Restoring Used Boats

A Man Builds His Dreamboat

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

Once the fiberglass was cut there was no going back.John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

A shot of the cabin that would eventually be replaced with custom bow seating.John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

The new layout mocked up in foam core.John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

A slide out toilet was also added during the customization.John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

The foam core was used as a mold for the fiberglass layup.John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

Patterning and sewing the seats was the final step in the build.John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters

One-Of-A-Kind Formula 223 Spyder

John Grooters' one-of-a-kind Formula 223 Spyder turns heads and elicits lots of positive comments.John Grooters

“I had mad skills. Somebody hand me a sawzall.”

John Grooters’ email grabbed this recalcitrant hobbyist boat builder and restorer with that line.

The Holland, Michigan resident is my kind of guy.

Not finding what he really wanted, or could really afford, on the open market, he took matters into his own hands and rebuilt a used Formula boat into the bowrider of his dreams. Instead of relating his experience, I've simply cut and pasted his letter. No filters, editors or gatekeepers stand between you and the mind of this dedicated, motivated and highly-skilled buyer of used boats.

Restoring Used Boats

Grooters bought a closed bow 1987 Formula 223LS (sistership photo). He converted the used boat into the world’s first and only Formula 223 Spyder bowrider. Courtesy Formula Boats.

1987 Formula 223 Spyder: A 223 Spyder, not a 206 Spyder.

I remember seeing the 206 Spyder when it came out and saying to myself, ”Self, that is a sweet, boat.” I ended up buying an 18ft Regal for less money, and later upgrading to a Rinker 206 Bowrider. Those were both great boats, but I still wanted a Cabin Bow Rider, something like the 25’ Nordic Rage. Unfortunately, at $60,000+, that was out of my price range. I finally bought a 1987 223LS, and hatched a plan to build what I couldn’t buy. I had tools. I had a boat. I had mad skills. Somebody hand me a sawzall, I’ve got work to do.

A couple years ago I located a clean, used Formula in the Chicagoland area. After a partial season running it as originally built, I had decided to make it what I really wanted. Some careful measurements proved it could be done. My job as a Professional Model Maker meant I had the skills, tools, and knowledge to make it a reality. After I carefully marked out the opening, it was time to cut fiberglass. No going back now. Once the hole was there, I mocked up the new layout in foam core and designed in a slide out toilet, for the girls. I used an aluminum and fiberglass honeycomb for the horizontal floor and benches and used the foam core as a mold for the fiberglass layup.

After a great deal of final surface prep, I painted it up and did the final install. The last step was patterning and sewing up the seats. The boat gets lots of positive comments, and most people who see it assume it must have come this way from Formula. Those that know this boat was never available in this configuration tend to be effusive in their praise of the final result, while also stating it looks like more work than they would ever want to take on. I think it was worth it though. I have a one of a kind boat like I always wanted, and it performs beautifully.

John Grooters,
Holland, MI