I came into possession of what I’ve deduced is a 1962 Lone Star Malibu about a year ago. The serial number is 23410061, which the internet tells me (Would the internet lie to me?) indicates the following. The leading digit is supposedly the last digit of the year, hence a 2 indicates 1962 since the Malibu was only in production from 1958 to 1963. The 341 is common to Malibues (How exactly does one write the plural of Malibu?), but there is no documentation on exactly what those numbers represented. The remaining five digits are the production number for the boat, hence 0061 means my Malibu is the 61st Malibu built in 1962. Another tipoff, I can also barely make out the name Malibu on the name plate on the dash and looking at paint schemes in old brochures seems to point to 1962. The trailer title said 1967 and the 18HP Evinrude Fastwin outboard is a 1968. Unfortunately, Colorado doesn’t title boats, so I don’t have any documentation on the boat itself. My guess would be that someone repowered it in 1968 and got it fixed up, either to sell or after buying it. Whatever it's history, I now find myself in possession of yet another project boat.
Lone Star Boat Manufacturing had humble beginnings; founded in Grand Prairie, Texas in 1945 immediately following WWII and initially producing aluminum boats in the 12-14 foot range. The company grew quickly and expanded into fiberglass manufacturing in the early 50s, running fiberglass and aluminum boat lines in parallel. In 1965, the company was acquired by Chrysler and became the Chrysler Boat Corporation, which continued production until 1979 when they closed the doors on their marine division. The original Lone Stars remain popular with collectors and enthusiasts today; with a large and active online community on Yahoo Groups (which, to my surprise, apparently still exist). They were a treasure trove of information and can be found here.
The Malibu was at the heart of the Lone Star line in the late 50s and early 60s, when the 14-16 foot runabouts were the hottest market. These small runabouts provided a lot of fun on the water for a family of 4 at a very reasonable price ($525 in 1958, which is just over $4000 in today’s dollars). The Malibu stood apart from other aluminum boats of the time with its stylish design that was more akin to its fiberglass rivals, even including small tail fins. In the 60s, the public began to demand larger vessels and the Malibu was dropped from the production line in 1963.
I purchased this classic boat from my aunt a while ago, without any knowledge of its history; just knowing it as the cool aluminum boat with fins that was sitting by her house. They had bought it in 1985, but only used it a couple times that year. Unfortunately, that winter a nasty windstorm ripped the cover off the boat and, in the process, shattered the acrylic windshield. That is where it sat for the next 30-years, which helped give it its current “patina.” I traded her a few hundred dollars’ worth of window air conditioners for the boat, since I thought I could use another project (in related news I’m looking for someone that could add some holes to my skull).
Prior to hauling it out here from Colorado, I did complete a few minor items on the trailer (like installing new lights, replacing the 30-year old tires, and replacing the wheel bearings) to make it road worthy. I also removed some excess weight in the form of the rotten seats, various rat’s nests, a few hornet nests, and the 18-HP Evinrude Fastwin; I knew I was going to be repowering the boat to get a little more speed and didn’t see much use to hauling the Fastwin across the country.
My plan is to do a full restoration and repower it with a little larger engine…on a budget. I don’t want to sink much more than $1-2,000 into it when all is said and done…and if I do my wife might make me live in the boat. Once I get it done, it will likely find its way down to Lake Powell to act as a tender to the Serenity.
Look forward to more updates as things progress. Until then, here’s wishing you fair winds and following seas.
Brent Pounds has over a decade of experience in the maritime industry and has been involved in recreations boating since he was a child. See the About section for more detailed information.