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1957 15' Century Palomino

Over the years in the classic boating hobby, outboards have many times been considered 'second-class' citizens. They never did all that well at shows in the awards category, while most of the attention went to the expensive inboards. This was really quite sad, as there were some outstanding outboards produced during the golden era of boating. Most of the premier manufacturers produced their line of outboards, including Chris-Craft, Century, Lyman, Wolverine, Yellow Jacket, Penn Yan, Thompson, and many others.

In fact, you could say the dawn of powerful and reliable outboard motors really initiated the growth of middle-class pleasure boating. For too many the price of mahogany inboards was simply out of reach, but outboards made the boating dreams of many on modest budgets a reality.

During the mid-late fifties Century was producing the most expensive outboard on the market. The Palomino was of all African mahogany planking over white oak framework...just like their very popular inboard line. The 57' also had two-tone decks, blond and natural. This was the same basic color scheme as the sexy Arabians of the same year. It also had a planked bottom rather than the less expensive marine plywood. In other words, the Palomino was at the hi-end of the outboard market.

This particular boat originally was sold in New Jersey, and came back to good ole Indiana. She's going to receive everything, new bottom, sides, decks, interior, chrome, flooring, and a completely restored gold and cream 35HP Johnson Javelin. She will be a true eye-turner when completed.

Instead of our normal two-week turnaround, this will probably take another week or so. Ok, just kidding. It may take a month.

Anyway, we do plan to have her in the water this summer. The first thing we did was take our Johnson outboard to Hot Boat Charlie's here in Ft. Wayne. He's a master outboard restorer and will have the motor ready by May 1.

So, let's get started by rolling her over and take a closer look at the bottom. I'm not real optimistic from first impressions.

YIKES! Looks like we have our work cut out for us. We'll replace everything, yes everything. Even the kitchen sink if it had one.

The frames were only ½", barely adequate. We're going to beef them up with ¾" for extra strength. Why not?

Whew! Now the nasty part is done. At least she'll never take on water again. We'll let the paint cure for a few days before rolling her back over. Then we'll begin re-planking with new African mahogany.

Making progress...

We set the Palomino aside for a while to collect parts and have a custom trailer made for her. Once she came back from the manufacturer with spanking new wheels to travel on, we began on the side planking. We had some absolutely beautiful mahogany we purchased years ago for this boat, and were anxious to begin putting it on the little outboard.

Got clamps??? The forward sheer plank on any boat is the most dificult to fit and attach without lots of profanity, grunting, and of course...beer and a good cigar. The smaller the boat the more sharp the bend...and possibility disaster. Fortuanetly all went well on both sides. (OK, there was still some profanity, but at least we had enough beer.)
The deck framing wasn't all that bad, but a little tired just the same. They really didn't warrant replacing, so we sistered with 1/4" marine ply and 5200 to the existing framework. Now even I can stand on the decks after eating Coney doges and they won't moan. We sealed/painted with bilge paint thinned about 30% with CPES.
The motor well was just 3/8" plywood painted over with yellow, to match the blond section on the rear deck and hatch. It was pretty well toasted, so we replaced that too.
Once bunged, and long-board sanded for about ten years she's ready to bleach and stain. Now, I know you don't want to hear this if you're doing your own boat, but you MUST long board. You won't regret it when you get the super-smooth sides. We bleach all our boats now and seem to get much better staining results. It would need to be bleached anyway due to the blond sections.
Not sure who did that tape job (perhaps Picasso). Like the very cool Arabians of the same year, the forward deck is blond, and then behind the windshield is natural. Makes a very nice contrast. Use the old planks as guides to get the line right.
The stain turned out quite beautiful, and we are very pleased. We'll let it sit over night, then tape off and finish the blond section. Let set for two days, then apply two coats of sealer before the twelve coats of Epifanes gloss varnish. The 35hp Johnson Gold/Cream Javelin will look stunning on the transom. It's already been restored and ready to go. Getting close now.
Final Stage... It seems like it's taken us forever to wrap up this beautiful little Palomino, but the main hold up was the O/B Johnson motor. We used a new contractor for the restoration, and we were quite disappointed with the results, and practically had to rebuild the motor and make corrections to the cosmetics. Very disappointing. In the end, however, the boat turned out quite nice, and the owner is very pleased...as are we.