As planned by Jeremy Strup and other friends of noted engine builder Brad Smith, who died in late 2013 during a high-speed boating accident, the restoration of Smith’s 20-foot-long, 1987 Liberator sportboat with a picklefork hull began in September with dismantling of the vintage aquatic hot rod. Now the project is moving on to it next stage. Separate parts of the boat currently are headed to several vendors including FiberTek in Grove, Okla., which will handle restoring and painting the hull. The boat’s 200-hp outboard engine is being torn down and rebuilt by Top Gun Marine in Nixa, Mo., according to Strup.
With its soon-to-be-rebuilt 200-hp outboard engine removed, Brad Smith’s 1987 Liberator sportboat is ready for its makeover.
“We ran the boat as much as we could last summer, but now we have it all ripped up with all the pieces headed in different directions,” said Strup, who is overseeing the project. “I am hoping to have this thing all buttoned up by April or May.”
Strup said he isn’t sure how he’ll handle restoring the boat’s interior. “I’ve been talking to Liberator, and we may end up going with a brand-new ‘factory’ interior.”
Brandon Smith, Smith’s 18-year-old son who still works at Smith Power in Joplin, Mo., is designing and laying out the new graphics for the low-profile 20-footer and its outboard engine. While FiberTek will take care of painting the boat, Smith will apply the graphics he creates to the engine’s cowling.
“We’re going to pimp it out the way my dad would have wanted it,” said Smith. “He had that boat a long time ago when I was a little kid. He used to trim it all the way up and do wheelies in it with me in the back. It freaked me out, but I loved every minute of it. That’s the biggest memory I have of that boat.”
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