When we first told you about Infiniti’s plan to power a restored Chris Craft speedboat with
the 400 horsepower V-8 from the Infiniti QX56
, it was little more than a concept. Still, it blended community-college-student-supplied labor with significant horsepower and vintage vehicles, so we were pretty much hooked from the start.
Five months later, we’re happy to report that progress is being made. Students from Tennessee Technical Center - Nashville and Nashville State Community College have pulled the 5.6-liter V-8 from the donor QX56
and have bench-tested the engine outside the SUV to ensure proper operation.
With that step complete, the engine was shipped to a supplier in Maine to be fitted with a specialized marine transmission. From there, it’s been shipped to a shop in Alabama that specializes in “marinization,” or converting land-based engines to cope with the rigors of marine use.
Thousands of miles away, in Freeport, Maine, the 1962 Chris Craft Holiday boat has been stripped of its former engine, fittings, interior, and even hull planking. It will take some 600 board feet of high grade, sustainably-harvested mahogany to cover the boat’s frame, hull, transom and deck, and each board must be cut to half-inch planking to create matching pieces.
As if that process wasn’t labor-intensive enough, the assembled boat will then receive 15 coats of marine varnish, a process that takes nearly 30 days to complete. Only then can the restoration work begin, and plans call for a new interior with a modern infotainment center and seats upholstered in QX56 semi-aniline leather.
The 5.6-liter Infiniti V-8 is at least the fourth engine to power the boat, with previous choices including a 431-cubic inch Lincoln marine engine and a pair of 440-cubic inch Chrysler Hemi marine V-8s. Thanks to its light weight and high output, the Infiniti
V-8 may prove to be the best choice yet.