CADILLAC – There’s a boat in a pole barn behind Bill and Sue Cinco’s house in Cadillac. And it’s a beauty, a gleaming Chris Craft Holiday, one of only 112 manufactured here in 1954.
Bill Cinco restored it to her natural beauty during the 1990s.
The retired salon owner takes pride in the boat called “Special Times.” But he talked about it with an intriguing blend of pride and regret as he remembered when he first fell in love with “the wooden boats.”
Born and raised in Detroit, Cinco went camping with his family every summer on Higgins Lake. Their cabin was near the marina.
“There were all these beautiful boats moored there,” he said. “I would help them out – I would hold the ropes. I admired the beautiful wood boats and I was always hoping for a ride.”
“Upteen years later,” his best friend Denny Montague bought a Chris Craft and Cinco was smitten.
“We gave Sue and Bill a ride in our 1950s Chris Craft Century Resorter on Lake Cadillac one evening,” Montaugue said. “Just listening to that engine running will turn any man’s head. Little did I know that Bill was hit hard by the wooden boat syndrome.”
Montague encouraged his friend to “try and find one.”
Cinco started searching want ads.
“I bought this boat not knowing what I was buying, the work involved,” he said. “It was a Holiday and nobody knew much about it. There were several previous owners and they tried to make it into a 1965 by changing the motor, the gauges and the shifting. My intent was to bring it home and determine what I had.”
Once in the water, “Special Times” was “unique and fun to drive.” But then she started leaking. Cinco took it out of the water and decided to restore it to its original beauty. Which meant undoing the many changes previous owners had made.
Russ Arrand, owner of the Cadillac Boat Shop, has been restoring wooden boats for more than 30 years. He remembers talking to Cinco during the process.
“It’s not that unusual for someone to restore a wooden…