Friday, July 9, 2010
Jazz & Reflexx / Unlimited 17 & 19
A lot of people have been visiting this site lately, obviously looking for more information on four particularly rare boats built only in the 1993-98 era. The Jazz and Reflexx mini-jet boats were built by Bayliner during this period, and Four Winns produced the Unlimited speedboat in 17 and 19-foot lengths in 1996 and '97. All four of these models have always been some of my favorite boats, and you will not find any more extensive coverage of these rare models than in Ker-Splash 2: The High Performance Powerboat Book. In fact, they were singled out for attention simply because so little has ever been written about them.
Bayliner introduced its open-bow Jazz as a very simple, bare-bones sort of jet boat in 1993. The Jazz is the only one of these four boats that was produced during the entire period from '93 through '98. Its companion closed-bow model was built only in 1994 and '95. I assume that some Reflexxes were powered by the 120-horsepower four-cylinder in '95, but I have never seen one. The Jazz model began with the 90-hp Triple and the Four became standard in 1995, even as the Reflexx continued with the smaller engine. An all new hull and interior was introduced in the 1996 Jazz and the new V-6 became standard the following year.
For a brief period in the mid-Nineties, the same parent company owned both Four Winns and Donzi. The decision was made to offer a Four Winns version of the Donzi Classics. There were many similarities and differences between the Classics and the Four Winns Unlimiteds. None of the same hull sizes were duplicated, and the Classics were more expensive, while at the same time more traditionally dated in their styling and features, however all these models were very similarly shaped, designed, and powered speedboats. The Donzis have of course been continually produced for decades, but the Unlimiteds were built for only two precious years. Coincidental to the decision made by Ford to step out of the marine engine market after the 1996 model year, the first-year Unlimiteds were powered by Fords and the second year by Chevrolets. Since Four Winns employed Volvo Penta drives on all Unlimiteds, the models equipped with the Duo-prop option became particularly rare and interesting.
To read a lot more about the Unlimteds and the Bayliner jet models, as well as extensive details about all the brands and models of mini-jets built back in their exciting heyday of The Nineties, get a copy of Ker-Splash 2: The High Performance Powerboat Book. It is available at Amazon, B&N, and other online sources in both print and Kindle versions. The print version offers all the photos in their original sizes and print quality levels. The Kindle version has a few minor typos removed and a tiny number of informational changes made available in the short time frame between the release of the two versions.