1987 GILFLITE SPITFIRE II
Story by Adam Pearsall
Hey there fellow GILFLITE enthusiasts!
My story starts back in 1987 (the year I was born) Michael Deanshaw (a great friend of Mum, Dad and myself) purchased the gilly as a stage ll from Peter Webb at Performance Marine. As a stage two you received hull, engine hatch, interior fitted, gauges (supply only) and a marinising kit for future engine.
Michael being a mechanic sourced a Holden Statesman with a healthy 308! With the help of Ross Pearsall (dad) The 308 was removed from the Statesman and would become the heart of the gilly but before the new heart was fitted it would be sent from Albury down to Barry Myers in Shepparton to be machined. New crank, rods, pistons all blueprinted and balanced once back home it was topped with a nice cranky camshaft, fresh heads and a quadrajet carby…….resulting in a beautiful engine with plenty of grunt for slalom and barefoot waterskiing
Engine was then fitted with soft clutch and electric/starter motor reverse which would make the gilly so user friendly! Check out the electric reverse setup in the pics, incredible compact design as it all fits under the floor meaning no extra box to accommodate a gearbox at the rear of the engine box taking up room in an already small interior.
With the running gear in, gauges and interior fitted all the gilly required was a trailer to be manufactured, this is where Micks Dad Jim stepped in, Jim being a welder by trade and with Micks attention to detail a nice tandem trailer was created to slot under the gilly. Jim did a fantastic job as the same trailer carries the gilly today! Apart from the addition in the last 24 months of a winch, guide poles and a fresh coat of paint the trailer hasn’t been touched in 36 years!!
Gilly was now ready to hit the water…….wow what a boat! It created so many family/childhood memories for Mick, Mum, Dad, me, my brother and sister down the Mighty Murray River in Albury! We all learnt to ski behind it, my brother and I also learnt to barefoot behind it (a childhood highlight of mine)
Unfortunately in 2007 we decided it was time to purchase a larger boat and we sold the gilly to a lovely fella by the name of Ian Bond, turns out we picked a great home for the gilly to go too, Ian is just as fussy as we were and really looked after it Bondy made some great improvements while she was in his possession fitting a Bimini and high pole.
….………fast forward 13 years and Mick, Ross (dad) and I and having a few around the and I say “how good would it be to find the gilly and buy it back”! Both dad and Mick agreed that it was a great idea Mick; “you find it and I’ll buy it back” turns out I didn’t need to look far as Bondy still had it tucked in the shed.
Bondy wasn’t keen to let her go as he was attached to her as much as we were 13 years prior. Once he knew she was coming back home he was okay to let her go
As you could imagine we were all very excited to have the gilly back in our possession!
After Mick and Dad doing all the original build works it was time for me to play my part
So I got straight to work, with the help of David Gill I managed to source original spec interior (vinyl, velour, carpet) materials to bring her back to the condition it left Performance Marine in 1987
I manufactured new side ski pockets incorporating speakers, 12v and usb sockets! With the help of a good mate Jake at Focus Marine & Fibreglass we modified the front of the engine box to accommodate for the centre mount boom/training bar.
Once I finish interior, Mick modified trailer to accommodate winch, guide pole and a fresh coat of paint.
At this point the boat was done! And looking amazing I might add!!
To top this story off last year my 5 year old son skied and barefooted for the first time and my 2 year old daughter for the first time on the ezy ski behind the gilly!!! The boat I learnt to ski behind this made it all worthwhile.
If you have read this far……thankyou and you are probably due for another
Well done to GILFLITE BOATS for manufacturing such a great product!