After a five-year hiatus, Black Thunder Powerboats is returning to boat production behind new ownership. The Hannibal, Mo., company, which was founded by Don Jenkins in 1987, stopped producing its sizable offshore V-bottoms in 2008 with the beginning of the economic downturn.
“Black Thunder ceased production voluntarily as it didn’t envision boats that cost between $500,000 and $700,000 being big sellers—and they were right,” said John York of Durgan and Associates Business Brokers, which helped put together the sale of Black Thunder to Troy Covey, who runs American Performance Technologies, home of MotoVox in Kansas City, Mo. “Currently, the company is planning to produce a few V-bottom models for 2013—a new 32-foot center console targeted toward military, commercial and law-enforcement agencies, a 43-foot poker run special and the company’s legendary 46-foot sport cruiser.”
Also an owner of a 43-foot Black Thunder, York will be handling some of the sales and business development responsibilities at the new Black Thunder Marine Center located on one of the country’s most popular lakes, Lake of the Ozarks (Durgan and Associates is located on the lake in Osage Beach, Mo.). The new facility is located on the 26-mile marker and will conduct sales, service, production boat rigging, fit, finish and testing. And as a marina, it will provide dry storage, slips, repair and fuel services.
According to York, Black Thunder is extending equity and executive management roles to Jenkins and his son, Bob. Don remains as a creative force and Bob remains as the vice president of manufacturing. York, who confirmed that the company will have a new theme boat at the Key West World Championships in November, is already excited about the model unveilings at the 2013 Miami International Boat Show.
“We’re embracing all new technology on the boats,” York said. “Every boat will have a combination of old-school gauges with the latest Garmin electronics. We’re going through the boats now and if there’s a new product that makes sense to upgrade, we’ll do so. The boats will still be the durable, great-performing ‘condos on the water’ they’re known as, they’ll just be updated and enhanced.”