A sentimental refit project was recently, and miraculously
swiftly, undertaken at The Boat Works, overseen by General Manager, Shane
Subichin and carried out by the on-site marine professionals and trades.
The “big little job” that took the team long hours over two
and a half weeks involved restoring an original Pride 65 Starfire GT to its
1960s glory in time for the memorial service to the brand’s founder, John
Longhurst, marine industry and theme park pioneer.
Marine trades and services were rallied together from The
Boat Works eager to contribute, working long hours and engaging more trades to
make it happen.
“It meant so much to all of us,” Shane continues. “We all
wanted to show our respect for John and the Longhurst family and despite being
absolutely booked out for many weeks, some trades for months ahead, they all
bent over backwards to get the job done.”
The first step was researching every facet of the boat, and
Shane spent hours upon hours delving into the cache of pamphlets John had produced
to promote the model and the Pride range.
“John was way ahead of his time,” observes Shane. “The Pride
brochures capture the family fun and enjoyment of the on-water lifestyle. The
slogan was ‘Turn Leisure into Pleasure with a Pride’ and showed people water
skiing, fishing, enjoying time with family. The broad range of boats and their
quality construction is testament to the vision and skill John brought to every
Given the tight timeframe, it was nerve-wracking considering
we had to order the components, organise materials and trades and bring it back
to life in just over two weeks.”
Under the project management of the team at Ocean Degree Yacht Service, the marine trades assembled for the job included Spraytech Marine who completed the respray paint works, replicating the traditional red colour and strip effects; Gold Coast Electroplating, chroming all original parts; Moreton Bay Boat Works for the finishing, internal fairing and flowcoat; Choice Stainless undertook the various stainless works required; Melfi Designs whose director, Michelangelo worked his magic on the custom seats, side boards and pelmets using the traditional skills of piping to recreate the original upholstery designs from the era; Marine Trade Supplies provided the paint along with the consumables; Print Image Signs undertook the timber dash finish and decals, and Ocean Degree Yacht Services carried out the fitting of various parts throughout the project.
Levi Duncan, Director at Ocean Degree coordinated the
reconstruction process and undertook the fit-out of components consisting of
new dash wheels, steering system and detailing.
“I put my hand up straight away,” says Levi of his
involvement. “I’ve known the Longhurst family for decades and looked after
John’s boats over the years. He’d be touched, absolutely. It meant something to
me personally as well because of its value in the history of Australian
Michaelangelo Melfi, Director at Melfi Designs describes the
resto project as “a real buzz”.
“Restoration jobs are always fun,” he says.
“You have a clean slate and it’s very creative. But on this
project, the only reference I had to go on was a picture from a magazine.
“It required every skill in our tool kit. My background is
in custom manufacturing furniture and for the past 20 years I’ve been working
with boats. The Pride 65 was well before my time, so it was an awesome project
to work on.
“It was a small boat, but took all our skills, from frame
sizing, building the seats from scratch, foaming up, cutting, sewing. We had to
laminate the vinyl fabric, stick it together – all by hand.
The results speak for themselves and stand as testament to
the collaboration and talent at The Boat Works and within the Coomera Marine
“There’s a fantastic bunch of people here, all highly
skilled trades who are sought after all around the region, which is why they’re
all flat out!”
“It looks fantastic!” says Tony Longhurst, owner of The Boat
Works. “We thought it would be decent tidy up, but it’s honestly just like new
– mint condition!
Tony recalls his father being very hands on at every stage
of production, from concepts to marketing.
“Dad had a second factory he called ‘007’ where they worked
on new designs, made mockups out of balsa and developed all the innovations. He
was involved in the design, drawings, the models, right through production.
“The only thing I regret is that we didn’t do it sooner,
before he passed. We let life and work occupy all our time and sometimes we’re
reminded that there are more important things.”
Now in all her ruby-red glory at The Boat Works’ motor
museum Garage 25, the finishing touch will be the installation of the genuine
1965 115hp Mercury engine, which is on its way from the US.
“This little boat
will never go back in the water,” he adds. “Even though it would still cut it
up and turn heads, she’s going to live on a pedestal in Garage 25 where she can
be admired by everybody.”
Among the historic, vintage and unique vehicles, John Longhurst’s Pride 65 shines as a beacon to his ingenuity and an important chapter in his legacy as a founding force in Queensland tourism.