Last summer, Nissan told us they'd donated a 5.6-liter V8 from an Infiniti QX56 to a boatbuilding project. That engine went to Alabama to be marinized. But what of the boat part? It's a 20-foot, wood-hulled 1962 Chris-Craft Holiday, now being refurbished by grizzled boatbuilders somewhere in Maine.
What could be even cooler than a Chris-Craft with a hot-rodded Nissan V8? How about the tally of engines the 50-year-old boat once hosted: a 431-cubic inch Lincoln plank head marine engine and a pair of 440-cubic inch Chrysler Hemi marine V8s, including one with dual quads.
The boat-shop guys in Maine flipped the CC over last week, and they've starting removing and replacing the planks for the total refurbishment process, which is happening while the Nissan V8 is getting new, water-cooled exhaust manifolds fabricated and a closed cooling system adapted. More than 85 percent of the wood in the decking and hull will be replaced before the project is over.
[George "Dodo" Brockman, owner of Freeport Boat Outlet] estimates that when the hull and decking restoration is complete, he and head craftsman Jimmy Martin will use more than 600 board feet of high grade sustainably harvested mahogany to cover the framework, hull, transom and deck. For the hull and deck, they start with two-inch thick boards, cut them down the middle, and then mill to half-inch planking to create book-matched pieces for each side. The inside wood, even the parts not visible to the eye, goes through a similar handcrafting process. Assembly of the new wood pieces follows the original process, only with modern bonding agents (in addition to the screws) providing improved structural integrity. Eventually 15 coats of special marine varnish will be applied over a period of 25 to 30 days.
After that, the boat will get a ton of custom interior work. Of course, before the project can be completed, they'll likely have to deal with the ghosts of those old powerhouses. Here's hoping they've got plenty of burning sage and know the right incantations.