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Project: Donzi 38 ZR Comp Being Made New

More than a familiar face in the New Jersey performance boating community, Thomas Anselmi is among the nicest and most generous folks you’ll ever meet. While he’s made his Donzi 38 ZRC (Comp) sportboat built in 2003 and powered by twin Mercury Racing 575 SCi engines, which he eventually had upgraded to 700-plus hp with IMCO SCX drives, a staple in poker runs in the Northeast and Florida, he’s also pressed it into higher service. Anselmi and his wife, Andrea, have given rides to deserving folks from injured veterans during the Garden State’s annual offshore powerboat race in Atlantic City to mentally and physically challenged children and their families during the Shore Dreams For Kids event in Brick.


Thomas Anselmi’s Donzi 38 ZRC has hosted more than a few deserving passengers. Photo courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.

Anselmi is, to borrow from the fictional Willy Wonka, “a good egg,” a guy who’s more likely to do something nice for someone else than he is for himself. But his 38-footer, which was the most exhilarating sit-down sportboat of its day, is showing the signs of wear that come with hundreds of hours of saltwater duty. So Anselmi is treating himself—and his bride—to an interior renovation.

While the scope of the project, which is being spearheaded by Innovation Marine in Sarasota, Fla., is mostly cosmetic it is rather extensive.

“My goal is to refresh the entire cockpit of the boat. go through all of the wiring, cables, actuators and so on and replace, clean up, or remove as needed,” said Anselmi. “We are working out who will do the vinyl. PPI is extremely backlogged and there are a few others like Nor-Tech’s people who are just as good. I have a new stereo and four new speakers for the gunwale as well as the LED lights for the cockpit and cup holders.”

For a look at Anselmi’s 38-footer in its current state at Innovation Marine, check out the slideshow above.

Other items on the list include replacing the boat’s quarter canopies, as well as detailing them with custom paint. All of the existing dash panels will be replaced carbon fiber (or simulated carbon fiber) versions and outfitted with all-new carbon fiber-face gauges with polished rims. Anselmi said the crew will reuse components such as switches and even the boat’s throttles and shifters if their condition allows, but if not they’ll be replaced with new items.

Innovation also will go through the boat’s engines, drives and trims and refresh them as needed. The bilge pumps will be replaced.

As noted above, the project is in its early stages. But two things are certain. First, with ace engine and restoration man Ron Potter now on its team, Innovation Marine is sure to produce an amazing result for Anselmi. Second, it couldn’t be happening to a nicer guy’s sportboat.

Editor’s Note: Speedonthewater.com will follow this project as it progresses.