I just got home from buying this boat after searching for about 6 months. I wanted a cabin cruiser and didn't really care which make it was. I am happy with this one because it's a little beat up but has a good motor and good galvanized trailer. I plan to just use it to have fun out on the water and didn't want to care about the cosmetic condition.
Some things I want to do to the boat are:
Get some vintage controls that match the age of the boat and the outbaord
Get a bench for the rear of the cockpit
Put down some carpet in the cockpit
Make cushions in the cabin
Clean & remove bad wiring and fix things (nothing works except engine, no lights etc)
It does have the windshield but it is broken in two pieces so I will just tape it together most likely (unless there is a known fix)
These are the pics from the ad since I got home at night.
Wow nice find! The motor is much newer than the boat so it depends on what you're really looking to match, the boat or the motor. I'm not as familiar with the 70s motors but I don't think a vintage wiring harness will fit the motor so that will have to stay you could switch the steering control but I think you'll find what you have is much better control wise than what was original. Just my 2 cents, other folks smarter than me can chime in.
Thanks for the response. I see what you mean about the controls. I would be nice to have a cool wheel though, since the one I have now is plastic. I assumed that you could just take the wheel off and install a different one, like a car. And it wouldn't affect the mechanism.
Also I tried searching 1960 bell boy 15 and haven't been able to find a pic of a boat like mine. I would like to find some pics of boats that are more original so I can see what i'm missing. For example there are holes in the forward deck hatch, like something used to be attached. Also I have no horn and no rear light mast.
From everything I have been seeing on this site, Bell Boys are nice boats and it would be worth your while to spend some time on it. As for the keel, if it is just in the gel coat and not into the wood it is not of immediate importance but should be addressed soon. As for the registration, back then a lot of boats were miss tagged for one reason or another as in the year, ect. My boat is a 1959 17' Thompson Sea Lancer, but is registered as a 1962 18'. The motor that was on it when I bought it was a 1963 Merc 850, so I think it was sold new in 1962 or 63 after sitting unsold for a couple years. I didn't see any marks or holes that say it ever had anything different on it. I don't think they kept too close track on the details, and I don't think it makes much difference except to us that really want to know what we have.
I have removed a board that was hiding a large crack in the floor. I fiberglassed the crack and epoxied the entire floor in preparation to lay down some carpet. I believe the floor construction is fiberglass with a thin wood veneer, based on what I saw while sanding. I also re did the console that holds the throttle, and managed wiring. The steering cable is too long so it's not possible to mount it straight. I also created new doors for the rear compartment. Hopefully they will hold up ok. I epoxied the edges and the rest is just paint. I installed a bilge pump for when the boat is at the marina this summer. And I installed a new horn. Finally I have got some adhesive automotive "chrome" trim for the windshield. I should be able to install that soon. I will be buying a second 6 gallon tank and making some cushions fo the cabin later on.