c1960 Albatros Speedboat 'Papillon'

Restored and nicely repainted two-seater; join the jet-set; smart trailer included; Monaco here we come!

Albatross Marine started from not-so-humble beginnings. The Honourable Peter Hives, son of Rolls-Royce Chairman Lord Hives, formed a friendship with Archie Peace during his wartime service in North America.

Upon their return to the UK, they decided to have a go at boat building. Peace, an accomplished stress engineer, together with Hives designed and built several mono-hull hydroplanes which were effective at racing if not as a commercial proposition.

Setting up in a small boathouse in St Olaves near Great Yarmouth, Peace soon came up with a fresh design for a small two-seater sports boat called the Runabout. Powered by a Ford 10hp engine, it had a classically elegant aluminium hull and showed great promise as a fun boat capable of pulling a water skier.

A moderate commercial success, it was not long before the MkII arrived with more power - twin carburettors and an Aquaplane head pushing output to 35bhp and giving a 34mph top speed. The real key though was the increase in actual thrust through the water, a string of options following shortly which included Coventry-Climax engines of over 70bhp, turning the small 12’9” boat into a real performance machine.

By 1952, the Albatross had caught the attention of wealthy playboy Bruce Campbell. The owner of a steel-hulled 100ft luxury yacht, he brought a much-needed dose of salesmanship to the party. Using his yacht to travel extensively in the South of France, he would take an Albatross and buzz the super-rich in their yachts, not giving up until they insisted on having an Albatross for themselves.

It worked a treat. Everyone wanted one, including Brigitte Bardot, Aristotle Onassis, Prince Rainier of Monaco (who had six!), Grace Kelly, George Formby and the Prince of Greece to mention but a few. There is a lovely photo of Prince Philip and Prince Charles in theirs – and who knows,  it could be this very boat – who knows?

Production soared and when British Rail built a siding next to the boatyard to load boats for export, Hives, Peace and Campbell knew the business had truly arrived.

New designs followed, including some much larger craft, but sadly Peace became ill and as a consequence the business fell into decline, although for most of the 1950s and early ‘60s, Albatross were the leading manufacturer of sports boats in the United Kingdom.

The high volume of production, aluminium construction and small dimensions have meant that there has been a good survival rate. Of late, Albatross Marine has been resurrected to support these characterful craft, supplying spare parts and advice, as well as helping to promote the active use of these elegant and fun boats.

Acquired by the vendor a few years ago, this lovely example has escaped the rigors of aluminium corrosion remarkably well and has just been professionally painted in correct boat paint. The boat number is shown on the engine lid hinges, listing it as number 360 and it comes with a very sound trailer including lights and cable.

The boat also comes with a selection of unfitted parts, including the propshaft and various gland fittings etc, as well as the throttle pedal and various fixings. The obvious missing element is the engine, the vendor having been unsure which way to go and not having a Coventry Climax engine hiding in his cupboard.

So, it’s a bit of a blank canvas as far as that goes, but what potential it offers. Stunning to look at and in very sound order, it now needs the final push to completion – we know which way we would go!!

With a thriving club interest in these fast and fun sports boats, it won’t be long before the annual pilgrimage to Monaco starts again post-Covid so there would be time to get it sorted for some glitz and glamour zipping among the Super Yachts.

For more information – contact [email protected]

Chassis Number: 360

Estimate: £4,250+

Lot 39

Lot ended

Monday 17/05/2021

Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)

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