1971 Sidewinder 16 low-profile jet
I am the original purchaser of a 1971 Sidewinder 16 foot low profile jet boat manufactured in Palo Alto, Ca. The boat is red metal flake with a white racing stripe. It has black vinyl, back-to-back bucket seating for four. The jet drive is a Berkeley 12JC with a stainless steel “A” impeller and Aqua-met shaft. The pump intake is equipped with a standard Berkeley speed grate. The engine is a Berkeley 455-2D Pack-A-Jet Oldsmobile which was the high performance option back in 1971. The high performance option was basically oil cooler, polished aluminum Berkeley exhaust manifolds, speed grate and stainless impeller. The Pack-A-Jet design provides a three point mount via a Berkeley bell housing which encloses a CV universal joint. The boat was originally purchased with a Michigan Lo-Loader trailer on which it still resides. I have most of the original purchase documentation including Berkeley manuals and trailer details. The boat is in exceptional condition, especially considering its age. It has always been stored inside. The gel coat exhibits no sun fade or weathering and the original vinyl is fully black, flexible and tear-free. The bottom has some scratches/chips from being beached but nothing significant. The hull has never required repairs due to damage and is all original. The transom, stringers and floor are all solid. The stock fuel tank is mounted in the bow with a deck fill port and holds about 20 gallons.
In 1978 I bought some goodies from Joe Mondello, (aka, Dr. Oldmobile). I equipped the engine with Gil 4-tube over-the transom headers, polished Offenhauser tunnel ram intake, Holley 1850’s with Mondello mods, Mondello distributor, Mondello JM-460 SP camshaft/hydraulic lifters, Cloyes drive gear, timing chain and Mondello 10 quart oil pan/oil system. These parts are still installed with exception to the Gil headers, which are gone. I have the original purchase receipts for these parts.
In 1999 I removed the jet pump for a refreshing. I had Hi-Performance Boats, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI (an authorized Berkeley repair facility) install new bowl bearings, CV joints, and general inspection. The inspection revealed essentially no internal wear and a good wear-ring fit. The comment was made that the pump was in remarkable condition. I had Hi-Perf equip the drive with a hydraulic Place Diverter nozzle with steering wheel control buttons. I also purchased a new Morse steering cable. I have the original purchase receipts for these mods/parts.
This is where the story runs out. I have never re-installed the jet drive. I had thoughts of flipping the hull, blue-printing the bottom and possibly a pump set-back, but procrastinated. I later gave thought to a possible re-power with a big-inch LS Chevy, but that never happened and, at this point, never will. I’ve just lost interest.
I’d like to find this boat a new owner who’ll enjoy as much as I did over the years. Price wise, in 1971 I paid $5500 for the boat and trailer from Russ Avery Marine in Kalamazoo, MI. I will sell it for that amount today and include the new Place Diverter hardware, cable and extra parts such as camshaft/hydraulic lifters, timing gear/chain, and Offy tunnel ram manifold single carb top plus all documentation that I have. The trailer is equipped with GoodYear Power Cushion tires, which (believe it or not) have lifetime warrantees which are still good for free replacement in event of failure. There is also a mounted spare tire assembly for the trailer included.