Say what you will about the state of the US these days, they do make some good lookin' boats. The trouble is, despite their recent avant-garde political stylings, the Aussie dollar remains relatively sluggish, making American-made boats hard to justify at the price.
Enter the Stejcraft SS55 SD, a US-style bow rider built to high-end specifications right here in Australia. Stejcraft CEO Tim Catanese explains, “It’s the only thing like it being built in Australia at the moment, and there’s definitely a market for them. This is a high-end boat that’s still value for money.”
It might sound like a shallow promise — an aesthetic that lacks the true spirit of an American motorboat — but Tim's got the resume to back it up, having spent two years in the US learning the tricks of their manufacturing trade.
To keep that clean, streamlined silhouette as pure as possible, the SS55 is powered by a stern drive configuration, and a MerCruiser 4.5L V6 provides more power than a supersized bucket of high-fructose corn syrup. The engine weighs in at just 345kg, yet is capable of a very respectable 200hp, providing an exceptional power-to-weight ratio that manifests in punchy acceleration with as many as seven people aboard. And if you feel the need for a bit more grunt, there's an option to upgrade to a 250hp model so you can drive it like you've got free healthcare (another point to Australia). One more obvious benefit of this design is the abundant aft area that provides a surprising amount of swim-deck space in a neat three-tiered layout.
A great feature of locally manufactured boats is that they're optimised for Australian conditions and lifestyles. Unlike its US-made muses, which have reasonably flat hulls, the SS55 has a more shapely bottom to enable river runs and coastal cruises.
To help owners get the most out of this tidy little package, Stejcraft have laced it with deluxe bucket seats, premium upholstery and trim, Bluetooth stereo, ski tow-point, plenty of dramatic lighting, cup holders and enough Oceangrip Flooring for a boat twice its size.
Priced at a fraction under $60k it's a realistic option for boaties around the country, and also a good starting point for export to the US. The look on their faces when you tell them it's Australian made — priceless.
Stejcraft SS55 SD
LENGTH OVERALL 6.10m (20')
BEAM 2.35m (7'8”)
DRAFT 0.40m (1'4”)
ENGINE/SAIL AREA MerCruiser 4.5L V6