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Cigarette Racing Team Celebrates 40

Old 09-25-2009, 10:25 AM
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Default Cigarette Racing Team Celebrates 40

Though 40th birthdays are often dreaded as a sign of “middle age” and its associated concerns, Cigarette Racing Team has celebrated its 40th anniversary as a Renaissance of its heritage and of its brand name.

Few companies can claim icon status in their industry like Xerox, Kleenex and Cigarette. While not every copier is a Xerox, or every tissue a Kleenex, many “outsiders” think that every “go-fast” boat is a Cigarette—not realizing it is the brand that epitomizes its category. Cigarette is what other boats aspire to be.

Cigarette’s reputation for top-quality, performance, reliability and even its “bad boy” image started 40 years ago when Don Aronow, “The King of Thunderboat Row,” founded Cigarette Racing Team. He made his race team the name of his performance boat company and began racing to take titles, speed records and World Championships--and its name around the globe. While kings, movie stars, presidents and gangsters bought Cigarette boats, Aronow and his customers kept building on its reputation for performance, sleek beauty and star appeal, creating an aura about Cigarette. That reputation endured, even during the company’s lean years when business dropped due to operational and financial issues.

But in 2002, Cigarette got a new lease on life from an entrepreneur who knew boating and business. Skip Braver bought a boat, then bought the company and since then, Cigarette again earned top ranking in the performance boat industry because it performed—in all ways. Materials and processes were improved, its factory was expanded to over triple its size and built to today’s technologically advanced gold standards; its “team” was re-built from the ground up, building on tradition, yet adding quality, loyalty and dedication to the brand. “You can’t work here unless you are passionate about Cigarette,” says Braver. Another well-known quote speaks to the brand’s heritage—“I didn’t buy a company, I bought a legend” Braver has said on more than one occasion—justifiably proud of the fact he saw a diamond in the rough and re-polished it to reach its top value. From new models like the 39 Top Gun Unlimited, the 39 Top Fish, the 49 Grand Sport and the 50 Marauder, Cigarette has literally grown into its “middle age” to reach the top of the spectrum.

The 40th year started with the newest model s, the Top Fish, Grand Sport and Marauder taking off—especially in the European market where Cigarette has long had a strong presence. That foreign appeal started with its longest-standing dealer in St. Tropez, SportMer Marine and is now an overseas network of seven dealerships.

Cigarette enjoys an alliance with Mercury Racing, ensuring customers reliable service and the benefit of Mercury’s newest technology in super-charged engines. In addition, Cigarette was the first to earn Mercury’s T.E. A.M. certification and was also the first to validate the 1075 SCi engines in its models.

In the US, the Top Fish also enjoyed success beyond expectations, but the 39 Top Gun Unlimited, which gave the 1998 classic and finishing touches like a staggered engine package and an enclosed head, remains the national favorite. “It is just the ideal boat!” says GM Hector Rodriguez who became an integral part of Cigarette’s business operations, as well as a key to the development of the European dealer network, “The Top Gun Unlimited is the perfect size, easy to dock, family and friend-accommodating and the staggered engine package gives it handling abilities that make it an ongoing favorite and addition to the long-standing leader, the 38 Top Gun.”

Those attributes—plus its stellar paint and upholstery packages, this year earned the model the prestigious “Offshore V-Bottom of the Year” award from Powerboat Magazine, Cigarette’s 6th annual award and its 9th since 1992 when the 38’ Top Gun first took that prize. That classic boat got another vote in 2009 from the Miss GEICO Racing Team, that added a 38 Top Gun to its fleet as its VIP and racing Pace boat. The team wanted a reliable, “hot” and admirable boat to show its sponsors, visitors and other racers that even when it wasn’t racing, it was still at the top of the pack. “I have dreamed of having a Cigarette [since I was 6 years old] and now that dream has come true!” said John Haggin, the owner of the Miss GEICO Racing Team, reaffirming Cigarette’s place in current history—a brand that has endured and will continue to do so.

But Cigarette Racing Team doesn’t rest on its laurels—its crew goes to work each day to try to build the best boat in the world. “Each person here plays a part in making that happen,” says Braver, “Each person in this building is part of Cigarette Racing Team—we think Don would be proud!”

Last edited by KennyOffShore; 09-25-2009 at 10:29 AM.
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