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Ell.a

Chris Craft 390 Stinger

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Ell.a

Manufacturer/Hersteller: Chris Craft
Modell/Modell: 390 Stinger
Type/Typ: Offshore
Length/Länge: 39 feet - 11.88m
Width/Breite: 9 feet - 2.74m
Height of the cabin/Kabinenhöhe: 5 feet - 1.55m
Weight/Gewicht: 4,74 tn - 4.3 t
Cabins/Kabinen: 2; for 2 persons each - 2 für je zwei Personen
Drive/Antrieb: Twin MerCruiser T454 with 420 hp each - Twin MerCruiser T454 mit je 420 PS
Hull/Rumpf: Fiberglass/Fiberglas

The 390 Stinger of Chris Craft was used as a powerboat during the 1st season. The boat has been replaced by the Wellcraft 38' Scarab KV, which became famous as a result, whereas the Chris Craft sank into oblivion.

Thanks to Don and for the contributions above.

 

Die 390 Stinger von Chris Craft wurde als Powerboat während der 1. Staffel eingesetzt. Das Boot wurde ab der 2. Staffel durch die Wellcraft 38' Scarab KV ersetzt, welche dadurch weltberühmt wurde, während die Chris Craft in Vergessenheit geriet.

Danke an Don für diese Infos.
 

 

Thanks to Stinger390X for the following contributions.
Miami Vice used a 1984 390 Stinger in the pilot with the name on the side, close side by side bolsters, and no arch. The pilot episode had the boat passing under a low bridge and it could not have the arch.

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They picked up the series and Chris Craft delivered a different boat with separated bolsters, the arch, and the striped blue paint scheme that lasted for the first season use of the Stinger. The boat had stock MCM 370 Mercruisers as I have heard and topped around 60mph downhill.


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For "The Great McCarthy" episode Zito needed a place to sit as most races have a driver, throttle man and a navigator. They installed a third bolster in the boat for that one episode, however when Crockett says "Lets win this race...Hit it Zito" it's actually Crockett working the throttles. Zito had little to do except go along for the ride and have fun.
In modern offshore racing the Throttle man is an important part of the team as when the boat jumps out of the water, the throttle man has to back off the engines or they may blow up as they go airborn, so he is constantly working them back and forth and keeping the two or three engines turning at syncronous speeds. This is a huge responsibility!

There were actually two boats leased by Universal studios for the filming of season one. One was a stock boat for static shots and racing, and the other was a chase boat for filming. It was butchered a bit by drilling holes in the hull and deck for camera mounts. In the episode “The Great McCarthy†if you notice during the closing scene of the race as they are entering the channel, Crockett and crew are jumping some large waves as they hit closed water. For a split second you can see the “Teak surround†from the windshield of the chase boat doing the filming in the lower right hand side of the screen. This is the unmistakable teak surround of a Stinger 390x!

From what I understand from my research is that the race boat was done with blowers (not turbo’s, as Crockett mentions in the episode) and the boat could easily have pushed a handsome 1000hp or so. My boat used to have a similar setup when it was new with TRS-400's for most of it's life. When they got tired the previous owner installed 2 gen V 454's and strapped on a couple of 8-71 blowers. Horsepower was around 900+ each and it was turning 28P bravo 1 props to top out at over 100 mph. It was also using about 65 gallons of fuel per hour with this wild setup and yes…the boat was very fast.

8-71 Blowers on Big Blocks

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Engine bay cleaned for new stock 420’s

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Present day setup as it looks today and runs like a dream!

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In 1999 the blower engines were starting to show weakness and were in need of rebuild so the owner put in stock 454/420’s which is still in the boat today as I use it. It turns a pair of stainless four blade 28’s and at around 4600rpm I get just under 60mph out of the boat on plane. I have lost considerable speed, but the boat only uses 35 gallons per hour now and is much more reliable without the worry of losing a blower drive belt etc at high speed on the water.

This year I had the opportunity to put a pair of 1171 Blown 750’s into the boat from a friend of mine, but turned it down, as the price was a bit high, and I do not want to use more fuel than I do now. The stock 420’s move the boat very well and I like to baby the hull now (not crashing the waves like in the Great McCarthy) as I have a couple of stress cracks in the gelcoat that will only get worst in time. Kind of like wrinkles on an old man I suppose? They are not structural by any means, as the hull is still solid as a rock after all these years!

Here is a list of specs that were offered from Chris Craft from 1984-1989 on their Stinger series boats of the 390 family.


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I have the original brochure from Chris Craft and my Radar Arc was quite an expensive option. Can you believe that it was listed as $4,999! It is made of aluminum and weighs in at about 60 pounds so you can imagine it is very rigid. My boat also has a swim platform, which was not one of the options on the boats used in the show. (see previous McCarthy picture)

In 1985 when Miami Vice was being filmed the price of that particular boat was listed at $127,000! That was more than my house was worth, so it only took me 24 years to have my dream come true to actually own this boat.

In my research I was lead to believe that Chris Craft factory produced 201 boats that year and only twelve units were made in the white with blue stripe pattern. My hull is boat number 102 of that series of 1985 boats. It wasn’t until after the show aired on TV that they were dubbed “The Miami Vice Edition Stinger 390Xâ€. I have corresponded with four of the other owners of this boat style and am searching for the other six. I also heard a rumour that the camera boat (holes in the deck and all) is in Ottawa Ontario Canada? I will be taking a trip there this summer to see. The others I have met on the internet are scattered in the states all over.


In season 2, the “powers that be†wanted a different racier look. Chris Craft dropped the ball and was pressing Universal studios to actually purchase the boats instead of leasing them, and this ruffled a few feathers. Someone on the staff noticed the Betty Cook race boat and they decided that was the look they wanted for the show. Wellcraft stepped up with the Scarab 38KV, with the well known paint scheme, arch, race hatches, and MCM 440 cyclone Mercruisers. (I think they had 2 or 3 of these boats.) They also used Don Johnson's personal boat a few times as I have read somewhere which I heard had much larger engines than the stock boats. They used the KV for the remainder of the series seasons two through five.


The specs of the 1985 Stinger have a dry weight of 9760 lbs. Hull deadrise is 22 degrees. Holds 200 gal of fuel, 18 gal water and I installed a 6 gal holding tank. I have been working to restore it to original cosmetic condition. My boat has a grey interior but the actual boat the Don Johnson drove in the series had a very colourful interior. Here are some pics and you can choose as to which you like better?

Don Johnsons MV Stinger interior

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My interior

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The original boat had twin throttles which by today’s standards are very old school! I have velvet drive transmissions driving a set of TRS drives and I have separate throttle and transmission sticks which makes for very easy maneuvering in the Marina!

Original twins as seen in the Great McCarthy

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My setup…Separate throttle and transmission sticks. The tall sticks are the throttles and the short ones are the forward/reverse levers.

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These are the TRS drives that are standard versions of the Stingers (very good drives indeed!)

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My Radar Arch is split where as the original boat had a solid arch with no space on the sides.

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And finally…my toys…………….My Stinger 260 keeping the 390 company in gentle waters.

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Happy boating… Any questions feel free to ask me and I’ll try to answer them.

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