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  #1  
Old 02-15-2004, 12:31 PM
Ron F Ron F is offline
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formula jr. thunderbird need info

First of all I may be at the wrong site and for that matter doing this all wrong since I have never posted anything before. I have in poor condition a 1966+- formula jr. thunderbird 17' +- with a 6 cyl merc. My question I guess is it worth fixing up? I know it was a for runner of donzi and designed by jim Wynn/Walt Walters before the donzi 16 was put into production and the formula jr set aside never to make it into production as far as I can tell. Maybee I have the only one ?
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2004, 04:12 PM
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yipster yipster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron F
First of all I may be at the wrong site and for that matter doing this all wrong since I have never posted anything before. I have in poor condition a 1966+- formula jr. thunderbird 17' +- with a 6 cyl merc. My question I guess is it worth fixing up? I know it was a for runner of donzi and designed by jim Wynn/Walt Walters before the donzi 16 was put into production and the formula jr set aside never to make it into production as far as I can tell. Maybee I have the only one ?
With the retirement of the Boston Whaler 13, the Donzi 16 is one of the oldest fiberglass powerboat designs still in production. The very first boat to wear the Donzi name was a little 16 foot runabout called the Ski Sporter. Its design layout, was based on an earlier wooden racing boat known as the 17 foot Wyn-Mil II. The Wyn-Mill II was later developed in to a production boat all on its own called the Formula Jr. two years after the introduction of the 16. Although the Formula Jr. and the 16 are very simular in design, they do not share any dimentions and should be consided completely different boats, derived from completely different proto-types. Designed by Jim Wynne and Walt Walters, the Ski Sporter was introduced in 1964.]

21 results on walt walters who rang a bell (a pro who recently died in freak fire accident fixing a fuel tank?)
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  #3  
Old 03-15-2004, 11:22 AM
Lenny Lenny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron F
First of all I may be at the wrong site and for that matter doing this all wrong since I have never posted anything before. I have in poor condition a 1966+- formula jr. thunderbird 17' +- with a 6 cyl merc. My question I guess is it worth fixing up? I know it was a for runner of donzi and designed by jim Wynn/Walt Walters before the donzi 16 was put into production and the formula jr set aside never to make it into production as far as I can tell. Maybee I have the only one ?
Ron, I too have a glass Formula Junior. They were originally available as a plywood kit boat in Popular Mechanics type books in about '64, about a year after it won the Paris Gran Prix. There is a ton of info on it available at http://www.donzi.net. I have a light blue one, no power as yet. I have spent about a week running this red one in the waters here in the last couple years. 350 MAG and Alpha GenII. They are a better handling (landing) boat than the Donzi Ski Sporter (16) but no match for the 18 (DONZI). I have all three of these boats. The Formula is a drier boat, very similar freeboard to the 16 Donzi, but tracks better and resists the urge to "stuff". I would definately fix it up and if you don't want to PLEASE let me know.

http://www.donzi.net/photos/lgreen20.jpg

Post some pics or email me some !!! ...Lenny
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Old 04-16-2004, 01:18 PM
Jimbo Jimbo is offline
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Thunderbird Formula Jr.

Hi guys...I also have one of these Formula Jrs. and have been looking for information on the web for months. Finally found your information today. I was beginning to think I might have the only one! I bought mine 5 years ago and have started restoration. I'm no expert at this but have had some help. I am close to starting the interior and mechanical/electrical. I've had it painted and man does it look good. Any recommendations as to what engine to put in it? other electrical parts? thanks...Jim
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  #5  
Old 04-16-2004, 09:13 PM
Lenny Lenny is offline
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No question. A 350 Mag MPI/Bravo1 c/w silent choice exhaust if you need to be "quiet" sometimes. This combination will yield an honest GPS 66-ish. These boats don't need tabs to run flat and hard. They are WONDERFUL boats to run hard in a following sea and stuffing them is a bit of a task as it stays on top nicely. Think about raising the X dimension an inch or so.

Trust me, you will LOVE the ride !

Last edited by Lenny : 04-20-2004 at 09:49 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2004, 03:49 AM
Mini Formula Mini Formula is offline
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Re Thunderbird Formula boats. I have a 1981 Formula One 17 ft made by Thunderbird corporation . Only 300 hours running. In mint condition just now powered bu mercruiser 140 hp all original. Any idea how many where build of these ?. Who designed it ? Have only seen som pictures on the net but not received any ansver.
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  #7  
Old 05-29-2004, 01:59 AM
old school old school is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mini Formula
Re Thunderbird Formula boats. I have a 1981 Formula One 17 ft made by Thunderbird corporation . Only 300 hours running. In mint condition just now powered bu mercruiser 140 hp all original. Any idea how many where build of these ?. Who designed it ? Have only seen som pictures on the net but not received any ansver.
I have a 1980 18 ft? Formula too in mint condition with a 470 mercruiser. It has been in the family since new. Can't find any info on the web. Would love to see pictures. Have never seen another one like it. Bright yellow black strip and white on top. Built way ahead of its time. Get so many compliments on it out on the lake. So I don't have any answers to your question other than there is at least an 80 model out here.
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  #8  
Old 05-29-2004, 02:25 AM
Lenny Lenny is offline
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The "infamous" Formula Junior was designed in 1963-4...It won the Paris Gran Prix. These are NOT the same boats. It went into production in glass around '66. For about 3 years...
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  #9  
Old 05-29-2004, 02:35 AM
Lenny Lenny is offline
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The Formula Jr. was sold along with the Formula 233 in late 63/early 64. From the Miami News by Miami News Outdoors Editor Jim Hardie -
"Don Aronow, who carved a name for himself locally in the boat-building and racing fraternity and his partner sold their interest in the Formula Boat Company yesterday.
Dick Genth of Thunderbird Boat Company made the purchase for an undisclosed amount. 'It was a substantial and satisfatory amount' Aronow said.
In an interview published last Sunday, Aronow stated his primary interest was in prototype research and development of rough water racing boats. 'Boat manufacturing in itself holds no interest for me' he said.
The move by Aronow and his partner, David Stirrat, came as a surprise because they had just announced that in its first year of operation the Formula Company operated in the black and prospects for the coming year were optimistic.
'The sale is effedtive immediately and Genth is looking for a larger building in which to set up manufacture of the 23 foot Formula' Aronow said. ' He purchased the rights to the name Formula, and he also has the molds and plans for the 17 footer which we were just setting up to produce'

The article goes on to talk about Don and Dave and their plans for the future - no mention of Donzi yet -

As for the difference in the 17' Jr. and 16' Donzi and who produced what when and where, it seems everyone remembers it a little different. Dick remembered it one way in an hour long converation I had with him prior to and as per King of Thunderboat Row. Others have different recollections.

One thing can be agreed upon now. - The 17' Formula Jr. was Jim and Walt's design, a variation of the original Wyn Mill and that the Donzi 16' was a direct descendant of the Wyn Mill II - a totally different design.

As stated in the Donzi brouchure in 64, the Donzi 16 was "Designed by a team composed of Don Aronow, Dave Stirrat, Jim Wynne and Waltman W. Walters, internationally known marine consultants, designers, ocean racers and builders,(the same team that designed, raced and owned the Formula 233, 275 and Formula Jr.).
"The Donzi 16 has been refined, tested and proved for 3 years. Hull and strake designs have been proven in the Wyn Mill II, test model holder of 8 world marathon records."

And as powerboat writer and sometime racer Bill McKeown wrote in BoatCraft Magazine in June/July of 1965, when writing about Donzi Marine and the 16', -
" Last year Aronow sold Formula to Thunderbird Boats and called in Wynne and Walters to design a different line. During Wynne's testing of his creations, he won the world's offshore championship for 1964.
The Donzi 16 was several years in preperation however. We watched Jim Wynne and Tommy Sopwith drive early prototypes for the Six Hour Endurance Race through the steep chop of the Siene to a class win in Paris three years ago. Wynne repeated the performance two successive years at the Miami Nine Hour as well, and set a number of international records with the little 'Wyn Mill II' along the way."
Bill's article ended as follows:
" And when its rough and you still want to go, she can take it if you can. We remember the first time we saw this in action several years ago. A boisterous Bahama day had blown up for the Around New Providence Race after a flat-sea-go from Miami to Nassau. Running easily on the rough sea in a Formula 23 with Jim Wynne driving, we watched Briggs Cunningham jump his big 38 foot twin diesel cruiser out of the water occasionally in the bumby going. Then behind we saw a little rocket flying low over the water. Sure enough, there came the indomitalble duo, Cox and Joyce, driving Wyn-Mill for all they were worth, and passing the bigger stuff struggling through the seas.
That was a prototype, but now anyone can drive the real thing in a Donzi 16, if they feel up to it."
This is a direct quote from Michael Aronow about 2 months ago. Yes, his Dad, Don, was involved in this, prior to selling Thunderbird and starting DONZI,..BUT,...!!! what you are describing in 1980-ish doesn't even resemble what they are talking about...I have one of the old ones. The boats ran from about 1966-1967, a few hundred in total. Plans were in Popular Mechanics or something in this time frame for a plywood version.
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Old 08-28-2004, 11:37 PM
ronf ronf is offline
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66 glass formula jr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenny
Ron, I too have a glass Formula Junior. They were originally available as a plywood kit boat in Popular Mechanics type books in about '64, about a year after it won the Paris Gran Prix. There is a ton of info on it available at http://www.donzi.net. I have a light blue one, no power as yet. I have spent about a week running this red one in the waters here in the last couple years. 350 MAG and Alpha GenII. They are a better handling (landing) boat than the Donzi Ski Sporter (16) but no match for the 18 (DONZI). I have all three of these boats. The Formula is a drier boat, very similar freeboard to the 16 Donzi, but tracks better and resists the urge to "stuff". I would definately fix it up and if you don't want to PLEASE let me know.

http://www.donzi.net/photos/lgreen20.jpg

Post some pics or email me some !!! ...Lenny
starting to work on boat no pictures yet but I could really use a owners/maintenance manual. I got the picture of your boat incrediable !!! I hope to get mine like yours someday. Only thing is when I went to print it out i could only get just a little of the back to print out. any help
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  #11  
Old 08-29-2004, 11:57 AM
Lenny Lenny is offline
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Good luck with it. If I can help let me know. You are dreaming if you think you are going to find an owners manual I think. Take care.
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2004, 01:57 PM
DanA
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I owned the company that made seats for these boats after Aronow sold out to T-bird. The acquisition involved only the orginal F-233 and Formula Jr. T-bird was run by Dick Genth and they also acquired Drif-r-cruz houseboats in around '69 or '70 (they raced a 40' houseboat in a Miami Nassau Power Boat Race and it almost sank from sea water entering the hull vents; the Miami Herald sports writer, Jim Martenoff was aboard and wrote about the experience). After acquiring this line, T-bird produced only around 150 jrs. and stopped the line until several years later when they reintroduced it with 3 other Formulas (18' 21' approximate).
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2004, 05:48 PM
John Settle
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Thunderbird Formula Jr

Hey Guys,
I see that I am a few months behind in some of the postings for Thunderbird Formula Jrs, but wanted to step in. I too have a 1966 Formula jr 17', and am trying to get more photos and specs before restoring it. I know the history of Donzi and the similarities with the sweet-16, but does anyone have more information on these boats?
It seems everyone has info on the Donzis, but not us......
Can anyone help?
My email address is:
jrsettle@cox.net
Thanks,
John
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Old 11-29-2004, 09:19 PM
glassman glassman is offline
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formula jr

I to have a jr 66 looked for long time but got it .If you need info on it the rep from formula was sum what helpful ,send me sum pics of the one in the plants showroom. My jr. is on its way back to life took deck off and starting to cover hull and deck with epoxy and 6oz glass but have plans to cut the neckbreaker seat out and more,
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formula jr. thunderbird need info-mvc-003f.jpg  formula jr. thunderbird need info-mvc-009f.jpg  formula jr. thunderbird need info-mvc-005f.jpg  

formula jr. thunderbird need info-mvc-002f.jpg  
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  #15  
Old 01-03-2005, 10:37 PM
Ron F Ron F is offline
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formula jr

I finally purchased the boat and got it home. needs fiberglass repair on the underside of the bow since it has collapsed due to heavy snow one winter.It also has stress cracks on each side where the bow meets the sides. Any suggestions on wat I should try working with Fiberglass kits or epoxy resin from west system. Also It has the mercruiser straight 6 with a chevy block sn 1948514 , the outdrive says mercruiser on it c2000732 should I get a book I found "mercruiser stern drives 1964-85?
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