Retro Boater Project-1958 Chris Craft Silver Arrow Prototype SA-00P2
The Life of a Silver Arrow
A Short History
Back in the 1950s, car manufacturers had discovered the beauty of fiberglass; it was light and easy to shape, yet strong and durable. Before long, boat builders realized this product was ideally suited for their applications. At the time, Chris-Craft was a leading builder of pleasure craft in America and although they had been experimenting with fiberglass in their designs, in 1957 they took it to a whole new level when they started work on a whole new fiberglass boat. Made available to the public in 1958, the Chris-Craft Silver Arrow used a fiberglass shell molded around a traditional nineteen-foot planked hull. It was painted in a very attractive two-tone color combination, with a metallic blue deck and silver hull. It also featured (almost a requisite for being built in 1958) a pair of prominent fins at the rear. In its day the Chris-Craft Silver Arrow was one of the most admired powerboats available. Its unique construction as well as its sleek, stylish profile and trim hull started a trend that spread throughout the industry. With its power and maneuverability the Chris-Craft Silver Arrow was known as the “Sports Car on Water” back in the late 1950s. This was a justly applied title considering it was capable of speeds up to 36mph, and could easily tow a pyramid of water-skiers. Yet, the Silver Arrow was versatile as it had a family-sized seating capacity of five. For more pictures and information, you can also go on the Chris Craft Silver Arrow Facebook Page.
The Life of a Silver Arrow
If you have not had the chance to check out one of these boat be sure to add it to your bucket list. Personally, I was never a huge Chris Craft fan, due to the fact of the many different builders of the golden years in wood boat building. But as I came upon a Silver Arrow in Minoqua WI, my visions of other boats diminished in an instance. A major reason I had not looked at Chris Crafts as much was due to the fact I preferred wild and unconventional design, but low and behold right in front of me was one of the craziest I had ever seen. From that day forward, I made it a internet search almost weekly, trying to scavenge up one that was cheap enough to get my hands on. Well, about 7 years later I ran across an Ebay list that I had actually seen a few years prior, still boasting its ridiculous price tag. Regardless, I contacted the owner, and it was obvious we were too far apart. No, more than maybe a year later this same boat reared its head from its cocoon in California to Ebay again, oddly with a different owner. Still with a steep price tag, I decided to contact the owner. As did the previous owner, a beat up and tattered Silver Arrow was once again worth its weight in gold. I tried desperately to negotiate pricing but the conversations went nowhere. About 6 months later, I happened to catch the owner at a week point when he finally came down to a price that we could both live with. A few days later the Arrow was on its way to Wisconsin. I still to the day can't believe I was able to get the seller to meet me on price. Mainly, because this was not just a rare Silver Arrow, it was the 2nd Prototype ever built, and the only one known to exist. To ad more, it is one of the only known Prototypes in the Entire history of Chris Craft. Upon receiving the boat I could do nothing but stare with a grin for days and days. Now, at the same time, my wife had zero understanding of my obsessions with the boat. About a week after, we decided to head down to Lake Geneva for the Boat Show. As we entered the show, I had to jump out of the car to register. While registering, I saw my wife and about 8 men standing around the Arrow. After registration, my wife promptly told me we had a couple people interested in buying our boat for much more than what we paid. In other words, after 10 minutes at the boat show my wife finally realized the significance of the boat she saw as a hinderance in the garage. So she let me off the hook for awhile......But as I truly didn't have the cash to pull off the needed restoration, it would have to wait. So a couple years rolled by and I made the decision to sell all my other prized possessions to make way for the Silver Arrow Restoration. As I dabbled in doing some restoration, this job was certainly not for me, but someone with real experience with these boats. I spent tireless amounts of time on the internet searching, as well as talking with people around the boating community. After a while I came to hear some of the same names pop up over and over. Paul Cundiff of Woodies Restorations was a resounding name as well as someone I already knew as an expert on the history of the Arrows, so it was obvious where the boat needed to be. Soon after I was headed down with the Arrow to meet Paul and see where my boat would be for the next couple years. After spending the day with Paul I was comfortable leaving my long sought after boat in the caring hand of Woodies Restorations. Since then we have gone down the twisted turns of any restoration, as well as some less conventional roads as the boat had a long and fabled history with its previous owners. Something I'll save for another day.....