James and Lawton Osler 



The Operations Manager of Parry Automotive, which is rebuilding the Buchanan Meteor, mentioned the 6-cylinder was a big engine for the Achieva II, a 16’ boat. That remark didn’t discourage the owner, but did it prepare him for the five-month job?

As you might remember, the Achieva II was featured in 2010 summer issue of Classicboat. She was recovered from a boat house full of engineless hulks on Tobin Island in the summer of 2001. This particular hull was a Delcraft boat built as an outboard in 1953 and was converted to an inboard. Ironically the first Achieva was an outboard as well!

The new owner picked this hull as it was small enough for him to tow it across Lake Rosseau. The dried up hull sank three times on the way to its new Boat House (an 80-year-old sail boat house) and was left sitting on the bottom as he decided what to do.11

The original inboard engine (a four-cylinder Scripps) was installed and the Achieva II had nine great years boating on the Muskoka lakes. The problem was that 20 mph was not fast enough!

50A Buchanan Meteor was rescued from a 20’ grey boat (Greavette) resting in a back yard in Beaumaris two summers ago and will be that big engine for a small boat. The question now was how to improve the structure of a 16’ boat originally built for an outboard motor to hold a 6-cylinder (120hp) Buchanan.

The original project was to remove the bottom planks which were ½” [half-inch] thick, full frames, half frames and knees ¾” [three-quarter inch] thick. The new frames were replaced with 7/8” [seven-eighths inch] white oak. The bottom was replaced with a heavy 5/8” [five eighths inch] eastern white cedar.

The original starboard cover board had lifted at the bow because it was attached with iron screws. As you can imagine, the mahogany and oak were completely rotten where they were in contact with these fasteners from another era (1953). Apparently replacing a six inch wide cover board the length of the boat was not in the three-month plan! The really irritating part was when the port cover board was removed, it was attached with brass screws!

The 60 year old Buchanan Meteor was a Virgin!

Jeff Titshall, the Operations Manager at Parry Automotive, remarked that when they started working on the rusted Meteor, they knew it was a virgin. This is ‘shop talk ‘for an engine that has never been taken apart. The Buchanan received all new internal parts. Some of the work included new cylinder sleeves, new bearings, valves and valve springs. Valve seats were hardened as a measure to protect the engine from non-leaded fuel without the use of additives. Camshaft and lifters were reconditioned and refaced, exhaust manifold was pressure tested and new stainless steel plate inserted to help protect. All parts were hot tanked, dipped, media blasted, and cleaned before painting or polishing.

38While the Meteor was being rebuilt and the bottom reinforced to handle the big engine for a little boat the engine compartment had to be enlarged so the 28Meteor would fit. The framing for the old engine compartment had to be replaced as well as the mahogany planking. Fortunately they were able to re-use the hatches. By the time you are reading this we will know if the rebuilt Meteor will actually fit!

Once the major wood work was completed the steering was the next item to be dealt with. The tiny Scripps allowed for the Achieva II to have cable steering. However, because the horsepower was to be doubled, mechanical steering had to be installed. Because the Buchannan Meteor took up the entire engine compartment, the steering had to be rerouted two times to make it from the bow to the stern.

The fun stuff! A 16’ hot rod with a potential top speed of 45mph needed a steering wheel that would fit its image. A steering wheel was found that belonged to a boat from the ‘50s which will complete the new Achieva II’s sporty look.

Please keep an eye out for the Achieva II at this year’s Boat Show in Gravenhurst and check out the big engine for a small boat.