Last month, my “Restoring a Classic Glastron” feature detailed the restoration of a 1978 Glastron GT 150 — the boat James Bond skippered over a levy and a pot-bellied sheriff. That restoration inspired the second part of this series about the restoration of a 1979 Glastron Carlson CVX 16. If you missed the before and after pictures, you can find them at boatingmag.com/glastron-restoration.
The Barn Find
Boating was in my family’s blood, but over the years, life pulled us away from Lake of the Ozarks where we grew up.
That pull to the water gets stronger over time, though, and when I started emailing my brother, Brent Vance, images of what I’d nicknamed the “Bond” boat, he poked around on Craigslist. Within a week, he was sending me phone pictures of what really was a barn find.
It was a 1979 Glastron CVX 16 with a Johnson 115 outboard. The motor wouldn’t run but had compression, and the starter would kick it over. The gear case seemed sound as well. Even though it had been dormant for years, it had been covered and kept in an actual barn since 1978. Still on its original custom trailer, the barn find also had the original orange shag carpet, baby (think Austin Powers), but the original bronze upholstery was trashed. It had a misshaped tow pylon, was missing a front seat, and somebody had removed, but at least saved, the original dash.
Fifteen hundred bucks bought it, and Brent towed it to his garage where he tinkered with the motor until he gave up. For $300, a mechanic specializing in classic outboards got it humming — but only on his portable fuel can.
The internal fuel tank, like everything else but the dashboard, was original, steel and rusted. The sludge inside was an awful mixture of varnish, rust and water, without even a resemblance to the look or aroma of gasoline. The fuel tank was our second hurdle and, it turned out, an easy one.
Before he’d done anything else, he was boating.
Once the seats were out, the carpet followed. Underneath turned out to be fairly solid deck everywhere except a spot with a small hole near the transom by the motor well — the very spot where water might sit and accumulate during storage. It was so small, going over it with a couple of layers of laminate sufficed, but Brent’s glass man added a fiberglass panel over the deck and glassed it in too. The front seats required a little building up of the deck to support the Springfield Aluminum Trac-Lock 12-way adjustable seat mounts. The glass man did the deck and pedestals for $150. Afterward, Brent carpeted the boat and mounted the seats himself.
The steering was failing. A new SeaStar Solutions No-Feedback system was added ($250, westmarine.com). When you restore a boat over 10 years old with pushrod-style steering, assume it needs replacement. The penalty for a broken cable can be severe, and the peace of mind is better than cash equity. Even if the original steering is functional, modern systems feature no-feedback mechanisms which counterbalance the prop torque. Without these, turning against the torque requires excessive muscle, which can be awkward enough to be unsafe and at least inconvenient enough to make the system price tag a cost-effective upgrade. The steering wheel itself was found on eBay, and its smaller size was accommodated by the reduction in torque.
The cowling was damaged and faded, and the decals were peeling. Brent did all the fiberglass filling, sanding and masking himself, then found a professional painter to spray-paint it perfectly for $150. Surprisingly, there were still replacement Johnson decals available too ($80, ebay.com, Phantom Decal FX).
It’s not a real boat without a real stereo. He found an inexpensive JVC source unit and a Polk four-channel amp on Craigslist, then added a powered subwoofer that he tucked back into the bilge. You have to imagine the fish worry when he passes overhead.
Moeller Marine, maker of custom fuel tanks for many boatbuilders and replacement tanks for other boats, had a perfect replica of the old steel tank, but in a modern, roto-molded design. It came complete with a sending unit and special clips to secure the tank. It fit in the exact same footprint as the original tank. We had to make a minor adjustment to the tank platform to fasten the forward brackets, but after that, it clamped in firmly, and the fill hose, outflow and vent pipe fit precisely ($190, plastic-mart.com). We added a 10-micron fuel-water separator from Sierra for $50. Don’t leave home without one of those.
Seats and Upholstery
This required a fresh start. Wise Company supplied dual bucket seats in a standard yellow and white ($300 each) and sent matching vinyl to create cockpit bolsters and aft seating ($130). Then the boat was delivered to Grandview Upholstery, which is experienced with custom cars and boats and fully understood the challenge ($1,300, grandviewupholstery.com).
We wanted rid of the tow pylon but didn’t want to change the look of the boat with a wakeboard tower. The TurboSwing was so successful on the GT 150 that we wanted it on the CVX 16 too. It keeps the rope out of the water and helps keep it clear of the prop. It also keeps the rope in sight of the skipper and spotter. Bolting it to the engine bracket and mounting bolts took about an hour but required no modification to the boat, except two additional bolt holes through the engine bracket and transom. We drilled those and used silicone sealant in them to eliminate water intrusion.
Turning Point Propellers designs a series of compression cast-aluminum props touted to approach the performance characteristics of stainless steel. We tested both the three- and four-blade models and would have to concur. But, ultimately, we selected the four-blade model. Check out the performance report at boatingmag.com/glastron-redux.