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  1. #1
    My Boats:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    what to look for in a cig cafe racer

    hi guys i am looking at a 1990 cig cafe racer thinking of stepping up from a 26 ft sport boat. engines are chevy with approx 300 hrs. what is rebuild time? has bravo 1 drives . whats the scoop on those? clean lines and nice boat. any advice would be appreciated thanks

    i can catch the big guys at the gas dock

  2. #2
    Registered VIP Member
    My Boats:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Boca Raton, FL
    Let's see, a 17+ year old high performance could have a lot of issues if:

    1. It wasn't maintained, stored or operated properly.
    Was it run in fresh or salt water?
    Is it from an area with a full or short season?
    Was the driver conservative or a cowboy in the big water?
    Was it stored inside dry or in the water and sun?
    2. The Bravo outdrives have had two major upgrades since those drives were new. Are these drives done yet?

    3. You need a good surveyor that understands high performance marine construction and can check the high stress areas for damage or repair.

    Good Luck with this endeavor.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    I've seen an above-average incidence of transom rot in the early Cafe's. No idea why and I doubt my sample size is statistically valid. Just something to be aware of. In that age range, it's probably good to be extra-vigilant of that issue on any boat.

    A survey is pretty much worthless if it's not being done by someone who does high-performace boats regularly and has lots of experience with the specific boat you're considering. Searay's ain't Cigarettes,and vice versa.

  4. #4
    Registered The Menace's Avatar
    My Boats:
    46 turbined Skater
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Bonita Springs, Florida
    A qualifed surveyor is a must. However, if you want to do a little preliminary on your own, there are storage areas under the seats in the cabin. Lift those and make sure that there is no sign of glass damage where the stringers are affixed to the hull. If the liner has become detached it will be a mess to repair. Another area is the console area between the v berth and couch. Make sure there are no visible cracks.
    A boat that has recently been painted is usually a good reason to be extra cautious.

    A little paint and putty can cover up a lot of sins.

    Also look in the engne compartment immediately behind the back seat. Check where the outboard sides meet the small step where the gas tank access panels are located.
    The cabin door should open and closes smoothly.

    I would want to know where it spent it's life. Salt, fresh, ocean, great lakes.

    Cafe's are one of my all time favorite "V"'s. Not too big or too small. Great ride and good looking. Will take it over a TG of the same vintage anyday.

  5. #5
    My Boats:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    thanks guys all sound advice as usual.

  6. #6
    My Boats:
    I think I have a Center Console now
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Ft. Lauderdale Florida & Tarpon Springs Florida


    what to look for ??? 3 more feet and into a Top Gun

  7. #7
    Platinum Member Platinum Member seafordguy's Avatar
    My Boats:
    Cigarette - Cafe Racer
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Seaford, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by tanner View Post
    what to look for ??? 3 more feet and into a Top Gun
    Can't argue the 3 extra feet but I prefer the cabin in the early/mid 90's Cafe to the early/mid 90's Top Gun; and cabin was moderately important to us - Both great boats though!

  8. #8
    My Boats:
    1987 Donzi 22; 2008 Donzi 28 ZXO
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Tallahassee, FL
    I actually like seeing salt water use on used boats because:

    -A salt water boat that hasn't been maintained properly will look like crap.
    -A salt water boat that has been maintained properly will look great, with no signs of rust, etc.

    -Fresh water boats can be barely maintained, and still look like new. I have a neighbor that has a freshwater boat (15 year old boat) that he does NOTHING to and the average buyer would think it was well maintained. I don't think he even changes the oil but once every couple years.

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