Spanning five decades, Mason may have more experience and running time with exotic antique engines (Hispano-Suizas, Packard Gold Cup, Miller V16, Curtiss Aircraft V12s, and Rolls Royce V12s) than anyone living today. Over much of that time, Mason was just a tiny bit envious of his friends that had modern power. Below are some of Mason’s random thoughts….
Selecting a powerplant for a classic – At the end of the day, an antique boat is just a boat and it’s usefulness can be drastically improved with a more modern engine that starts and runs every time the owner demands it. An owner is well advised to decide early on in a restoration project whether his boat will be a trailer queen, to be run at special events, or used on a regular basis.
When you find that time-warp original boat with it’s original engine, and all of its original installation…. that is a great opportunity to restore it as a museum piece. But if a boat is found that has already been repowered… Maybe numerous times, with no semblance of the original installation with all the linkages and radius bent exhaust pipes missing… That is a great opportunity to have boat with a reliable modern engine.
Much of my objection to repowered boats is the cavalier disregard to having original controls, instruments, switches and dashboard accessories which can be made to work with a modern engine. Usually modern engines look like they were installed in an afternoon, using a sawzall. There is no reason why a modern engine can’t be beautifully installed.
In a perfect world a collector would have at least two boats, one with an antique engine and another with a modern engine that starts everytime.
There is a secret society within the ACBS…. A secret society of antique boat collectors, who like boating more than they like antique boats.
Asked his opinion on rule changes for judging antique boats, Mason suggested that for a Saturday boat show, all boats should arrive on Wednesday and be launched into the water and tied up at the docks. All batteries should then be removed and locked up across town. Then on Saturday the judges will only have to judge those boats that are still floating.
I think the insurance companies would be appalled to know what percentage of the boats they insure, which are floating today due to the grace of a fifty dollar bilge pump.
Philip Sharples used to walk around the docks at boat shows, studying how well the owners had their boats tied up. Philip felt that the first thing that should be judged is how well the lines are cleated.