Glastron GT 160 Collector’s Edition
Posted: February 29, 2012
Back to the Future
Arguably, the greatest boat stunt in filmmaking history was modestly titled “Scene 156,” in the 007 movie “Live and Let Die.” In it, James Bond was driving a Glastron GT 150 during a wild, twisting chase through a Louisiana bayou that featured a ramp jump over Sheriff J.W. Pepper’s patrol car, parked on a levee. The 110-foot jump — nailed on the first take and the only jump filmed — made it into the “Guinness Book of Records.” During production, however, the stunt crew used 26 Glastrons, crashing 17 of them during the 100 practice jumps and in other stunts during the epic 13-minute chase sequence. Fast-forward 39 years, and Glastron goes back to the future with the new GT 160 Collector’s Edition that commemorates its 55 years of rich history.
Glastron pays tribute to its classic early 1970s boats and channels the venerable GT 160 with legacy styling that takes the best of the old and makes it new again. It still possesses the sleek lines that led to one of the first uses of the word “sexy” to describe fiberglass and metal. The main at-a-glance difference between old and new is the absence of the wrap-around windshield that blended into the side panels. That was a great look, but the new, slightly curved two-piece non-wrap-around version opens up the cockpit better and is more functional than the original. The yellow-faced Faria gauges with hand-stitched eyebrows are especially eye-catching.
What’s still here is the attitude, as expressed by the racing stripes on the closed bow that extend to the dash and lead your eyes to the commemorative badge that will have the owner’s name on it, along with the boat’s production number. And on the Collector’s Edition, the number only goes to 55, one for each year Glastron has been thrilling us with its futuristic (or, in this case, nostalgic) designs. That’s right, only 55 lucky people can own a Collector’s Edition model, but don’t worry, if you are the 56th person, the GT 160 CB will be produced in a standard production run.
Our test boat features the max horsepower, an Evinrude E-TEC 115, which, appropriately for this boat, is the white version rather than the blue-hued one. As an aside, the GT 150 that made the legendary “Live and Let Die” jump was powered by an Evinrude Starflite 135 — 50 horsepower more than the maximum 85 horsepower for that model, which probably voided its warranty.
The E-TEC 115 gave us a nice kick in the seat of the pants, as we got on plane in 2.3 seconds with minimal bowrise (though some skippers may trim the engine up a little to pop a wheelie … bloody showoffs). Time to 30 mph was 7 seconds flat, and at about this time it felt like the Evinrude shifted into a higher gear. The 115 features a two-way tuned exhaust system that employs a switch-over valve to reroute the exhaust. At 4500 rpm, the flow switches over to a much shorter path that uses the exhaust’s momentum and pressure waves to jam more air and fuel into the combustion chamber. This propelled us to a top speed of 45 mph, which in a 16-foot, 6-inch boat feels like 65.
Although the “Live and Let Die” Glastrons performed well, they didn’t have the SSV (Super Stable Vee) hulls pioneered in 1977, which have undergone a few minor tweaks since then. The SSV hull starts sharp at the entry and flattens out to a deadrise of 17 degrees at the stern, giving the boat excellent handling at all speeds. The GT 160 tracks very accurately and handles a moderate amount of chop well, though it’s still a small boat, which you will feel in the seat of your pants should things get rough. It corners fairly flat and is very nimble, which will come in handy should you find yourself in a bayou being chased by bad guys.
To me, this is sort of an “image boat” that will make you look and feel cool, but it’s also a pretty good little ski boat. Unlike the vintage ’70’s Glastron tri-pod ski bar that ate up cockpit space, the optional new version is a screw-in pylon that’s very stout. Skis can be stowed in the flip-up stern bench compartment or between the footrests under the foredeck. And given the GT 160’s excellent holeshot, all but the beefiest skiers will have no problem getting up. With twin racing bucket seats and a stern bench, you have very comfortable seating for five adults, although it’s rated for six.
You can get the GT 160 powered by as little as 75 hp, but this will knock your top speed down to 36 mph when traveling solo, according to Evinrude tests, and will reduce your watersports potential. Get the 115 and add hydraulic steering. Glastron can also rig the GT 160 with Yamaha and Mercury power.
There are four color combos to choose from, and our test boat is clad in the Red Edition (my favorite), featuring a red-and-white design that spills over into the upholstery and custom checkerboard carpeting. Another bold color combo is the Anniversary Edition, which I’m calling the “Dreamsicle” for its orange-and-white scheme. Being from Florida, I might have to pass on the Black Edition that — like the Anniversary Edition — has black panels on the bucket seats, which could double as solar panels for thigh-cooking purposes. The Sport Edition, with the black and white hull, has Sand Dance tan upholstery, which is particularly striking and is rather luxury auto-like. It’s also the only interior without black panels on the stern bench.
The Collector’s Edition ($2,181 upcharge) gives you a number of upgrades, such as custom carpeting, gray stern platform Glastron-emblazoned soft mats, the stainless steel package, a retractable ladder and a really cool color-coordinated sport wheel with a spinner hub that always keeps the Glastron badge right side up. If you aren’t getting a Collector’s Edition GT 160, you can choose an open-bow version for more seating options.
|LOA||26 ft., 10 in|
|Beam||8 ft. 6 in.|
|Engines||Mercury 225 OptiMax Pro XS|
|Base Price||As Tested: $39,999|
|Standard Equipment||Docking lights, rear boarding ladder, MP3 stereo w/4 speakers, rear loungers, 28-oz. carpeting|
|Optional Equipment||RPT tubes, ski tow bar, full canvas camper enclosure, gate filler seat, Porta Potti|
What we liked
• Classic styling
• Comfortable seating
• Snap-in carpeting
• Convenient boarding ladder
• Quiet Yamaha F115
What we would change
Although we didn’t get it with a Bimini top originally, we are adding one.
Why we bought it
I grew up in Long Island and learned how to boat and ski on a 16-foot Lyman. When I grew up, I bought a 15-foot Glasspar that I kept for 44 years, but it needed refurbishing and wasn’t suitable for my four grandkids, who range in age from 4 months to 4 years old. I wanted to buy a new boat, but one that had a classic look with modern features. At the New York Boat Show, I saw the Glastron GT 160 and loved it. We have a cottage that I built myself on Lake Rescue in Ludlow, Vt., where we vacation in the summer, and the Glastron is perfect for this 184-acre lake. The new boat has far more comfortable seats, and it’s wider and has more freeboard, which is better for the grandkids. I really want them to learn how to ski like I did, rather than just being towed around on tubes like most kids on the lake. The Glastron has a tall ski pylon and an easy-to-use boarding ladder. We plan on keeping this one for 44 years.
Posted By: CARL "CAT On: 8/11/2012
Title: JUST BOUGHT A GT 160 ANNIVESITY ADDITON ORANG AND WHITE
I FOUND THIS BOAT PICKING FOR A CAR IN A BARN IN ELKHART,TEXAS. I AM A BOAT PERSON KNOWING NOTHING ABOUT A GT 1160 I JUST LIKED HER LINES AND ALL OF THE INTERIOR STILL SOFT AND THE GEL STILL SHINES LIKE NEW IT HAS THE JOHNSON MODEL MR-OR I436845 MADE IN AUSTIN TEXAS.IT HAS A JOHNSON 125 STARFLIGHT WITH A AWESOME PUSH BUTTON SHIFTER MODEL 125183 C THE GUY I BOUGHT IT FROM SAID IT WAS HES GRANDPA'S. HE ALWAYS TOOK EXTREME CARE OF IT HE PASSED AWAY IN 1984. I FOUND THE BOAT UNDER A BUNCH OF RUBBISH COVERED WITH WITH A HEAVY DUTY ARMY TARP IT FLOORED ME WHEN HE SAID IT WAS A 1971 AND HAD BEEN SITTING IN THAT BARN SINCE 84'IT TOOK AWHILE BUT HE GOT IT TITLED THROUGH T.P.W.D. SO WHAT DO I HAVE HERE IS IT A JEWEL IN THE ROUGH OR JUST A COOL LITTLE BOAT
Posted By: jim On: 7/10/2012
Title: not quite the classic...
Perhaps it's the angle the first photo is taken at, but it looks like any bump while crossing a boat wake would put the driver's teeth into the windshield frame. I'd still prefer to get back my old GT with its wrap around windshield.
Posted By: Dolphan On: 7/2/2012
There couldn't be anything more iconic from my youth than this boat. I am a little disappointed in the top speed. I used to work for a dealer that sold a brand of boat called Bonito and they had a model that was basically a knock off of a Glastron Carlson, we used to routinely get 65 out of a 135 Johnson. Of course the boat probably weighed a third less because back then it didn't have full foam flotation and all of the other types of safety equipment and the like. We still couldn't beat the Hydrostreams from the dealer across town because they also sold Mercury power which always had a higher horsepower engine, at least until the V-6's came along.
Posted By: On: 3/17/2012
Title: Low Seats
A standard production run Bow Rider has the front seats so low to the floor that my wife would be unable to get into or out of them. From the Brochure, it looks like the Collector's Edition seats might be higher, but the dealer didn't know. I was ready to purchase the Collector's Edition until a friend made us aware of the low seats.
Posted By: capn dean On: 3/17/2012
i would gladly give up the warranty and put a vintage 135 hp evinrude on it. a little beefing up the transom--dueable. they missed the boat not putting a curved glass windshield on this puppy. function is not a good enough reason on a boat like this. windshield mfg at a indy race car body shop will fabricate one just like the original for me.
Posted By: On: 3/16/2012
Title: Wrong boat
If I can get a 225 HP on this 16 footer, sign me up! Fix the mistake.