Somewhere along the time line I wondered what the car would look like as a highboy. Side view sketches didn't answer the question but when we put a set of Colorado Custom 20-inch rear and 18-inch front wheels with tall tires on the body and rolled the chassis outside the shop without a front nose section, ZOWIE, it "worked" as a boattail. As a joke I had Darrell Mayabb do a color rendering of the highboy with woodgrain top surface and white speedboat calking. He also did a fully enclosed four fender Joe Figoni fastback sketch at my request. Love them swoop coupes! Both are on my "cars I wanna build" list and now, with the help of Rich Brendell in Hudson, FL, I'm building the "Chris Craft" highboy with real wood veneer laminated onto the upper body surface. One of the few things I built on the car (with the help of Ramsey Mosher in Dover, DE) was a prototype lift-off fastback roof with Lamborghini Muria-style rear window louvers.
In addition to showing the buck at Louisville 2001 and Detroit Autorama 2002, I exhibited the primered fiberglass prototype body in my DECO RIDES booth at the Goodguys TX and KS events, at Atlantic City plus York & Louisville NSRA in '03. I had it on my website and passed out/mailed out better than 5,000 brochures. Reaction ranged from rodders walking right by it without giving it a second look to people proclaiming it was fantastic and futuristic. But only one guy gave me a deposit for a body, and he was from Australia!
It was the team at SPEEDSTER MOTORCARS in Clearwater that is to be credited with taking the 3/4 finished Boattail to completion. Walter Ulrich was the key man. In addition to prepping the car for paint, they squirted it HOUSE OF KOLOR pearl tangello with white scallops and body insert, chased with a white pinstripe. This paint scheme was strongly influenced by the Leamy-bodied Boattail that presently sits on the mezzanine level of the Auburn-Cord-Duesie museum in Auburn, IN. Brake lines, Ostrich leather upholstery, fuel lines, getting the engine running, radiator, etc. were all done in Clearwater. A Kugle dual hydraulic pedal setup is used. Don "The Egyptian" Boeke etched a numeral 10 in the Glen Pray repro AUBURN taillight lenses, a Viperized mimic of the original AUBURN 12 lenses. The windshield frame is a Cam Grant Duval that Ramsey Mosher modified according to suggestion, kicking the A-pillars parallel rather than leaving them splaying outward as they swept upwards. The grille was made by Alumicraft and the grille shell started life as a fiberglass Auburn Boattail nose that was severely laid back, chopped, sliced and diced. It is NOT a '34 Ford grille shell as some rodders think.
The stainless exhaust system built by Borla East in Lebanon, NJ is on the trick side. It utilizes the stock Viper headers, but the pipe Y's just after the collectors. One branch leads through an electrically controlled slide-valve exhaust cutoff, then into a four foot dump that exits unmuffled exhaust out under the rear door jamb. The other branch leads through a muffler to a collector box hidden under each rear wing. Ten mini-fishtails built by Ramsey Mosher tuck out the back of the car. Touch a switch to open and close the slide valve on the idling parked car and watch the fun. Muffled to straight pipes, and back to muffled in seconds. "It wasn't me, officer!"
Originally the car was designed with enclosed rear "pontoons", a Figoni & Falaschi influenced style I love. However for the sake of making the car more "fathomable" to the masses, I decided to open up and cut out the rear wheel well to expose the rear tire. I figured John Q. Rodder was not yet ready for enclosed rear pontoons. I cut the radius for the rear wheelwell opening centered on the rear axle, which seemed to be a natural design decision at the time.