Chris Craft Runabout for Sale: A Timeless Classic on the Water

Step into the world of Chris Craft runabouts, where elegance and performance intertwine. These iconic vessels have graced the waters for decades, captivating boat enthusiasts with their timeless designs and exhilarating rides. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice seeking adventure, a Chris Craft runabout is the perfect companion for unforgettable moments on the open water.

From their humble beginnings to their present-day legacy, Chris Craft runabouts have undergone a remarkable evolution. Their sleek lines, powerful engines, and luxurious interiors have remained a constant, making them a timeless symbol of American craftsmanship.

Chris Craft Runabout History

Chris Craft runabouts have a rich and storied history, spanning over a century of innovation and excellence. Founded in 1874 by Christopher Columbus Smith, the company initially produced small wooden boats. In 1922, Chris Craft introduced its first runabout, the 18-foot Special Runabout, which quickly gained popularity for its sleek design and powerful engine.

Over the years, Chris Craft runabouts have undergone significant evolution, incorporating advancements in technology and design. In the 1930s, the company introduced the Chris-Craft Custom Runabout, which featured a mahogany hull and a variety of customization options. The 1950s saw the introduction of the Chris-Craft Capri, a stylish and sporty runabout that became a popular choice for water enthusiasts.

Design Evolution

Chris Craft runabouts have consistently showcased innovative design features. In the early days, the boats were characterized by their classic wooden hulls and open cockpits. As technology advanced, Chris Craft incorporated fiberglass and other composite materials into the construction of its runabouts, resulting in lighter and more durable boats.

The evolution of Chris Craft runabout designs has also been influenced by changing customer preferences. In the 1960s, the company introduced the Chris-Craft XK-19, a high-performance runabout that appealed to a younger generation of boaters. In recent years, Chris Craft has continued to innovate with the introduction of models such as the Launch 25, which combines classic styling with modern amenities.

Types of Chris Craft Runabouts

Chris Craft produced various runabouts to cater to diverse preferences and needs. Each type offered unique specifications, features, and target markets. Here’s a detailed overview of the different types of Chris Craft runabouts:

Type Specifications Features Target Market
Triple Cockpit 18-26 feet long, powered by 150-300 horsepower engines Three separate cockpits for the driver, passengers, and rear-facing observer Families, recreational boaters seeking comfort and space
Barrel Back 17-23 feet long, powered by 115-150 horsepower engines Distinctive rounded stern and sleek profile Sports enthusiasts, speed boaters
Custom Runabouts 16-28 feet long, highly customizable in terms of design, features, and power Tailored to individual preferences and specific requirements Discerning boaters, collectors
Sportsman Runabouts 15-19 feet long, powered by 60-125 horsepower engines Compact size, maneuverability, and fishing-specific features Anglers, fishermen
Capri Runabouts 15-18 feet long, powered by 115-150 horsepower engines Stylish and sporty design, perfect for day trips and watersports Young boaters, recreational enthusiasts

The advantages and disadvantages of each type vary depending on the intended use and personal preferences. For instance, Triple Cockpits offer spaciousness and comfort, but may be less maneuverable than smaller runabouts. Barrel Backs prioritize speed and handling, but may have limited seating capacity. Custom Runabouts allow for complete customization, but come with a higher price tag. Sportsman Runabouts are ideal for fishing, but may not be suitable for general recreational use. Capri Runabouts are versatile and stylish, but may not have the same performance capabilities as larger runabouts.

Ultimately, the best type of Chris Craft runabout depends on the individual’s needs and preferences. With its diverse range of options, Chris Craft caters to a wide spectrum of boaters, from families seeking comfort to speed enthusiasts and avid fishermen.

Market Value and Pricing

Chris Craft runabouts hold their value remarkably well, with some models appreciating over time. Factors influencing pricing include:

Age and Condition

Older Chris Craft runabouts, particularly those in pristine condition, command higher prices. Boats that have been well-maintained and restored to original specifications are highly sought after.


Limited-edition models and those with unique features or historical significance are more valuable. Chris Craft runabouts from the pre-World War II era are particularly collectible.

Buying and Selling Chris Craft Runabouts

Buying and selling Chris Craft runabouts can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to do your research and understand the process before you get started. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Buying a Chris Craft Runabout

When buying a Chris Craft runabout, it’s important to find a reputable seller. You can do this by asking for recommendations from friends or family, or by searching online for reviews of different sellers. Once you’ve found a few potential sellers, you should inspect the boat carefully before making a purchase. Look for any signs of damage or wear and tear, and make sure that the boat is in good working order.

Once you’ve inspected the boat and are satisfied with its condition, you can negotiate a fair price with the seller. It’s important to be prepared to walk away from the deal if you can’t agree on a price that you’re comfortable with.

Selling a Chris Craft Runabout

There are a few different ways to sell a Chris Craft runabout. You can sell it privately, through a consignment shop, or at an auction. If you decide to sell it privately, you’ll need to advertise the boat and show it to potential buyers. You can also list the boat on online marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist.

If you decide to sell the boat through a consignment shop, the shop will take care of the advertising and showings for you. You’ll typically pay the shop a commission on the sale price of the boat.

If you decide to sell the boat at an auction, you’ll need to find an auction house that specializes in selling boats. The auction house will charge you a fee to list the boat, and you’ll also need to pay a commission on the sale price of the boat.

Maintenance and Restoration

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Maintaining and restoring a Chris Craft runabout is essential to preserve its value and ensure its longevity. Regular maintenance tasks include checking and changing the oil, spark plugs, and filters, as well as inspecting the hull, deck, and upholstery for any damage or wear. Common problems that may arise include fuel system issues, electrical problems, and engine overheating. Troubleshooting these issues typically involves identifying the root cause and replacing or repairing the affected components.

Restoration of a Chris Craft runabout can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and execution. DIY restoration is possible for those with the necessary skills and tools, but it is essential to research the process thoroughly and proceed cautiously. Professional restoration services are also available for those who prefer to entrust the work to experienced professionals. The cost of restoration varies depending on the extent of the work required and the materials used.

Chris Craft Runabout Community

The Chris Craft runabout community is a vibrant and passionate group of enthusiasts who share a love for these classic boats. The community is active online and offline, with numerous forums, clubs, and events dedicated to Chris Craft runabouts.

Joining the Chris Craft runabout community offers many benefits, including:

  • Access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise from other enthusiasts
  • Opportunities to connect with other owners and share experiences
  • Invitations to exclusive events and gatherings

Online Forums

There are several active online forums dedicated to Chris Craft runabouts. These forums provide a platform for owners to discuss technical issues, share restoration tips, and connect with other enthusiasts. Some of the most popular forums include:

  • The Chris Craft Antique Boat Club Forum
  • The WoodenBoat Forum
  • The Classic Boating Forum


There are also several Chris Craft runabout clubs around the world. These clubs typically organize regular events, such as boat shows, rallies, and cruises. They also provide a sense of community and camaraderie among members.


Throughout the year, there are numerous events dedicated to Chris Craft runabouts. These events provide opportunities for owners to showcase their boats, meet other enthusiasts, and enjoy the camaraderie of the community. Some of the most popular events include:

  • The Chris Craft Antique Boat Show (Alexandria Bay, New York)
  • The Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance (Lake Tahoe, California)
  • The Classic Boat Festival (Mystic, Connecticut)

Outcome Summary

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Owning a Chris Craft runabout is more than just acquiring a boat; it’s an investment in a piece of maritime history. Whether you’re looking for a classic wooden runabout to restore or a modern fiberglass masterpiece, the Chris Craft legacy offers something for every discerning boater. As you navigate the waters in your Chris Craft runabout, you’ll not only experience the thrill of the ride but also become a part of a proud tradition that has spanned generations.


What factors influence the pricing of Chris Craft runabouts?

Factors such as age, condition, rarity, and model type all play a role in determining the market value of a Chris Craft runabout.

Where can I find a reputable seller for a Chris Craft runabout?

Online marketplaces, boat shows, and specialized dealerships are all potential sources for finding a reputable seller of Chris Craft runabouts.

What are the advantages of joining the Chris Craft runabout community?

Joining the Chris Craft runabout community provides access to exclusive events, technical support, and a network of fellow enthusiasts who share your passion for these iconic vessels.