Lot 153

St. John's 2013

1955 Chris-Craft 21' Cobra Runabout Recreation


$55,000 USD | Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan



Identification no.
  • Crafted by Kib Hundley, the nation’s largest Chris-Craft dealer
  • Equipped with a new Mercruiser V-8 with less than 100 hours
  • Modern practicality and mechanicals with classic appearance

200+ hp Mercruiser V-8 engine. Length: 21 ft.

During the 1950s, the Michigan-based Chris-Craft Boat Company was arguably building the finest wooden runabouts and speedboats in the world. Celebrities of the day, including Dean Martin, Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley, all owned Chris-Craft boats. Without question, it was one of the most respected names in luxury pleasure boating.

The 1955 Chris-Craft Cobra is, perhaps, the ultimate combination of pre-war wooden handcraft and post-war American modernism. In those post-war years, wood was becoming old-fashioned and modern plastics were on the minds of both automotive and boat designers. With the introduction of the Corvette in 1953, America’s first fiberglass production sports car, the designers at Chris-Craft were inspired to create the Cobra as their top-of-the-line speedboat.

Using a racing-inspired wooden hull and a range of powerful engines, including Chris-Craft, Chrysler, and Cadillac power, top speed exceeded 50 mph. Adding to its sleekness is a car-like wraparound windshield and a fiberglass engine cover complete with dorsal fin; this was the first use of the novel material in a production boat. Even the steering wheel and interior look right at home in a 1950s automobile. Only 106 were produced over a period of just nine months in 1955; of those, fifty-one were 18-foot models and fifty-five were 21-foot models. The 21-foot models were available (depending upon engine), ranging from $4,860–$6,560, which was quite a heady sum in 1955. Today, they are among the most sought-after wooden speedboats, due to their speed, style, and rarity.

This boat was designed and built by Kib Hundley, and it was conceived by him and his son Byron, who built the boat for their own use. Hundley began hauling passengers for 50 cents a person across Lake Dallas, Texas, aboard his first boat, marking the beginning of the Hundley Boat Company in 1923. Hundley continued to build and sell boats for many years in Lake Dallas. By 1936, he became a Chris-Craft boat dealer, rising to prominence and ultimately becoming the country's largest inland dealer for Chris-Craft.

This magnificent watercraft is equipped with today's modern technology and equipment. The drivetrain is a new Mercruiser V-8 with less than 100 hours. It is fully-equipped with a custom interior, La Carrera steering wheel, custom gauge package, stereo system, a unique bow thruster system, tonneau cover, and custom aluminum trailer. When one looks at this boat, it is difficult to differentiate it from a Cobra built in 1955. Yet, this boat is comfortable to pilot and operates as a powerful, well-sorted, well-designed, modern watercraft built in the late 1980s. This Chris-Craft Cobra Recreation is nothing but pure enjoyment, offering the reliability and practicality of a new watercraft with the extraordinary looks and exclusivity of a real vintage Cobra.

Titled as 1989.