F32 Trojan Boat Legacy

The buyer arrives at his preferred choice by one of several methods.

But once a choice is made, they are usually immutable, as with most product loyal customers. This seed may have been planted years back during a memorable afternoon on an uncle’s boat . Or perhaps it was a good boat review that made such an impression that the buyer looks for just one particular make in the boating classifieds.

Trojan certainly has its loyal owners. The F32 series, in particular, broke all sales records. Over a period of nearly 20 years, some 2,700 rolled off a line at that Lancaster, P.A., plant – more than any other production boat in its size range. And the F32 has maintained that desirability.

They were certainly popular because of their space and price, says broker Joan Kelly of McMichael Yacht Sales in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

When one comes on the market now, if it’s in good shape and has low hours, it will not last long. There arent too many flybridges in a certain price range – such as the Trojan F32 or the Silverton 34. They had a nice traditional look, good space, and you can still buy them reasonably.

Dollars & Cents

When introduced in 1973, the F32 Sedan sold for $29,000. Five years later, the base price of the F32 sadan was up to $40,600. Equipped with the standard 225 Chryslers and later the F32 was equipped with 350 Crusaders V-8s, the F32 had a cruising speed between 15 and 22 mph (2500-3000 rpm), with a top speed of 32.3 mph (4,ooo rpm).

After 1983, standard tankage was increased to 220 gallons. Today’s buyer considering a used to Trojan may find a range of $44,800 to $51,500 for a 1988 F32 Sedan. A 1974 recently appeared on the Web for $29,500 – roughly its original price. In Massachusetts, a 1977 with 250s was
offered at $39,500.

History 101

The F32 was among Trojans first ventures into fiberglass construction. From 1949 to 1964, Trojan built exclusively in wood, developing a momentum and reputation for affordable craftsmanship.

But with the 1960 introduction of fiberglass as a building material, Trojan would not be the only boat-builder to make the switch to fiberglass. Trojan president James R. McQueen wanted to make sure fiberglass construction was going to hold up under marine conditions before committing to what would be a major capital transition costs for molds, methods and tooling, recalls Jim Ressler, Trojan’s chief engineer from 1970 to 1977.

Jim McLean was very much a wood advocate and reluctant to make the switch, says Ressler. But he was cognizant that much of the industry was going to fiberglass, whether he liked it or not.

The F-series was introduced in 1970 – with the F denoting fiberglass construction. The F32s that you see today first appeared in the summer of 1972 with teak on the foredecks and cockpit – a short-lived design feature . The last F32 was built in 1992.

Of the three models offered, the F32 Sedan (model # 321) was by far the most popular than the F32 Express (model #320) or the F32 Sports Fisherman ( model #322). Only about 20 percent were ordered with the long cockpit and diminished house area of the Express. And only two-or three dozen of the F32 Sports fishermen (model #322) were sold, according to Ressler.

Right Time, Right Place

The birthplace of the Trojan F32s was just east of Lancaster, P.A., about 70 miles west of Philadelphia. Built in the 1960s on about 55 acres, the Trojan plant
had around 300 employees working two shifts on three assembly lines – at one point all of them building F32s, recalls Ressler.

At its peak, production volume was between 8 and 10 boats a week, he says – more than 400 a year. Although today’s literature says 2,700 were built Ressler estimates the total number of F32s at closer to 3,000. The ride eventually ended with the late 80s implosion of the boat building industry: bankruptcy and asset buyout. The molds for the F32’s were cut into pieces with a chainsaw, but not the F32 legacy. Jay Crumlish of Chester, Md., sold Trojan’s for almost 18 years. His father, the late John Joseph J. J. Crumlisch Jr., was Trojan’s regional sales manager for the mid-Atlantic and influenced his son in the direction of yacht sales. Crumlisch, too, remembers the Lancaster plant. At its peak, they were flying off a line he says. But the fit and cabinetry werent rushed.

Why was the F32 such popular boat? This was wider than most boats, says Crumlish. It had a good reputation and was economical to run. That was certainly the heyday of boat production, though.

They hit the market at the right time. The F32 layout remained largely unchanged throughout its long production run. Sedan models have a 60 square-foot cockpit, and enclosed family space of about 73 sq. ft. that includes the standard lower helm to starboard, and is simply appointed yet bright and spacious interior. Forward, a wide V- berth is flanked port and starboard by ample shelving with hanging lockers providing the privacy bulkhead. On port, the head is forward of the galley, which abuts the aft bulkhead. On the starboard, a large dinette converts to double berth.
The Express version answered a different equation: With no family room, there is more space available for the cockpit and interior.

Dennis Killian