Vintage Boat Cross: Bikes in a Boat

Two friends, a Honda SL90, a Honda CT90, a Chrysler Sport Fury, and a trail on the other side of a lake. Enter the boat pickup!

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by Seth DeDoes
And it was this last asset, the generous floor area, that hooked me, because the Sport Fury’s cockpit, measuring over 6 feet long and 5 feet wide, looked similar to a pickup bed in size, which, as every hillbilly knows, is just right for carrying dirt bikes.

There it was. Just another old Craigslist motorboat. Faded and forlorn, a 1970 Chrysler Sport Fury lazing in an equally fusty dirt lot, its formerly gleaming Pirates Gold, 16-foot hull chalky and dull, its interior moldy, and its 85 horsepower Magnaforce outboard engine entangled in creeping vines. Once a catalyst for family fun, it was now neglected and needy, like a dusty, swaybacked nag. Its time, quite sadly, had passed. Or had it?

I’m a hard-ass in some ways; a vigorous competitor in the waves, on the track and in defending moral principle. But I’m a total softy when it comes to those suffering undeserved misfortune … and also neglected machinery. I fell in love. I opened my wallet. I bought it.

Superficially, I had merely fallen for a needy boat. But I soon became infatuated that the boat, engine and trailer were all produced by mighty Chrysler Corp. during its 1965-1984 dalliance with America’s recreational boom. What other car company had the stones to do that? Most importantly, though, I liked its shape. Hardly beautiful by marine design standards, Chrysler’s “Cathedral Hull” runabouts debuted for 1969 promising superb stability, affable ride and handling, great value and roomy interiors. And it was this last asset, the generous floor area, that hooked me, because the Sport Fury’s cockpit, measuring over 6 feet long and 5 feet wide, looked similar to a pickup bed in size, which, as every hillbilly knows, is just right for carrying dirt bikes.

“Huh,” I thought. “Dirt bikes in a boat …”

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