When I was a youngster, I got to drive our family’s 14’ Glastron runabout every summer. I’d been wanting to buy and renovate a 14-15’ runabout for some time, so I started checking Craigslist. I came across this 1964 Jet Star with a 50hp West Bend motor, listed for $750. My offer of $700 was accepted, and after selling the motor and some things that were in the boat for $380, my total initial outlay was $320.
The Jet Star was primarily designed as a sporty ski/watersport boat with a bench front seat and a rear-facing bench seat for observers. Its length is 15’ and it had all the features I’d been looking for in a boat. I had never really worked on boats before, but after reading a lot of information on iboats, I decided it was something I really wanted to do.
The first phase of my renovation was to clean it up and get it ready for painting, my goal being to have a safe and nimble older-style boat that I could enjoy on the water. I purchased a 2003 50hp Johnson and installed new seats, floor, flotation, rack and pinion steering system, and modified the transom to accept the long-shaft motor. By the time I had finished, I had learned a lot about painting, and had installed all new deck hardware (except for the famed “Jetson” stern light!), the Johnson 50 with new controls, a bilge pump, new rub rail, rewired the entire boat, and laminated an oak dashboard. It took a lot of research and hard work, but it was worth it.
The final details added to finish it up were vinyl decals of the name “Permanent Vacation” on each side, a new capacity plate and two cup holders.
Overall I really enjoyed the project, but one thing that added to its expense and made it take much longer than I had anticipated was that I did not have a clear objective in mind when I started out. I had not decided early on whether I just wanted to get on the water as quickly as I could, or really make this into a “showboat”. In the end, the latter just evolved because as I went along, I thought, “I’m only going to do this once, so I might as well make it look as nice as I can.” With the help of many iboat forum members, all my effort has paid off, because it’s a pleasure to drive and a lot of people on the water are very curious and I get a lot of compliments when they see it.