As promised, here’s a mini post on another fantastic collaboration between Evinrude and designer Brooks Stevens and it certainly falls into the Weird and Wacky catagory!
Boat manufacturers Evinrude commissioned Brooks Stevens to create something to showcase the 1961 Evinrude 75hp outboard motor which shifted from forward to reverse without having to turn off the engine – the result was the Heli-bout. A working concept, it appeared at the New York and Chicago boat shows. It certainly attracted attention, the blades on the top turned but didn’t lift the boat out of the water, although the company insisted it could be used. After the shows it was initially sold to Brooks Stevens and was exhibited at the Brooks Stevens Museum. It has since been owned by a series of museums and private collectors.
Weird and Wonderful posts come about because something has popped up somewhere online and sparked our interest…Yes, I realise it’s a boat but it looks like a car and is certainly weird and wacky! The development of fibreglass construction in the mid-late fifties allowed boat constructors to incorporate ‘car-like’ features of the time, such as fins, into their designs, the Meteor went further with Crome trim, headlights and the two-tone paintwork popular on American ‘Jet Age’ cars of the time.
Built by Lone Star Boat Manufacturers, a company founded in Texas in 1945 building traditional boats, a fibreglass facility was added in 1952 and by 1954 it was enlarged to allow 31 different models to be offered for sale.
In 1956 the Meteor was designed by Bob Hammond for GM, to be displayed at ‘A boat of the Future’ at the National Boat Show. It was so popular that a limited production run began of the four-seater boat with a 40HP motor and went on sale for $1600.
Jet age fibreglass boats were originally considered to be ‘ugly’ after the classical elegant beauty of traditional wooden boats but are now very collectable and sort after, very few remain.
The Meteor one of the most popular in it’s time has a possible 60 or so examples still in existence. A 60-horsepower 1957 Mercury Mk 75 outboard powers this beautifully restored and very pink example, which I believe is owned by Kevin Mueller of Rockton. It has been display in the FINS: Form without function exhibition at the Peterson Automotive Museum in LA.
As always when researching these posts I come across more and more info and my search widens, there were other equally weird and wacky boats designed around the same time including the Evinrude ‘Cadillac’ Sea Lark which was designed by great industrial designer Brooks Stevens. Owners often towed their boats with a matching finned Cadillac, you could even buy ‘mudguards’ for your trailer with fins!I also discovered another collaboration between Brooks Stevens and Evinrude but it’s so weird and wacky I think it deserves a small post of it’s own, so watch this space…