XXX: The Next Chapter

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Outerlimits built one for the ages with the iconic XXX 47 GTX. (Photo courtesy of Florida Powerboat Club.)

Outerlimits built one for the ages with the iconic XXX 47 GTX. (Photo courtesy of Florida Powerboat Club.)

Yesterday I wrote a story for speedonthewater.com on Nate Michel, a Louisiana performance boater who purchased an Outerlimits 47 GTX a year ago and is in the middle of updating the 12-year-old 47-footer to really make it his own. And I’ll tell you what—it’s not easy to write about Michel, who is a regular at poker runs from the Tickfaw 200 in his own backyard to the popular Emerald Coast and Key West runs in Florida, without mentioning his good friend and fellow powerboat enthusiast Michael Pierce, who lives in Prairieville, La.

You see the two of them do a lot together—in fact, this week they’ve been assisting with the transformation of Michel’s F-650 tow vehicle—but there was really no need to get into their “bromance.” Kidding aside, they’ve been friends since 2001 when they both owned H2X models from Baja Marine. Now the two of them are proud owners of an Outerlimits.

It just so happens that Pierce’s boat—the one he bought as an early Christmas present for himself and Nikki, his devoted wife and fellow performance boat nut—is one most of us are familiar with.

The 47-footer in its current state at Brand X Hi-Performance Marine in Pompano Beach, Fla. Photo courtesy Michael Pierce

The 47-footer in its current state at Brand X Hi-Performance Marine in Pompano Beach, Fla. (Photo courtesy of Michael Pierce.)

In the Outerlimits family, which includes 20-plus years of memorable models, there may not be a more iconic boat than the canopied 47 GTX XXX. If so, there’s not enough to count on one hand. I know Jason Ventura, who owns Brand X Hi-Performance Marine in Pompano Beach, Fla., believes that to be true. Then again he has about as personal of a connection with the boat as it gets.

Ventura, who got his start in the business at Outerlimits, said he “cut his teeth” on XXX. The 47-footer was one of the first projects Mike Fiore, the late Outerlimits founder, let his close friend Ventura shape from start to finish.

“All of us in Bristol, Rhode Island, poured our hearts and souls into that boat,” said Ventura, who felt like he had reunited with a best friend after taking the boat for a shakedown in South Florida with Pierce on the wheel in late December. “With XXX I felt like we built a piece of marine history—people came from everywhere to see her and everyone had to get pictures with her. I still can’t believe I can look out my office window and see her in my shop.”

Although he’d clearly like to restore the 2005 model to its former glory, Ventura said he respects Pierce’s choices. Brand X does have a few modifications that need to be done to get the boat ready for the poker run season, including technology system updates for the dash panels, a complete rigging overhaul and engine upgrades featuring 8.3L Whipple superchargers and electronic engine management systems from Tommy Hofstetter of Chief Performance.

New owner Michael Pierce took XXX out for a test ride with Jason Ventura just a few days before Christmas. Photo courtesy Celeste Segredo

New owner Michael Pierce took XXX out for a test ride with Jason Ventura just a few days before Christmas. (Photo courtesy of Celeste Segredo.)

Pierce, who owned Maxed Out, a 45’ Maximus from Cigarette Racing Team, before XXX, said Brand X also is going to be changing the water pickups, switching the underwater exhaust back to its original location and rebuilding the engine hatches so the headers stick out of each hatch like they did when the boat, which features a removable hardtop, was built.

“I’m so excited about this boat,” said Pierce, who also has owned models from Eliminator, Fountain and MTI. “The boat is fast and it handles incredibly well. We’re definitely going to update the interior and do some work on the paint soon. I like the silver and red color scheme so we’ll probably keep it that way. We are planning to remove the Outerlimits down the sides and bring back the XXX logo since that was done in carbon fiber when the boat was being built.”

Pierce’s previous boat was the unmistakable Cigarette 45 Maximus. Photo courtesy Michael Pierce

Pierce’s previous boat was the unmistakable Cigarette 45 Maximus. (Photo courtesy of Michael Pierce.)

Ventura said Pierce was like a kid in a candy store when he found out XXX was for sale.

“He just couldn’t pass her up,” Ventura said. “As iconic as the boat is, he knows that boat will never leave here because if he sells her, we’re buying her. I’m happy for Mike as he’s got a special boat, and I’m very appreciative of him and all of my customers.”

Something tells me Ventura is especially appreciative of Pierce since he brought XXX back into his life. And something else tells me Pierce is going to be very grateful for the time and energy Ventura pours into his new pride and joy.

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Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com, and writes for Sportboat and Powerboating in Paradise magazines.

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