HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: Great grandson recreates a 1930 Chris-Craft Model 103

Pick of the Day: Great grandson recreates a 1930 Chris-Craft Model 103

In 1990, descendent built a few copies of the famed wooden boat


The Pick of the Day is a collectible vehicle, though it is designed for cruising on water, not pavement. And while it is a reproduction of a 1930 Chris-Craft Model 103, it was produced in 1990 by Grand-Craft and a member of the Chris Craft family, according to the Grand Rapids, Michigan, dealer listing the wooden boat on ClassicCars.com.

Christopher Columbus Smith built his first wooden boat in 1874 when he was just 13 years old. Eventually he and his brother, Hank, founded the Smith Ryan Boat Company, which changed its name to Chris-Craft in 1924.

Great grandson recreates a 1930 Chris-Craft Model 103

Chris-Craft boats were among the finest in the world, and Henry Ford and William Randolph Hearst were among the company’s customers. The Smith family sold the boat-building company in 1960.

Grand-Craft was established in 1979 by Steve Northuis with help from Chris Smith, a descendent of Christopher Columbus Smith. Grand-Craft has built boats for the likes of Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Kid Rock, according to its website.

“Back in 1990, Chris Smith, great grandson of Christopher Columbus Smith, the founder of Chris Craft, created the reproduction 1930s era Model 103 sport runabout offered here as the Heather J,” the dealer reports. 

“Originally, 24 such boats were commissioned, but only 16 were built. This is number 8 of 16 created in the Holland, Michigan factory. 

Great grandson recreates a 1930 Chris-Craft Model 103

“Based on the 1930 Model 103, this newer version boat is stronger than the original,” the dealer assures. “Its inner lath runs diagonally instead of vertically, and are epoxy-coated. 

“The Heather J has lived her entire fresh-water life in Spring Lake, about 15 miles north of Holland. The triple-cockpit runabout has just 60 hours running time on it. The boat’s excellent condition owes to special care given it by its owner. “

The dealer says the boat was “always properly stored in climate-controlled building since new, it has never endured any freezing temperatures to protect the integrity of the wood, and it has never been allowed to remain for any extended length of time in the water.”

The boat is 24 feet long and 6.4 feet at the beam. It draws power from an OMC/Ford Windsor 351cid V8 linked to an automatic transmission. The engine reportedly has run for only 27 hours.

Great grandson recreates a 1930 Chris-Craft Model 103

“The faithfulness to the original Model 103 design and the quality of the workmanship in this build are evident in every component, in every detail and on every surface. It is a fully documented mint-condition execution in Honduran mahogany. 

“From the chrome on the operating controls; to the deep-green hull paint; to the period-design instruments perfectly located in an engraved-metal surround; to its Art Deco steering wheel; to the stunning deep-red leather upholstery, this is as perfect an execution of the Model 103 as exists anywhere.”

The sales price of $69,900 includes a custom trailer.”

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. I’ve owned a 1962 Chris for over 20 years now and became enamored not only with the exquisite “wood on water” vibe, but the gentle warble of the exhaust. There’s nothing quite like it. And it looks good behind my Impala, too!

  2. The green on the bottom of the hull is there because it is an anti-fouling paint. This paint extends up the sides of the hole to the projected water line.

    Woodhulls, especially those that are in saltwater, are prone to damage from boring worms and other damaging parasites.

    The green color typically means it has copper in the paint. Copper is an effective deterrent to these damaging organisms…

  3. Not so fast boys my father bought a 17’foot special in 1942 still to this day I use it and love it everyday I get in it is the happiest day of my life best of all my mother gave it to me and said if you think it’s worth the effort

  4. I grew up on Lake Superior as my father before me. He owned a CC and so have I. My Dad and uncle owned a sporting goods store. Back in the day as young men they sold ski boats including Chris Craft. They took their girls water skiing. Dad used to say Chris craft sold itself and your mother’s legs helped!


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