Glastron Boats For Sale
In 1956, newly-founded Glastron Boats began making boats with an exciting new material called fiberglass. The goal was to produce stylish, feature-rich, yet affordable boats. The combination launched a whole new era in boating and made the young company the world leader in just a few short... Read more
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In 1956, newly-founded Glastron Boats began making boats with an exciting new material called fiberglass. The goal was to produce stylish, feature-rich, yet affordable boats. The combination launched a whole new era in boating and made the young company the world leader in just a few short years.
More than fifty years later, Glastron has built nearly half a million boats. Along the way, they’ve been responsible for dozens of design and manufacturing innovations, moving boat building technology forward with each new breakthrough. It’s not surprising that the Glastron “sweep spear” that’s on the side of every model is now one of the most recognized icons in boating.
What’s the key to their longstanding success? They build boaters’ boats. Every model is designed to exceed the expectations of people who really understand the sport. From ergonomics to safety features to performance, every detail is well thought out and right where it should be. Buy a Glastron boat and chances are that years from now, you’ll still be discovering and appreciating the user-friendly features that they designed in for you.
For more than 50 years, the Glastron name and highly recognizable “sweep spear” graphic have been associated with progressively-styled and performance-oriented runabouts.
Glastron was the first large-scale manufacturer of fiberglass runabouts, and since 1956 has sold more of them than any other brand (nearly 500,000 at last count). During that period, Glastron has also collected dozens of awards for product design and performance.
Glastron Boats was founded on October 14, 1956 in Austin, Texas by Robert R. Hammond, William D. Gaston, Robert A. Shoop and Guy W. Woodard. The mutual interests of the founders to build boats with fiberglass, a relatively new material at the time, led to the establishment of the company.
The name Glastron was first suggested by Bettye Hammond (Bob Hammond’s wife). It was chosen because “Glas” represented the new material and “tron” sounded high tech.
Glastron’s first two boats introduced for the 1957 model year included the 15-foot Fireflite with a monohedron hull and the Surf-Flite, a utility version for fishing.
Glastron showed innovation early on by offering the choice of four deck colors: Matador Red, Fire Orange, Charcoal Gray and Aqua Blue.
Three boats were added in the 1958 model year: the 14'6" Skiflite, the 17' Seaflite (available with the industry's first optional fiberglass hardtop) and the 14' Fisherman (built on a Seaflite hull).
As sales grew at a 400% annual rate, the company searched for permanent facilities and purchased 8 acres of land in northwest Austin.
Realizing the need for additional capital to expand, Glastron became a publicly traded company in 1960. In 1960, Glastron developed a technique for producing two-tone gelcoat hulls, which allowed them to incorporate the “sweep spear” styling into their boats. It was first seen on the 1961 Jetflite.
In 1961, Glastron pioneered and introduced its first sterndrive models: the V-154 Futura with an 80-horsepower OMC, and the V-164 Bayflite with an 80-horsepower Volvo.
Glastron developed the Aqua Lift deep-vee hull, which was an immediate success. By the end of 1963, deep-vee Aqua Lift models represented over 50% of Glastron's dollar sales.
In 1966, Glastron introduced the company’s first tri-hull boat. The V-156 Sportster was introduced in 1967. It soon became the most popular model in boating history.
In 1969, Glastron formed a relationship with California boat builder Art Carlson to market Glastron/Carlson Sportboats. Glastron designed and built the infamous Bat Boat featured in the “Batman” movie and television series.
By the early 1970s, Glastron was world leader in fiberglass boat sales. In 1970, Glastron boat number 100,000 was built.
The total-package concept, offering boats with private branding of sterndrives with the Glastron name, was introduced in 1971. Glastron began incorporating vacuum-formed instrument panels and glove box panels, which were met with considerable consumer acceptance due to the integrated styling. Glastron introduced the first mechanical steering to replace the standard cable and pulley system, which represented a significant innovation in safety.
In 1973, a record 24,863 boats were sold. Also in 1973, the company built 26 Glastron and Glastron/Carlson boats for the James Bond film “Live and Let Die.” Seventeen boats were destroyed in the 100+ practice jumps to find the optimum speed and ramp design to achieve what became the world record 110' jump. The Glastron GT-150 flying over two police cars became a cover story in Time magazine.
Glastron boats were also featured in the Walt Disney film “Boatniks.”
In 1980, after designing a custom boat for the James Bond film “Moonraker,” Glastron introduced the Glastron/Carlson Scimitar. The 23-foot model boasted a hard top with removable tinted roof panels, a wraparound safety glass windshield, power seats, a center console and an overhead switch panel. Not surprisingly, it was selected Boat of the Year by Powerboat magazine.
Glastron moved its manufacturing operations to New Braunfels, Texas in 1984. In 1987, Genmar Industries, the country’s largest independent boat manufacturer, acquired Glastron Boats. With its international brand name recognition, Glastron became an important member of the Genmar family.
In 1989, the Glastron/Carlson 19CSS was introduced. Three other models followed: the 28CSS, the 33CSS and the 18CSS.
In 1991, Glastron relocated to a larger, more modern production facility in Little Falls, Minnesota.
Glastron launched an all-new line of SSV® runabouts in 1993, which minimized the use of wood in construction. Innovative fiberglass stringer systems and rotocast components were applauded by the industry for their durability, reduced weight and improved performance.
In 1993, Glastron added Ski & Fish models to its lineup, which quickly became the best-selling double duty boats in the industry.
In 1996, the still-popular SSV series was updated as the SE (Special Edition) series. Glastron also introduced the GS (Glastron Sport) series. Glastron commemorated its 40th anniversary with the GS 205 Anniversary Edition, a limited-production model. It received the Product Excellence award for Outstanding Runabout Performance from Powerboat magazine.
In 1997, Glastron began using multi-axial fiberglass fabric, which made its boats stronger and lighter due to the higher fiber-to-resin ratios. After a 6-year hiatus, the Glastron/Carlson high performance series is reintroduced, which included the CSX 23 sportboat and the CSX 21 bowrider. The CSX 18 was added soon after. A Glastron boat was prominently featured in the film “Weekend at Bernie’s.”
In 2000, Glastron built a limited number of GX 205 Millennia Collector’s Edition models, which included features like a pop-up changing compartment and options such as a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, an air compressor and a carry-on refrigerator.
In 2001, Glastron introduced VEC® technology, a proprietary closed-mold boat building process. A new 95,000 square foot facility was built to house the new VEC technology. The marine press quickly dubbed it, “The Plant of the Future.”
Glastron celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2006. A GXL 205 Collector's Edition is offered in a striking copper metallic color scheme and comes with special badging and a personalized placard. Over 75% of Glastron boats are built with VEC technology.
Innovation and Design
At the heart of Glastrons manufacturing operation is VEC technology, a proprietary, closed-mold fiberglass lamination process. There’s nothing else like it. VEC is highly automated, environmentally friendly and incredibly precise. Boats built with VEC are light weight, yet incredibly strong. VEC technology contributes to every Glastron owner’s sense of satisfaction by enhancing structural integrity and improving ride quality.
VEC is also environmentally-friendly manufacturing technology. Because it is a closed-mold process, styrene is forced to bond with the composite rather than escaping into the atmosphere. Styrene emissions are significantly less than with conventional fiberglass lamination.
Two Piece Construction
A one-piece molded deck, plus a one-piece molded hull with integrated stringer system, creates a stronger boat and a firm, quiet ride. This state-of-the-art fiberglass fabrication process allows us to offer transferable lifetime limited warranty on structural components for VEC-built boats.
VEC technology is completely automated. During the process, computers constantly monitor more than 500 variables, attaining a previously unattainable level of precision. Every VEC-built hull is consistent in weight and density. The fiberglass stringer system is molded right into the hull, resulting in exceptional structural integrity.
Timeless Glastron performance comes from our timeless SSV (Super Stable Vee) hull. It’s quick to plane (with minimal bowrise), stable at high speeds and tracks tight in the turns. And the combination of light weight and hydrodynamic efficiency results in another big advantage: excellent fuel economy. The best hull design in boating. Case closed.
The SSV hull features tuned strakes molded longitudinally into the hull. The result is a series of horizontal planing surfaces that create lift by deflecting spray down and away from the hull—a key reason why Glastron boats get on plane so quickly.
Under power, the SSV hull’s wide reverse chines create a “bank” of water for added lift and precise, stable turning. Boats without them have a flatter running surface that results in a more jarring ride and a tendency to slide in turns.
On most boat hulls, the chines diminish in the forward half of the hull. The SSV hull’s wide chines extend far forward, acting as sponsons when the boat is at rest. This greatly reduces rocking from side-to-side and front-to-back—and enhances overall safety.
At Glastron, they design various components of each boat on computer. CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) enables us to integrate any design change or enhancement into the overall design of the boat, automatically taking into account how that change might affect other components. Virtually every specification for components can then be stored and communicated to computer-aided manufacturing machinery.
A hull that was designed on computer comes to life as a robotic 5-axis router sculpts the models (or “plugs” as some of you know them) that allow Glastron to create master molds. Compare this method to the conventional method of making plugs from wood or clay and the benefits are immediately obvious: more precision and greatly reduced concept-to-completion time.
Glastrons Lectra® fiberglass cutter is completely computer controlled, eliminating the need for paper patterns and hand cutting. This system allows them to cut their fiberglass fabric so precisely that each piece reflects the exact dimension for its application. Glastrons wood components are also cut with this technology.
Glastrons vinyl and fabric are also computer-designed and precision-cut with a computerized Gerber® cutter. It’s a fast, accurate and extremely consistent process that allows them to create complex patterns for their interiors while minimizing waste. It also assures perfect contours, precise fit and better-looking upholstery.
The heart of the VEC® production facility is where most Glastron runabouts are manufactured. It’s the newest and most high-tech boat manufacturing operation in the world. In terms of automation and precision engineering, VEC technology takes boat building to an entirely new level.
The VEC® process is highly automated, with more than 500 variables monitored or controlled by computer. The messy and labor-intensive working conditions of conventional boat building are gone. So is the need for respirators and other protective gear required for hand-laid fiberglass lamination.
The VEC® process is a closed-mold process, producing a near – perfect fiberglass hull every time. The VEC process is also environmentally friendly. Every hull produced with VEC fiberglass lamination technology is produced with significantly less styrene emissions than conventional open-mold lamination methods.
Traditionally, fiberglass components have been hand trimmed using jigsaws and power drills. Our new manufacturing facility uses modern and extremely accurate equipment to ensure that every edge and opening is precisely trimmed. Here, a computer-driven robotic arm cuts the transom opening for a sterndrive propulsion system.
Glastron’s state-of-the-art VEC® manufacturing plant is one of, if not the newest and most high-tech boat building facilities in the world. It was engineered with highly efficient workstations similar to those found in the automotive industry’s most advanced assembly plants. At this station, a sterndrive engine is mounted in a VEC hull.