1966 Lonestar

When I first started looking for a boat, I was hoping to find something I could live aboard for weekends and the occasional week long holiday. I was thinking cabin cruiser and looking at larger cruisers but the difficulty of transport and the cost of mooring were both adverse. The Sylvan came along at a good price so I bought it. After some time sailing on the Sylvan, I realized its shortcomings. Most acute was the lack of privacy for toilet facilities and second was the necessity to stuff everything under the bow cover and drag it out for sleeping or making meals. I entertained the idea of turning the Sylvan into a cuddy but it would always remain less than ideal. It was at about this same time that a 24' Lonestar showed up for sale only a few miles from home. Recognizing that the Lonestar was pretty much exactly what I had been looking for, I snapped it up.

Lonestar History
In 1964, Chrysler had been making marine engines for nearly four decades; their engines ranged from 110 to 325 horsepower, including diesel engines. By 1965, Chrysler had 29% of the U.S. marine engine  market. Chrysler sponsored several racing boats, including the Miss Chrysler Crew, a hydroplane powered by dual, supercharged 426 cubic-inch “Hemi” head V8 engines built by the legendary Keith Black, each putting out an estimated 1,000 horsepower; owner and pilot Bill Sterett took the boat to victory in the World Championship race in Detroit, with an average speed of over 100 mph. (For complete information on the Miss Chrysler Crew, see this article from the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum  by American Powerboat Racing Association Unlimited historian Fred Farley.)

In May 1965, Chrysler bought Lonestar Boat, a company which had, in roughly ten years, established a positive reputation; but sales shot up immediately when Chrysler changed the name to Chrysler Lone Star. In 1966, the boats were probably still all designed by the former Lonestar; and the practice of naming the boats after Chrysler Corporation had not yet begun.

Owners got a surprisingly good warranty from “Chrysler Lone Star.” The aluminum boats in non-commercial usage got a lifetime (of the original owner) warranty against skin punctures and popped rivets; all the boats and trailers were warranted for one year. Boats were warranted against trailer damage if transported on factory specified trailers. Engines were warranted by the engine supplier, not the new Chrysler Boat Corporation.

Most fiberglass boats got Foam-Pac, an exclusive hull construction process where deck and hull sections were both riveted and sealed; surfaces were given gelcoat and ultraviolet absorbing agents; and a specially formulated, rigid polyurethane foam was put in between the floor and hull. This foam was impervious to fuel and oil, and stronger than ordinary foam; it increased the boat strength, reduced noise, and made the boats virtually unsinkable.

Aluminum boats got Armor-Hull; hull and deck sections were formed on a 1,000 ton hydro-press, with strippet-punching equipment mating parts and heli-arc welders producing smooth seams. Paint was heat-treated to remain corrosion resistant. Again, polyurethane foam was poured in to fill the space between the floor and hull and make the boats quieter, stronger, and harder to sink even in case of punctures.

My new/old boat (pictures from the seller's ad):

Saturday (June 19, 2010) we loaded Enterprise from blocks on to my tandem trailer. Since my tuck driver had begged out due to excessive rain and soft roads, I decided to try it with my little Chevy - the Chevy did fine and Enterprise arrived at  her new temporary home without incident.

The first order of business was to replace the wheelhouse roof. The original roof was rotten and leaking and the boat needed a chance to dry thoroughly. Removing the original roof turned out to be a chore - there must have been a sale on pop-rivets when it was built! The new roof is 1/4 ply, a 2x4 ridge pole, and fur rafters.

With the new roof primed and the ship buttoned up, she is ready for the forecast rain.

We also got confirmation that we can replace Privateer with Enterprise at the marina so Enterprise should be in the water within a few weeks.

June 26 the Lone Star was trailered to Keewatin (Ontario) and launched at the public dock. After tracing an electrical problem, the Slant Six fired up and settled down easily. at 1800 RPM the Enterprise cruised comfortably at 6.9 Knots on the journey to Rheault Bay. The large 6 cylinder is substantially louder than the 3.0L Mercruiser in the Sylvan and vibrates more but performed flawlessly. The weight and hull shape of the Lone Star handles the water well and handles well coming into the harbour.

Saturday night provided a good downpour to test the water tightness of the new top and only a couple of minor leaks were detected. All in all it was a good first weekend for Enterprise.

The next weekend was spent resolving some battery and electrical issues; installing a house battery and fuse panel, installing my navigation panel (VHF radio, chartplotter, etc.) and the subsequent weekend replacing all the rusted frost plugs (2 out of 5 were leaking and one had a temporary rubber plug). An engine tune-up is yet to be done along with polishing the Eisenglass to restore the clarity.

A strange problem remained - the engine would die at seemingly random times and often refuse to re-start and behaved like fuel starvation so I ordered three new fuel filters - one in-line filter for each of the two fuel tanks and one fuel/water separator filter (after the tank selector valve). The next time the engine died (July 24, 2010) I found the separator was not full of fuel as it should have been - definitely fuel starvation. I didn't get any fuel when I pulled the line off the output of the fuel selector valve, I did from the Port tank line, and nothing from the Starboard tank line (which I knew was empty) - the selector solenoid defaults to the Starboard tank. I checked the hot wire to the solenoid - 3 volts???? - but the wiring all appeared to be good so I removed it and tested it directly across the battery - it worked! It turned out that the electrical ground connection to the hull (where the solenoid gets its ground) was bad, intermittent poor connection, and when that was fixed even my Port fuel gage was more stable. The engine ran fine! I did a 2 hour excursion which included filling the Starboard tank and the Starboard fuel gage continued to read ZERO. On investigating the problem I determined that there is NO fuel level sender in the Starboard tank - just a self-contained direct reading type - which is really great considering it can't be seen without removing panels! Another repair ...... sigh.

On the Friday before the Civic Holiday weekend (July 30) I got a report from a friend that Enterprise was taking on water so I headed to the lake. I didn't find anything out of the ordinary on my arrival - no more water in the bilge than I would expect - so I installed the fuel level sender in the Starboard tank and wired it to the gauge - it worked (of course) and waterproofed the fabric top with my blend of paraffin wax and naphtha gas (NO SMOKING! LOL!) since I know it leaks and leaves my rear carpet wet. The following day I installed a second bilge pump (1500 GPH) and float switch powered from the house battery. I also converted the main bilge pump (1100 GPH) to 1-1/8" discharge. On the main pump I found that the power feed to the float switch had corroded off (no idea how that happened?)so it would have run in the manual position but not automatic. I also installed a sonar well (under the head) for my charplotter/depth sounder and removed the Lowrance.

Continue to Next Page 2

Return to my Home Page