Chris Craft Triple Cockpit
The Chris Craft Triple Cockpit the American favourite
81cm x 23cm x 23cm
Chris Smith built his first wooden boat in 1874 at the age of 13. Years later, he built a duck hunting boat. His friends liked the way he built them, and they asked him to build them one. This was technically the start of the boat company. He soon began to build more boats and joined his brother Hank in 1881 to begin producing boats full-time.
In the late 1920s, Chris-Craft extended its market into the middle class when it became one of the first mass-producers of civilian pleasure boats. The company began assembly line production at their plant in Algonac, Michigan, dramatically lowering production costs. Formerly, most powerboats had been hand-built. Engines were supplied by both Ford and Chrysler, and by the Hercules Engine Company in later models.
After the war, Chris-Craft introduced a new lineup of civilian pleasure boats in time for the massive American consumer expansion of the 1950s. That decade marked the height of company prestige, and the Chris-Craft brand name became virtually synonymous with pleasure boating. The company offered 159 different models, and it was the sales leader in many categories of small civilian powerboats.
The company sold high-end boats to famous customers such as Dean Martin, Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley. Their boats were often made from the finest mahogany and were considered to be among the best available. They were easy to operate, a must for their “weekend sailor” owners. In some circles, owning a Chris-Craft was considered de rigueur. Even their lower-priced boats were considered to be of high quality, often featuring such luxurious items as a liberal use of mahogany, teak, and brass.
Chris-Craft manufactured its first fiberglass boat by 1955. The company added a metal boat division in 1957, designated as the Roamer Steel Boats Division (RSBD). This was founded upon its purchase of the Roamer Boat Company, and the boats became known as Chris Craft Roamers.
The company continued to be independent until it was acquired by Shields & Company’s NAFI Corporation in 1960 and merged with NAFI. The merged company was renamed in 1962 as Chris-Craft Industries.