After about 7 months of searching for a Seafair Sedan, I finally found one that fit the bill. This page will be used to display the progress made toward restoring this lovely old first-year Seafair. But as a caveat, I must say that it's going to be a loooong restoration. You see, I am currently restoring the 1874 Victorian era house I call home and until I am finished with the house, the boat will largely remain untouched. I do hope to perform certain bits of restoration here and there when I have downtime from the house, though, and I will post any completed work, purchases, and questions here for other Seafair aficionados. So without further ado, let me show you the starting point.
This is how the boat arrived to my backyard in New Jersey. I purchased it, along with the original 1959 trailer and Evinrude Starflite II 75 horsepower v4 from a gentleman in Indiana. Before his ownership the boat spent it's life on the Missouri River.
The one truly unique feature that I have never seen on another Seafair are the docking lights. According to Eddie Grijalva who worked for Glasspar, these would have likely been a dealer installed option and not from the factory. They are a quality, professional installation which lends more weight to them having been installed when the boat was fitted out by the original selling dealer. I love them and they will be kept in situ.
This boat satisfied one of my biggest must-haves...bow rails! In my admittedly warped mind no cabin cruiser of this era is right unless it has bow rails. The boat also comes complete with some great Ship-N-Shore twin trumpet air horns and a Merriman Nautalite remote controllable spotlight, both original to the era. Plus that lovely roof-mounted bow light.
At the back hanging off the badly bowing transom is the 1960 Evindude Starflite II. It is original to the boat, so I figure the first owner bought this hull either in late 1959 or 1960 when the Starflite II arrived. It is remarkably complete and decidedly NOT frozen. The powerhead is free and the inside looks relatively clean. It should hopefully make an excellent restoration candidate.
Up at the helm there is an original 1959 Vollrath Viking wheel and an Aitguide Gauge Plate. The Wheel is super cracked and in terrible shape when removed but I've got it about 80% back to proper condition. The boat also has the original collapsible, swivel base helm chairs.
After finding out my speedometer was a later version than what the boat would have come with I decided to grab the right one. Took it fully apart, cleaned, polished, and reassembled. Not bad for $35.
I also scored a NOS OMC ammeter to replace the current one.
And with the body of my old speedometer and bezel, I swapped the guts from a broken Airguide barometer in so I will have this guy inside the cabin on the bulkhead.
My other acquisition has been a fuel tank. Mine was missing, and it had obviously had a 12 gallon rectangular tank in the splashwell...the tank straps are still present. Well, as luck would have it I came across this sweet Nautalloy that is period correct and fits the straps perfectly.
It has a really neat gauge but I believe I would prefer one at the dash so I purchased a bosch gauge and sending unit (more on that later). I'd like to keep the gauge perhaps for a fresh water tank in the future.
So that's the update for now...and also. I am constantly on the hunt for a 1959-1960 PORT SIDE transom piece like my starboard side shown here: Any leads, please let me know.
So, I had a little fun with photoshop. I bought a Bosch gauge and sending unit for the fuel tank and decided to make my own Airguide fuel gauge. I just need to buff out the bezel to bring up some more shine out of the aluminum.
I also managed to score an original Wilcox Crittenden head that came out of another Seafair. I pulled it all apart today to begin polishing out the bronze, and I did manage to find a NOS repair kit. I may end up bypassing the pump, though and having it hook up behind to an electric pump/macerator. We shall see.
My favorite thing I did today was to see how aluminum trim parts can polish up. I took the cabin roof rails and went through 4 different sanding grits, then two polishes on the bench polisher. What an amazing before and after!
love the custom gauge!
any chance that you would share a high res file of the airguide letter logo? I have been thinking of making a sign for the barn with logo and then "marine instruments" where you have fuel meter.
Yes, i do have a pretty good file of an Airguide speedometer face. I'm happy to send it to you! I'd attach it here but I can't reduce the size of the file enough, so if you can give me an email, I'll send the large one. Caveat: I've had zero luck getting PM's to work on this site.
is it a PNG that can be blown up without distortion?
did you print a decal for the fuel gauge?
I have the "sea speed" style speedo, tach and compass in the lake n sea and will be installing the 651 black n white style tach and speedo in the custom craft.
email sent, Eric. Yeah, the face is printed on a waterslide decal paper. I found the adhesive isn't strong enough so I cleaned the adhesive off and used a proper spray adhesive but the only issue I have is that it isn't glass smooth...you can see some texture in the light. Oh, to have silk screen capabilities. But it looks good enough for me, even better now that I polished the bezel today. It looks like chrome now.
Acquired a couple more needed items for the Seafair. The original Airguide model 87 gimbal compass that came on the boat was totally cracked and weathered and empty of liquid from 62 years of sun and elements. I managed to find a minty clean one still filled to the top:
I also lucked out in finding an original instructional plaque for using the Wilcox Crittenden head. Super happy to find one.
Now if only I could find that darn rear corner piece for the transom! That's probably going to take years.
FINALLY! I found the last of my missing parts! Gentleman who was parting out a 1960 had all the remaining pieces of trim I need to complete my list of necessary items. I got the 1959-1960 only port side transom bracket, the two missing transom-to-deck joint pieces, two original footrest brackets to replace the modern shelf brackets on my one side, and for good measure the two pieces near the upper windshield that have the receiver for the bimini top frame (someone royally screwed mine up with drilling in eye bolts for something). I'm happy as a clam. Here's to the power of daily searching across multiple platforms!
In my recent haul of salvaged Seafair parts not shown above was this: The trim piece that covers the cabin door threshold. It had gone missing on ours. I love seeing how a piece of aluminum most would consider junk off a boat destined for the scrap heap can be returned to glory. It's small, but today, the boat got just a teeny bit better.
This piece was heavily scratched up and very oxidized. I began with a belt sander to level and remove most of the heavy gouges, then moved on to a random orbital sander with 100 grit. Then just hand sanded with progressive grits from 180,320,400, 800, and then wet sanded with 1500 and 2500. Then used brown polish on the buffing wheel and finally white polish on the fine buffing wheel. It honestly looks like chrome now.
Thanks Brujitoforlan, Yes, mostly Eday but some from folks parting out other seafairs. I search pretty much daily for the things I need and eventually they turn up. Be patient. Good luck with your boat!
So I've long wanted the Seafair to be a period appropriate seafoamy minty green color. I like the original blue but the green makes me weak in the knees. Recently I've been playing around with samples and finally found one I thing may fit the bill. It's a Sherwin Willliams color called "vegan". What do you guys think?
So I got a few more items to show...First, NOS Airguide tach. This has the 654 battery ignition sender but I have located a magneto sender for my 1960 Evinrude.
This is the original Airguide gauge plate that came with the Seafair, but with both a tach and speedo I needed to find the twin large gauge plate. After much searching Ebay turned one up. So this one for a speedo and either ammeter or fuel gauge is likely up for sale.
Here's the Ebay sourced plate with my gauges fitted. I also temporarily fit the ignition....
And, the HOT light! It fit almost perfect. just had to notch the plate a bit for the hot light locator pin.
In order for this to work I needed to source a 1961+ V4 head with the well for the temp sensor, and the corresponding water jacket cover. Ebay also turned up this NOS unit. In addition, I got an original OMC warning buzzer that will be mounted under the helm to alert me to any overheating condition should I miss the HOT light.
Thanks Ed MC for all your assistance!
Finally got the Evinrude off the Seafair...will you take a look at the severity of that bow in the transom? Yikes. At least the weight is off now and the Fiberglass should be okay and straighten out once a new core is in place.
The engine is now on the stand I built in my basement where it can stay protected and get worked on as time allows.
Well, some more goodies came in the mail. First, I needed a new bulb housing for my stern light which had a broken bulb holder / lens, and was looking for an upgrade....found this for 5 bucks on Ebay, made by Hella, no less. Strange, never knew they made marine products. It will need re-chroming along with the original base and pole but the best part is the lens is glass. Cool.
I also managed to score just about every replaceable part for the Prestolite power tilt! Marineengine.com even had several of the original wiring harnesses in stock for cheap!
And speaking of wires, I dug into the pockets a bit and got full new internal/external engine wiring harnesses for the Evinrude from nymarine.ca. They are very well made and frankly I'm amazed that even one human on this planet still goes through the trouble of making them. Thanks, Peter! I'll feel much better knowing the engine wiring is 100% new.
Great looking stuff. They just don't make stern lights like that anymore.
I've also had good luck with Marineengine.com. I've been able to find NLA Quicksliver/Mercruiser parts there. They must be good at find old dealerships and acquiring their obsolete inventory.
Love your boat! Ive got a '59 as well. I did a decent restore a few years ago and am in the process of re-gelcoating the hull, installing the proper dimension gunnel board(my initial depth was wrong and made. the trim incompatible), and . We live on the Puget Sound, and the boat usage. steered me away from the 50hp evinrude that was on there when i got it. I have an '88 Merc 115 that has been great! I redid the stringers, floor and transom, repainted the topdeck. I've added a newer splashwell and installed a 20G gas-tank under it. Got rid of the head, reupholstered the cuddy cushions, and added a headliner with lights.
I love all the attention to detail with your boat! Can't wait to see it finished!
Thanks for the kind words about this '59. It will be a loooong project, I assure you. Many things to do to the house and such before I can get on to this restoration. Years, likely.
I'm sorry I didn't see this earlier, as I have the trim pieces you were looking for, but small world, my wife is on FB and she posts on the Glasspar site and she is the one who you dealt with about the '59 rear trim piece that you offered. She says you already found the pieces you needed. Thank you for the transom piece!
As for parts, I mostly scour ebay but that's for all the non-Glasspar related stuff. There's really nothing for Seafairs on ebay...I've had some luck with Craigslist, found one guy who was willing to part out his 1960 and managed to score some good parts that way. Just keep looking!
You should have a build album over here too. Would love to see more pics.