transom-mounted outboard motor bracket. In 1953, AristoCraft was being marketed through Western Auto and Montgomery Ward as the Wizard and the Sea King. Although hundreds were sold, this was phased out by 1954 to be sold through dealers only.” Here is the most incredible part of the story. They are still manufacturing these classic boats today. AristoCraft says, “New remanufactured boats are crafted by hand just like their predecessors of the 1950’s. Following the original design, the same screws, glues, jigs, machinery, and equipment to include band saws, planers, and polishers are used. Additionally, boats incorporate Z-Spar Varnish, and have Coast Guard regulated flotation, steering, and lighting.” These boats retail for not that much more than a Whaler of the same dimensions.

The classic 12 foot Torpedo shown above being built and which is available to be purchased from the Atlanta Boat Company for $12,500. A 14 foot Torpedo is $14,500. The 16 foot Torpedo has a price new of $16,500. You then have to add the cost of an outboard  motor, but quite an incredible boat for the price. AristoCraft is still a family business in Georgia and they will also customize details and colors and offer a customized trailer that compliment the boats.

Check out all of the AristoCraft boats currently in production and the company’s history of turning out beautiful boats at https://aristocraftboats.com/

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