1961 Chris-Craft Cavalier Custom cruiser

Here is an absolutely original survivor with the best upgrade possible, a high-end quality Yanmar turbo-diesel 4 cyclinder 4JH3-TE 80 horsepower diesel engine mated to a Kanzaki transmission/reduction gear. The boat weighs as advertised about 4,000 pounds so with the correct re-propping to a steep pitch 14″ 4-blade propeller and reinstallation of the Bennett hydraulic trim tab plates, this boat should be able to get up on plane and go a little bit faster. It won’t win any races but it beats putt-putting along at 6 knots or screaming at 30 knots and burning through $200 of gasoline in a weekend. Diesels are famous for sipping fuel and lasting forever.

This boat is 90 percent of the way to being finished mechanically. The engine is in place and set at the correct pitch to the mated reduction gear and propeller shaft. It has been wired to the Yanmar engine panel which will just need to be mounted either under the steering wheel or above the gauges. The two items needing to be hooked up are the exhaust and the fuel lines. Just need someone to determine what exhaust riser elbows will work best. The exhaust pipes are there and go out the transom. Literally just need the elbows/risers connected and the fuel line connected and you’re good to go.

This boat is a survivor in the truest sense of the word. I appears she has been a freshwater Pacific Northwest boat all of her 60 years. She was finished at the Chris-Craft factory in Algonac, Michigan on July 13th, 1961 and shipped to Portland, Oregon. She is currently located in the greater Seattle area so she has not travelled far.

About this boat:

We purchased it this past year with the idea of connecting the exhaust and fuel lines and using it as a fishing boat in Puget Sound, but we determined its just too nice of a boat and too much of a survivor for us to molest with fishing equipment and subjecting it to salt water. The previous owner was a collector car restorer and did a great job on the mahogany bright work inside the boat. Its beautiful ribbon grained mahogany in reds and yellow and just sings out from under the glossy varnish. A little elbow grease on the brightwork on the toe rail etc and it too will sing. Just painted the hull with high quality epoxy enamel gloss white paint. Bottom paint will be left to the buyer to decide what they want to do.

Truly believe this boat has survived so long and so well because it is not a planked boat but as with all Cavaliers, she is a high, high quality marine plywood bottomed boat. Solid surface of well maintained plywood and way less fasteners equal less water penetration over the planked boats. Sure, the glossy mahogany runabouts are nice, but all cruisers have painted white hulls and with all of the rich dimensional mahogany on the topsides, you get the best of both worlds.

Make no mistake, she is a light cosmetic project. This is THE IDEAL WINTER PROJECT/COVID boat for the handy person. Come next spring you will be the envy of all on the water as you not only have a wonderful, floating classic, you have a super thrifty diesel engine that won’t break the bank when scooting around all weekend. This is the boat Chris-Craft should have built in the 1960’s.

The trailer isn’t the correct trailer for the boat and we are intending to keep it. It is for an inboard competition ski boat like a Ski Natique. The bunks are not in the right place for this size boat and we don’t want to have any hogging issues. Plus it is a single axle trailer and a boat of this side needs a double axle trailer at a minimum. At 4,000 pounds you can tow it with a standard half ton pickup but again, you’ll want a matched trailer for the boat.


Location: Woodinville, Washington, United States

Seller: fauxlex

See listing: 1961 Chris Craft Cavalier Custom cruiser (from October 23, 2020)