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c.1958 Albatross Sports Runabout MkIII

Sold for £3,220 inc. premiumLot to be sold without reserve
Lot 589
c.1958 Albatross Sports Runabout MkIII

c.1958 Albatross Sports Runabout MkIII

Hull no. 667
Length. 12ft 9ins


Albatross Marine Ltd was founded in 1949 by Archie Peace, an aircraft engineer formerly with the Bristol Aeroplane Company, at St Olaves, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk where he was soon joined by business partners Peter Hives and Bruce Campbell. All three men shared a common background in aircraft engineering and set about applying their skills to the manufacture of marine craft, making use of the plentiful supplies of aluminium alloy left over from the war effort. To get the ball rolling, three racing hydroplanes were constructed to publicise the fledgling firm and help generate the investment required.

By the start of 1951 the company was ready to introduce the prototype of its first product, the Albatross Sports Runabout, which was unveiled to the boating press at Ruislip Lido in Middlesex, home of the Ruislip Water Ski Club, in March of that year. A three-seater craft of 12' 9" in length, the first Albatross was powered by a marinised version of Ford's 1,172cc four-cylinder 100E sidevalve engine and had a maximum speed of 34mph, making it ideal for water skiing. Indeed, the Ruislip club was one of the first customers for the production version, which was designated Albatross MkII.

Introduced in May 1956, the successor MkIII model retained the MkII's riveted aluminium, stepless planing hull with only minor changes, but was fitted with an improved and more powerful version of the ubiquitous Ford sidevalve engine.
Towing it behind a Bentley MkVI, The Motor magazine had an Albatross on test in 1955 ('The Flying Boat', 8th June edition) finding it 'a ready starter and at all times delightfully easy to handle. The acceleration to maximum speed is of sports-car order and the waterproof leather upholstery and toughened glass vee screen add greatly to the general comfort. The Albatross at £550 is not a cheap boat, but in view of the extremely high standard of workmanship and outstandingly stable design there will be many who will consider so useful a craft a very sound investment.' Albatross Runabout owners included HRH Prince Philip, Stirling Moss, Bridget Bardot, Jon Pertwee, George Formby and Prince Rainier of Monaco, who owned six of them.

This Albatross MkIII is one of 607 of its type produced between 1956 and 1959. A 1,600cc Ford Cortina GT cross-flow engine has been fitted to the craft, which is described as an older restoration in need of further re-commissioning before returning to the water.

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