Your go-to source for performance boating.
HomeProjectsReborn Donzi 38 ZRC Making A Splash At Hartwell Lake Charity Run

Reborn Donzi 38 ZRC Making A Splash At Hartwell Lake Charity Run

From Mike and Angela Goldbaugh’s immaculate LATE FEE$ X2 Skater Powerboats 368 catamaran to Kelly and Julie O’Hara’s 36-foot MTI cat dubbed Holy Cow!!, there’s no shortage of sultry hardware in the 100-plus-boat fleet for today’s Hartwell Lake Charity Poker Run. The South Carolina event benefitting Meals On Wheels-Anderson is well on its way to going from a hidden gem to one of the hottest go-fast boating events in the country, and that is reflected by the bounty of significant go-fast boats in the mix this weekend.

Thanks to the team at BRP Marine Customs, Red Baron’s interior has been brought into the modern era.

All of which makes it the perfect venue for Jack Gladke of Upstate New York to debut the latest version of Red Baron, his impeccably kept 2008 model-year Donzi Marine 38 ZRC V-bottom. Naturally, Gladke didn’t change the Mercury Racing 700SCi-powered 38-footer’s signature hue. Otherwise, he’d also have to change boat’s name—at least if making sense was among his naming priorities. But he did have Chad Shutter and his crew at BRP Marine Customs in Denver, N.C., completely redo the boat’s interior.

Gone is the original tan vinyl, replaced by charcoal-gray Alcantara and more.

“The vinyl was just wearing out and starting to show its age,” Gladke explained. “The Alcantara is more comfortable, modern and adds a whole new look to the boat. My goal was always to make Red Baron my own creation. They also replaced all the dash panels, but I kept the yellow gauges—that part I’m keeping ‘classic.’ And in the past couple of years I had replaced all of the electronics.

“BRP is a top-notch shop,” he continued. “Their customer service and communication throughout the project were second to none. I talked to Chad every day. He kept me totally up to speed, except for pictures. That part I wanted to be a surprise.”

previous arrow
previous arrow
next arrow
next arrow

Red Baron before.

For Shutter, the project was somewhat personal as the first Donzi he ever updated, many years ago, was his own 28 ZX. Since then, he and his crew have renovated several Donzi offerings, including Brendan Egan’s Panty Dropper 38 ZX a few years ago.

“For the most part, Jack’s project was a fairly straightforward design change to get it away from the original tan interior from Donzi,” Shutter said. “Donzi really did such a great job when they originally built this boat, so I really didn’t want to change it too much. The ZRC has always been such an amazing boat and so iconic that we didn’t want to completely change what people all love about them.

“We also did little things such as tightening up the gaps on the interior, adding new carbon-fiber dash panels and cleaning up previous electronics, changing the shape of the side panels and such. We wanted to keep it nice and clean and elegant while keeping it still sporty-looking. I think getting away from the original tan design really cleaned up the look and made it look like new.”

previous arrow
previous arrow
next arrow
next arrow

Red Baron after.

Business is by all accounts booming at BRP Marine Customs and its renovation schedule is tight. That’s a good problem to have, for sure, but it required Shutter to outsource from the labor required to update Red Baron.

“I designed and built all the changed panels, but relied on my good friend, Frank Greco, for the actually stitching of the interior this time as our schedule wouldn’t allow to do this one all in-house,” he said. “My team and I handled the installation of all the panels and dash upgrades as well. I also need to thank Chad Walton from Chad Walton Racing for scanning and executing my design vision on the DekIt flooring. Getting away from the factory carpet flooring really topped off the design.”

Shutter and company finished the project on Thursday. A well-disciplined and patient gentleman, Gladke actually saw his updated boat for the first time when he arrived yesterday at Hartwell Lake.

“Let me tell you, my jaw hit the floor,” Gladke said. “I was speechless when I laid eyes on her.”

Just as folks on Hartwell Lake will be today when they spy Red Baron on the water.

“I’d also like to thank my friend Joe Laquitara, who always joins me for events and assists with his vast knowledge of boating and considerable towing skills,” Gladke added. “There’s a ton of work that goes into these trips and I couldn’t do it without him.”

The Hartwell Lake Charity Run is the first event of the 2023 season for the Red Baron Donzi 38 ZRC owned by Jack Gladke.

Related stories
Hartwell Lake Charity Run Online Registration Closed At 98 Entries
A Family Reunion In Old Kuttawa
Statement 350 Center Console Pays Tribute To New York City Blue
Impressive Donzi 38 ZX Project Boat Headed To Lake Cumberland Poker Run
Inside SOTW Mag: Comeback Of The Year In The 1,000 Islands