Some people argue that everything was better, way back when. That may or may not be true, but what most definitely was better were items that required countless hours of labor from skilled craftsmen, primarily antique furniture and classic mahogany boats. Today's computer-controlled robots can stamp out plastic shells, but if you had to pay a crew of experts for thousands of hours of work to build a wooden boat, it would be something only the very rich and famous could afford. So the question of "wood or plastic?" is easily answered: plastic it is for the masses, wood for the connoisseurs.
Founded in 1926 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Century Boats manufactured wooden boats for over 40 years, until 1967, when wood was replaced with rather pedestrian fiberglass. Their wooden boats are of superb quality and several active clubs help keeping the flame alive. In the 1950s, Century boats were referred to as the "Thoroughbreds of Boats" and several Hollywood movies stints became part of their resume.
The 1956 Century Palomino boat in natural finish presented here is an outboard model featuring an "inboard ride," It measures 15 feet and 1 inch in length and weighs 690 lbs. It was a best seller in its time, although the Registry doesn't provide exact production numbers.
We obtained the boat from a prominent collection in Central California, where it had been displayed for the past decade. The California registration expired in 2005. The boat is being sold with its own period trailer, for which we purchased and installed 4 new tires to ensure safe transport.
The entire boat is superbly preserved. All of the wood -- genuine Philippine mahogany was used for the hull between 1955 and 1957 -- is flawless, as is the blond Avodire decking, the inlaid paint and all of the stainless steel fittings and hardware. Panoramic windshield and steering wheel are 100% crack free.
The interior seats six adults and is very nicely covered in red and white vinyl, with white carpeting, all of which is beautifully preserved.
Yes, the period, wooden water skies are included as well!
Especially the 1950s Century boats use much of the automotive styling of the time, and the cockpit clearly reflects this. The white steering wheel could be right out of a 1950s car from Detroit and the removable 8-track tape player wouldn't look out of place either.
The glovebox contains a case full of 8-track tapes, and there's a cardboard box with additional tapes. Let the good times roll!
Closeup view of the rear deck, containing storage area and fuel tank. It's flawlessly preserved as well.
Propulsion comes from the stock EVINRUDE V4 outboard engine, putting out 35 horsepower. Reportedly, the engine was running fine when the boat was put into the climate controlled indoor storage, but we have not attempted to fire it up.
If you are a connoisseur of classic mahogany boats, wouldn't mind having a Riva in your boat house, yet have to work for a living, this '56 Century Palomino may fit the bill perfectly.
We sold this fabulous boat in May of 2014 to an enthusiast in Pennsylvania. In case you wonder, trucking cost of the trailer cost were $1 per mile.