Sunday, July 5, 2015

The problem with buying that used boat

So you think you've scored a bargain with that 1976 Trojan Tri-fly you just snagged. You'll be cruising the Great Lakes and living large all the way from Toronto to Chicago to Thunder Bay.

Well, maybe not.

First of all, let's look at the best case scenario. Those twin big block Chryslers, assuming they've had a recent rebuild, are going to suck up several thousand dollars of fuel to get from Toronto to Chicago and back.

If they've not had a recent rebuild, you'll probably find yourself towed into the nearest marina not too long into your once-in-a-lifetime Great Lakes adventure.

That's where you'll find out a refit of those 383s is gonna cost you two or three times what you paid for the boat.

This is where a lot of folks go for it. After all, when you've been towed into a Michigan marina in the first week of your once-in-a-lifetime tour of the Great Lakes, there's a tendency to push ahead.

You've already flushed 20k down the shitter; why not follow it up with another 40?

Or, you could pull the plug and quit while you're ahead.

Suck up that bad call you made buying the Trojan and make the best of it.

Part it out.

That's when you get smacked in the head with the truth about old boats. A steel or aluminum hull at least has some scrap value. A fiberglass hull is a liability. If your drive train needs any work whatsoever those twins are worth their weight in scrap.

Unfortunately, you'll have to spend time and/or money fishing those Chrysler big blocks out of that fiberglass hull.

Can you see where we're going here?

When you buy that old fiberglass cruiser, you just paid the owner to take a liability off his hands.

In reality, they should be paying you.

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