Last summer Dre Trudell of Overland Park, Kan., purchased a 2007 Donzi Marine 43 ZR offshore V-bottom with a pair of Teague Custom Marine 975-hp engines coupled with No. 6 drives from Mercury Racing to use on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks and at various poker runs across the country.
Trudell, who has owned a Donzi 28 ZX sportboat since 2006 and is on the water nearly every weekend of the boating season with his girlfriend, Callie, had his eyes on the stepped 43-footer for some time. With less than 60 hours and still in the original owner’s possession, the boat was a perfect fit for Trudell, who was looking for more hull for Lake of the Ozarks and wanted to stay in the Donzi family.
“It’s a fantastic boat and in great shape, but you know how it goes, you want to start making it your own right away,” Trudell said. “I keep it at Performance Boat Center and between the guys at Performance Boat Center and other people I know around the lake, Justin Wagner’s name kept coming up. I was familiar with his work so I contacted him.”
Trudell had a couple of objectives for Wagner and his team at Waves and Wheels in Osage Beach, Mo. First, he said he wanted to upgrade the stereo so he could at least hear it over the supercharged engines. Second, the mirror on the underside of the engine hatch needed to be replaced.
Although he considered simply having the Donzi logo etched into a new mirror, Trudell went back and forth with Wagner on some concepts and eventually gave Wagner the thumbs up on the creative idea to raise a Donzi ZR crest/shield off of the mirror and use LEDs to create a glow around it.
“We ended up replacing the mirror, routing LEDs through the engine hatch and fabricating the crest with Donzi ZR and without the traditional lion and dolphin,” said Wagner, who installed eight speakers and a subwoofer to beef up the sound system as well as a TV and DVD player in the cabin, which Trudell outfitted with air conditioning and a generator last year. “I really like how it came together with the crest, the engine bay lighting and the cockpit lighting. It turned out pretty cool.”
Trudell, who can’t wait to get on the water this season, was impressed with the overall workmanship and the 24/7 dedication Wagner and his crew exhibited during the project.
“I fell in love with the raised shield—it’s exactly what I was looking for and it’s one-of-a-kind,” said Trudell, who admitted he’s planning to do more work on the boat including swapping out the interior. “Not only did I appreciate the time and attention Justin and his crew gave my boat, I was impressed by Justin’s vision and his availability.”
Trudell said he intends to run the boat at several Lake of the Ozarks events this summer as well as some other destination poker runs, such as the Pirates of Lanier Poker Run in Georgia. It’s obvious he’s going to make the most out of his first full season with the 43-foot Donzi—especially since he’s making it his own.
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