90L x 22W x 29H (cm)
The legend of Chris-Craft began in 1884, when Christopher Columbus Smith began the Smith Boat House on the St Clair River in Algonac, Michigan, to manufacture small duck boats and power launches. Later, the company was extended to Chris Smith and Sons Boat Co. Many of his larger runabouts were used as taxis; transporting guests on the river front to resorts, or to various sightseeing attractions. In the twenty’s, mostly runabouts were produced, but with the introduction of his speed boats, Chris Smith’s fame took off.
The Florida design, first penned in 1952, was another enduring classic in the Riva range, as well as the most popular of the wooden boats to be produced on the shores of Lago d’Iseo. Between 1952 and 1969 1,137 boats were built, comprising 426 normal Floridas and 711 super Florida slightly larger and more powerful.
Named after the American state most closely associated with water-skiing, the Florida design features a cockpit and a large sun-bed astern, divided by a bridge of mahogany deck, filleted with maple. Early models were fitted with Chris Craft engines, followed by Chrysler and latterly Riva’s own 220 hp unit, built around a Crusader V8.
The boat, Typhoon, was designed back in 1929 by George Crouch. The Typhoon’s origin began with Edsel Ford, who was an avid raceboat enthusiast. Knowing the background, and seeing the famous Teaser speedboat in action, Edsel Ford wanted a new fast boat just like it. He contacted the yard that built the Teaser and had an exact copy built, naming it the Typhoon. The Typhoon was a large brute, measuring in at 40′ in length with a 2000 cu. in. Wright Typhoon engine, she was made for racing. Edsel Ford never used it as a pure racer, however. His primary use for the boat was as a commuter speedboat between the Ford factory and his home in Lake St. Claire. In 1941, Ford sold it to Howard Hughes who kept it running during the war years, but soon sold it after the war. The Typhoon then went through a series of owners over the next few years ending up in Kentucky. Then in the late sixties, her current owners had her shipped from Kentucky to Seattle Washington. In the late 1960’s, at Bryants Marina in Washington, the boat that was docked next to the Typhoon caught fire. The fire raged out of control, and soon engulfed the Typhoon. The Typhoon was a total loss