Monday, March 31, 2008

1958 Evinrude "Lark Super Quiet" 35 HP Motor

For those interested in such things, the motor that came with the Batboat I bought turns out to be a very desirable one. A 35 horsepower Evinrude Lark Super Quiet, model 35514. It was made in 1958.

Desirable, I've learned, because of the straight forward mechanics. Like a Jeep, there are only a few things that can go wrong with them and they are not complicated fixes.

There are so many of them in use some parts are still made.

One of the fins, or anti-cavitation plates, is broke. But I am told these sections can be found cheap and plentiful. Its job is to help prevent the propeller from sucking in air from the surface of the water. However, if the prop is low enough in the water it won't need that part.

This is one of the reasons why I feel I got a good deal on the boat.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

March 14 pt. 2 and A List For Fixing A Fiberglass Boat

(peices of carpet, sports boat interiors, car radio, and other stuff)
The weather in this part of the country is warming up. Pretty soon it will be the right temperature for properly setting fiberglass epoxy. Until then, here is more on Friday, March 14th and what is needed to repair the boat.

There are enherant problems with any old fiberglass boat you'll come across.

After tearing up most of the floor carpet, I unscrewed and set aside the original Glastron Boat Co. sports boat stylings from the the inside hull to make room for the future work of removing of the plywood floor and fiberglass deck.

Despite the tarping and good care it had since turned into a Anti Crime Water Craft, the rotted floor and carpet were so damp, moisture soaked though my clothes as I was laying down working in the confined area under the Batboat's fin deck.

Things like the old car radio, speakers and parts of the damp, mildewed carpet were thrown out. I made the mistake of putting them in the garbage inside the house because I woke up the next day with a upper respiratory infection from mold spores. Be very careful with this stuff and keep it outside.

When someone buys an old fiberglass boat assume it will be a project boat. This is definitely one of those. The early 1970s solid fiberglass hull, deck and vinyl stylings can withstand all sorts of weather and neglect, however, the structural wood and under floor foam flotation will not.

When the hulls of these now classic boats were on the production line, untreated wood floor supports called "stringers" were fiberglassed in along the bottom, lengthwise. Chunks of foam were then laid in between these stringers to keep the boat floating in case it takes on water. On top, a plywood floor was mounted on these stringers and fiberglassed in.

Carpeting is not good for these kind of boats. When wet it holds water to the plywood and if not dried the slow process of rot and mold begins. Even humidity is a factor.

Smelling the rank of all this damp rot got me very worried and I quickly squirmed further into the confined space to the back of the boat to check the Sealed Atomic Batteries. I found them in the rear port and aft side compartments. What a relief that those were still intact with no leaks or corrosion. If they had it I'd have an enormous problem on my hands. ;)

(the rotten transom of the Batboat as seen from under the fin.)

At the stern, or rear of the boat, another sheet of plywood called the transom is laminated and fiberglassed in. This is one of the most important structural parts of the hull because the engine is mounted to it and weights over a couple hundred pounds. If this transom wood is rotten or cracked, instead of the motor pushing the boat through the water with hundreds of pounds of force it will actually push through the boat.

That is what I suppose happened to this Batboat. The motor either went through the fiberglass while out on the water or punctured it just by its own weight.

(a kind of hard caulk was used to fill the damaged fiberglass, inside and out, and to stick the bat symbol to the stern)

I first presumed that the white outlined red Bat symbol on the stern covered a large hole but was lucky to find it was only puncture damage to the fiberglass hull from the engine.

I had a hard time getting the plywood red Bat off. At first it looked like it was screwed and bolted but then found it was also glued on with some sort of hardened caulk. It finally came off with a crowbar and a lot of annoyance, time and effort. A small chunk of the fiberglass hull came off it, too.

(transom from inside the Batboat)

It's going to be a pain getting the rest of this caulk off. Its like soft concrete.

All of this rot and damage is no big deal because the wood has to be replaced anyway. I found that these are standard repairs for any restoration of an old fiberglass boat.

Plywood made today is superior and if finished properly these boats are more sea worthy than when they left the factory. They'll last longer,too.

Here is the list of what needs to be done to this Batboat before creating the new fins and other details.
  1. Disassemble the Batboat by removing the aluminum rubrail and lifting off the deck. Store the deck on saw horses to have complete access to the hull. It will be in two halves; deck and hull.
  2. Take out the rotten wood floor, soaked foam flotation, stringers, and transom. Make templates of it all.
  3. Grind all the old fiberglass down to the hull and clean up.
  4. Repair the fiberglass damage to the stern.
  5. Fiberglass in the new stringers, place new flotation foam in between them, glass in the new floor and transom. Do it right the first time or $$ and time will be wasted.
Basically, the entire boat has to be disassembled and repaired. What fun this is going to be. Never done anything like this before so I bet I'll learn a few new lessons but with tips from the helpful people at the and Classic Glastron forums it should go more smoothly. :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cool Picture Of The Week - European Drug Runner Boat

This inflatable 2,000 horsepower craft is said to have reached speeds of over 70 MPH. Almost enough to give the Batboat a run for its money.

It had speed in more ways than one. This thing was used to run drugs in Europe and was confiscated during a bust.

The picture was taken at a government auction.

Another Picture Of The Space Craft Royal Flush 23

Hijinks, a member of the Classic Glastron Owners forum, emailed a cool picture of the Space Craft Royal Flush 23 today showing this one of a kind, outer space boat from another angle.

Thanks, Hijinks. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Removing The Original Steering Wheel And Motor, Friday March 14, 2008.

(the original Glastron Boats steering wheel hub cover. click on images for larger size)
Can’t believe that so much time has gone by since my last blog post. It’s time to start blogging about the Batboat project.

Last time, I mentioned difficulty in removing the steering wheel. It was the original that had been in the boat since it was built in 1971. Because of years of extreme variations of outdoor weather the metal in the wheel hub almost became as one with the steering column bolt. This was a big problem for me because the first work I wanted to do in the Batboat was take the huge, 50 year old outboard motor out from under the deck/fin.
(The 1958 Evinrude motor half pulled from under the fin deck with the steering wheel and seat platform in the way)

The Batboat was built with the large, heavy engine laying on the deck sideways, under where the fin is, and no matter what I tried to get it out, the steering wheel was always about 2 inches in the way. So was one of the seat columns. More on that later.

I found some help on the internet. Folks at the Classic Glastron forum had suggested AutoZone’s tool loan program. One can borrow rarely used tools, such as steering wheel pullers.

Early the next day I made my way there and paid a refundable $20 deposit for the steering wheel puller. Very reasonable, IMHO.

I forgot to take pictures of the steering wheel puller in place on the wheel but the tool looks like this. The claws grip underneath the wheel hub and the long black bolt is positioned in the center of the steering column bolt. When being turned, the bolt puts downward pressure on the steering column bolt causing the claws to pull with upward pressure on the steering wheel until it pops off.
I had to destroy the plastic around the center of the steering wheel. Once I broke most of it off I was able to get the puller to grab the metal part underneath. It still took a lot of pressure to get it off.

The wheel is in the trash bag on the curb now. Good riddance to it. While under a tremendous amount of tension the puller tool shot off and hit me in the face on my first attempt. My chin hurt and lip lightly bled until 7 days later. Good thing I wasn’t hit a little higher up, on my lower front teeth, or they'd be gone.

With that out of the way I started on getting the engine out.

I workout and can lift things that have a lot of weight but had a time with the motor because of the awkward angles it had to be coaxed out. Remember, I still haven’t taken the shrink wrap tarp off yet. I get in through a hole cut in the side.

The remaining swiveling bass boat seat platform was now in the way. It took a while and one broken drill bit but it was finally cleared out.

"But then, what did you discover under that?” you may ask. Why, a big hole rotted into the deck.

(plywood floor is rotted where the boat seat column used to be -->)

Being warm outside the Batboat began to thaw out and inside it smelled like a bag of damp potting soil. After getting the seat column out and seeing the hole I ripped up most of the deck carpeting and found that original deck was completely gone to rot. The old sheet of plywood screwed on top of it was soggy and in poor condition, also. Not a big deal, however. All this wood has to be replaced anyway for the boat’s transformation into an Atomic Age Anti-Crime Water Cruiser. More on this in my next update.

The engine must have weighed over 200 pounds but I finally got it out myself with no help and put it against my porch.

The temperature has dropped since Friday the 14th so nothing further has been done inside the boat. The next blog on this Batboat will be on other work done on that day.

All of this took more time than I thought it would, however, it was all fun, I enjoyed it, and it felt great to finally be doing stuff outside all day after three months of extreme cabin fever.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cool Picture Of The Week: Popular Mechanics, Sept. 1966 page 84

This Cool Picture Of The Week entry is from the News Brief section of Popular Mechanics, September 1966, page 84. It is one of the number of photos taken by Glastron before the Batboat was shipped to Hollywood.

This item shared the same page as a necklace remote radio transmitter alarm for invalids and disabled people.

Popular Mechanics used to be in digest publication form, 6 1/2 x 9 inches, until the 1970s when it was printed in the larger magazine size we see today. They are easy to find on eBay and antique stores, often at a low price.

Other articles include a new device that lets you drive a car sideways into tight parallel parking spaces, 42 pages of do-it-yourself home remodeling ideas and a computer controlled automated fast food and hamburger making machine called MIMS.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

...More On The Space Craft Corp. "Royal Flush"

This boat is rarer than I assumed. I posted a query at the forum and it turns out that the Royal Flush boat pictured here is one of two ever made.

I suppose it is possible, perhaps, that it's sister craft, the Queen Mary Lounge, may never had existed beyond the planning stages or first prototype.

These two pictures were taken at a Beloit, WI boat meet around 2005.

The current owner of this 23 foot craft hopes to start restoring it in the near future. It has been stored indoors for the past several years.

This futuristic craft was last run in the water in the 1980s and according to it's owner it handled very well and was built around 1970 by Space Craft Corp., probably located in the Los Angeles area.

The owner believes the one pictured in the 1970 Powerboat Annual with two steering wheels was probably a prototype.

The one pictured here could be the revised version because it has one steering wheel and appears to have been built on a production line.

It was rumored to be in a low budget spy movie. I'll see if I can find out which one.

According to the owner's post at the Fiberglassics forum this went through at least five owners before falling into his hands.

Here is a photo of the boat surrounded with about 18 years of growth behind Big Bill's Autoparts salvage yard, Newport, MN. All you can see is the ball hitch.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cool Picture Of The Week: Space Craft Corp. "Royal Flush"

(click photos for a larger image)
A few weeks ago I won an eBay auction that included a rare 1970 Power Boat Annual catalog. I got it hoping the V-145 model would be in it but this particular volume didn't include any Glastron boats. My Batboat was built from a 1971 V-145.

However, browsing through it I found this one, a 1970 Space Craft Royal Flush 23.

This craft looks like something Space Ghost would use to water ski.

Check it out. This has two steering wheels!

Overall Length - 23' 5"
Beam (that means "width") - 95"
No. of Passengers - 5 to 6
Hull - Fiberglass
Positive Flotation - Foam
Price - $3,950 to $7,950

I searched the net for additional information and pictures but no luck. Even the Fiberglassics site has no details on the Royal Flush or Space Craft Corp. Maybe this was one of those short lived boat companies that made a couple hundred boats before folding.

Here is the description of the Royal Flush and sister model, The Queen Mary Lounger, exactly as printed in the 1970 Power Boat Annual Vol. 3.
"Born for adventure. Bred for excitement. The all new Space Craft Royal Flush is a real space unbeatable looks as well as high breath taking performance. Her fast new lower hull leaves boredom behind. The Royal Flush’s power unleashes plenty of zip for joyriding or skiing, and the Royal Flush’s racy outer space looks come naturally, pleated bucket seats with lounge seat and all weather carpet, equipped with special custom styles aircraft controls with electronic push buttons dual fashion. Just to touch the mark you as a person with discerning taste and imagination. Moves lik lightning yet treads ever so softly, because of the unique sea plane design lower hull tail end which creates lift and planes high with greatly reduced drag. This gives the Royal Flush unusual speed, which she maintains even under heavy load. The Royal Flush leaps on a plane like a Jet headed for outer space. One ride will prove to you that the royal flush actually rides better and softer than traditional deep-V’s and because she sits up high and level, on instant plane even on choppy water, the spray leaves the chine far aft and gives you a dry ride. You’ll feel like a pro as you grip the all new aircraft control wheel with electronic push buttons. This will give you some insight into the pleasurable excitement the Royal Flush generates, far advanced from the basic run of the boats of to-day.

Here is plush living for those who desire space and comfort with safety for all, seating that can be arranged as you like it, storage compartments for all your needs, great for just plain lounging in the sun on the upper deck. Tail end perfect for diving off the built-in gentle spring board, and safe as the prop is seven feet back out of reach. Here is prestige at its best. Unsinkable as it has built-in polyurethane foam floatation.

Queen Mary Lounger crafts includes non slip Marine grained decking, all weather carpet family lounge, instrument panel, steering mechanical, folding Marine seats, stair chrome rail, safety chrome railing around deck, built-in step to lounge area, non slip diving stand built-in, pilot bucket seat. Special concealed outboard motor mount. Running lights. The Queen Mary Lounger is the only boat in existance whereby and outboard motor can be installed and you can’t tell it from an inboard, a 1st by Space Craft Corp.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

At Last... Warm Weather!!!

(plywood from the Batboat center console waiting it's turn for burning)
After months of frustration, it is finally warm enough for me to go outside to work on the Batboat. Most of the snow and ice has thawed!

For many reasons this was my worst winter in recent memory. Getting stuck in the house surrounded by several uncompleted projects, including the boat, and living in a small town is no fun. I almost went nuts!

Monday was the one of the several days since December I was able to take care of some projects. Most had depended on my having the table saw outside.

First thing that afternoon when I realized how warm it was, I found a dry spot in the driveway for the table saw and immediately buzzed up the plywood that was the Batboat's former center console. I dismantled that console back in in January and since then it had been frozen to the ground. The cut up pieces burned nicely in my terra cotta burner for an afternoon lunch campfire.

I fashioned Batman utility belt pouches from a large sheet of oak plywood that has sat in my kitchen for three months. Made the cylinders, too, out of oak dowels. I waited to do this for a very long time. There is now enough to make 6 utility belts. It feels good to have that taken care of.

(newly made wood parts for Batman utility belts.-->)

Tonight spent couple of hours until dusk trying unsuccessfully to remove the steering wheel. It has to go due to the boat engine laying sideways inside the Batboat under the deck/fin but I can't get it out because the steering wheel is about 2 inches in the way. I spent a long time trying to move the motor in different angles to get it out with no luck. I removed the steering bolt and smacked the hell out the wheel hub with a hammer but it didn't budge. Classic Glastron forum members suggested AutoZone's loan program for a steering wheel puller. Will do that tomorrow.

This blog is going to be updated more frequently now.

Stay tuned. Same Batboat. Same Batblog!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Not much to write about lately

There is not much going on at this blog lately. The weather is still very wet and cold outside and after three months I still haven't been able to get back inside the Batboat to look things over. A major frustration.

I have had a lot of orders coming in from my internet business so I'll take a break from blogging until I can get caught up.

I will be probably be putting more stuff here next week, however.

A bunch of vintage 1966 Batboat stuff came in from eBay over the last few days.