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Slash And Flash Crestliner broke the company mold with its flashy "Jetstreak".

How close ifi our perceived image to reality? For some, the two will never meet. Yet for others, the quest to unite those images becomes a tight course winding its way town rd a target. During the '50s, Crestliner moved ahead of the aluminum-boat field by producing straight-forward, everyday family-style boats. But in 1958. with the introduction of the Jetstreak, the company broke that tradition.

"We were reaching out for a new image with this tailfin idea," remembers Edwin Anderson, who was a territory sales person with Crestliner at that time, "We were trying to find out exactly what could be done with aluminum. We were looking for the different shapes that we could produce."

What they produced was an impec- cably-styled runabout, with just enough flair to put it one step ahead of its standard offerings. But unlike its competitors, Crestliner kept stylis- tic changes within reason, avoiding the excesses that often plagued other manufacturers. "We were not really a "style" type of boat company," says Loiel Ryan Jr„ president of Crestliner from 1948 until 1960. "Most of our boats were fishing and family-type boats." The Jetstreak, which was available through 1959, could be purchased in one of three model configurations: a 12-foot single-seater for the true

sports-boat enthusiast; a 14-foot two- seater with a removable rear seat, and a 15-foot family-size boat. The 12-foot Jetstreak was mar- keted for boaters who made speed and handling top priorities. With a single seat meant to accommodate just two people, it was the lightest of the Jetstreak models at 250 pounds. With a 35-hp outboard, it was capable of speeds in excess of 35 mph.

Add to the equation a long front deck and swept-hack windshield, and i had tine looks, performance and image neces- sary to Lake on the stylish fiberglass boats that were invading the sports- boat market at the time. The 14-foot Jetstreak was mar- keted as two boats in one; a Tour-pas- senger runabout or a two-passenger "station wagon on water" with the rear seat removed, which opened the rear cockpit for hauling water skis and gear. Versatility was not the only positive side of the 14-footer. It could comfortably accommodate four adult passengers, At 275 pounds it was only 25 pounds heavier than the 12-foot Jetstreak, it had the same great han- dling as the smaller boat, and could almost match its speed. The largest model, the 15-foot Jetstreak, was more than a stretched 12-footer. The 15-footer was 8 inchen wider at the beam and 10 inches wider at the transom. With a maxi- mum power rating of 60 hp, this boat could handle the V-4 and straight-6 outboard motors available then.

Developed for larger waters, the boat was at home in places only the brave dared venture in smaller-models. Characterizing all three models were modest tail fins, a neat contin- uation of'the wind- shield line flowing back to the tip of the fins at the stern, which housed actual turn signals.

Aluminum side panels gave the interior of the boat a classic fin- ished appearance.

All three models were available with a white hull and a choice of either Hawaiian Coral, Pacific Turquoise or Goddess Gold decks. Interiors were black and white vinyl plastic with silver piping. With the development of the Jetstreak, Crestliner nailed its target: a boat, that offered changes, that re- worked its image without shattering it. "Our success, in my opinion," says Ryan Jr., "occurred because we were way ahead of the field in design and our prices were competitive. They were just darn good boats."

By Lee Wangstad

BoatingWorld | Sept 1998