We haven’t seen anything like it except on Greenwich Avenue. It’s the new Chris-Craft Limited Edition Silver Bullet. Only 150 of these special, silver 20’ runabouts will be built say the folks in Sarasota. The MSRP price tag is $75,688, base, with a 270-hp stern drive engine. The Silver Bullet is a lot cheaper than a Vantage, but it is still not for everyone. And that is the general idea. She’s just for a select few – people who are not only connoisseurs of classic runabouts and can appreciate the painstaking coachwork that has gone into this sculpture on water, but also people who can afford to put their artwork in the water and not worry if it gets wet.
Sport boat or sports car? Where does one stop and the other begin? The answer is in one’s imagination. This is a runabout to be seen in. But be seen not just anywhere. The location must be just right, and most places need not apply. What comes to your mind? Lake Como? Capri? Portofino? How about Lake Tahoe? Lake Geneva? Cap Ferrat in France? Or, Angra dos Reis, Brazil or along the shore of Bariloche, Argentina? Acapulco Bay anyone? Then, there is Lake Union. And dozens more. You know the places. Every country has them, but not many. The 20’ Chris-Craft Silver Bullet is a special boat for special places, owned by special people.
- Bimini storage under the aft seat
- Custom metallic silver hull and deck paint
- Deep-V hull with flared bow
- Full teak package - Foredeck & engine hatch inserts, deck rails, cockpit floor, swim platform, helm/passenger foot rests and console drink holder insert
- High-end fit and finish with custom Chris-Craft 316 stainless steel hardware
- Main dash, gauge, switch panels and ski locker door comprised of custom silver wire carbon fiber
- Standard Volvo 5.0 Gxi (270-hp) engine
- 3-year Chris-Care protection plan
|Length Overall||20' 2'' / 6.15 m|
Currently no test numbers
1 x 270-hp Volvo Penta 5.0 GXi
1 x 260-hp Mercury 5.0L MPI
1 x 320-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi
1 x 300-hp Mercury 350 MAG MPI
What makes the Chris-Craft Silver Bullet so compelling is that it reminds us all – whether we can afford one or not – of a bygone era when boats were sleek, wood, and beautiful. They thrived in the time of the Great Gatsby when the living was good, life was simple, and motor boats and airplanes were not more than 20 years from inception.
It was the dawn of the sport when everyone was enthusiastic, and no matter what size their purse, people followed their dream and got as close to runabout boats as they could. If people couldn’t own one at least they could admire the grace and beauty of them much as they would a Brancusi sculpture or a new Stutz Bearcat.
All across the lakes of North America, and those of Europe, where people had summer cottages, sleek runabouts began to appear. The sport of water skiing was born, and at night radios and scratchy phonographs played the music of big bands, and out on the lakes red and green lights could be seen slowly moving in the moonlight.
It was a time of innocence in many places in the world. Unfortunately it did not last long. And perhaps that is why so many boaters keep the dream of those classic old boats alive in their reveries to this day. Even cultures that were not lucky enough to experience those few years of nautical joy heard and read about them, and many people there, too, got caught up in the mythology. It is now a world-wide phenomenon. The Chris-Craft brand symbolizes the era and carries the fantasy forward.
Not surprisingly for a company that cares so much about the details of the boats it builds, Chris-Craft lists more specifications for the 20’ Silver Bullet than do most builders of 80-footers. With the swim platform the boat is 20’2” (6.15 m) LOA, she has an LWL of 15’6” (4.72 m), and a beam of 7’11” (2.41 m). The dry weight of the vessel is 2,913 lbs. (1,321 kgs.) and she draws 34” (86.4 cm) with the prop down.
The boat’s deadrise at the transom is 20-degrees which we guess is greater than the old Chris-Crafts. Her freeboard forward is 30 1/4” (76.8 cm) and her freeboard aft is 18-1/2” (47.2 cm), something that obviously makes the boat look so sleek. Her overall height is 4’10” (1.47 m), which means she can get under most low bridges. Her max passenger capacity is five.
The Hull And Deck
The Chris-Craft Silver Bullet is far more than the sum of its parts, and that’s what makes it so exciting. Having said that, lets look at the elements that make this nautical siren so captivating. Starting on the bow we find an anchor hatch with teak and stainless steel inlay. Gleaming stainless chocks are at the ready and at the stem is a custom embroidered Chris-Craft pennant with stainless steel magnetic pole and base.
Nav lights are ensconced in custom-made stainless steel poured at foundries specializing in fine-finish hardware. Virtually nothing in sight on the Silver Bullet is “off the shelf.” The paint on the fiberglass hull is metallic silver. Fill plates, grates and through hulls are all stainless steel. And tasteful teak trim is in all of the right places.
The hull is sculptured everywhere either with bow flare or tumblehome or rounded topsides. Nowhere in the hull is a flat panel to be seen.
The cockpit sole is teak and the rich vinyl of the seat coverings is a carefully-selected “Outback Tan” color that works visual magic. The custom Chris-Craft gauge package is mounted in the center of the dash on a metallic panel just as was done 85 years ago. Who cares if the dials are hard to read or that there might be a parallax view in these analog gauges? The concept of the Silver Bullet is about art and nostalgia, not 21st Century practicality.
In looking over the options it would be easy to spec a number of things but most are really not needed. To the base price of $75,668 we would add a “catalyst engine” as is now required for EPA emissions standards to be met, adding $3,334. We would opt for the Duoprop, which adds another $2,665, bringing us to $81,667. All of this is with the standard 270-hp Volvo Penta sterndrive engine.
Several other engine options are available from both MerCruiser and Volvo Penta, the top of the line being a 5.7 L 320-hp Volvo Penta gas engine with Ocean-X (for saltwater), DP, and fresh water cooling (FWC). Add about $10k for that package.
After that the only extra costs are shipping, dealer prep, commissioning and a trailer. With a Silver Bullet you don't want to skimp on the trailer.