Is this 1999 Fountain Lightning 42′ US1 edition Hull a bargain at $3000?
First up, yesterday’s 1996 Four Winns 278 Vista was voted a bargain by over 88% of you! That win comes with an asterisk, as this bargain was labeled a scam by several Facebook commenters. The price strangely dropped to $7000 last night, I’m wondering if one of you contacted him and the true story was given? To me it looked like a real listing that was missing some critical info, like its “$8000 and great condition, but both drives are toast”. If you talked to the owner and can shed some light on this one we’d love to hear! For now its voted a bargain*
Today we have a major restoration project, we’ll let you decide if its a good deal. The boat in question today is a 1999 Fountain Lightning US1 edition and it is just the hull.
A dirty hull with no interior. Drives, but no props. What you’re buying here is a project, a big one. Get triple 525sc engines in there and repair or replace the drives, new interior, fiberglass work, and finish work…oh probably full electronics too!
The cheapest working and clean Fountain Lightning US1 I could compare with was $48,500 . Is $3000 a good deal for someone looking for a classic Fountain project? Vote below to let us know what you think!
When you’re done voting scroll down if you’d like to hear the story of the Fountain Lightning!
The Fountain 35 Lightning is a speed boat for the ages. It was introduced in 1979, just one year after Reggie Fountain created Fountain Powerboats, and it continues to be built today, serving today as the builder’s smallest sport boat design (now in a four-model line that goes up to 47 feet length overall).
But let’s talk about the speed first, because even on older versions, it’s impressive. Fountain advertises the current version of the 35 Lightning, powered by twin staggered Mercury 525 EFIs, as producing a cruising speed of 60 MPH and a top speed of more than 100 MPH. Previous incarnations with MerCruiser and Mercury Racing engines produced top sea trial speeds from 83 to 106 MPH, based on reports from 2001-07.
“In our world, you have novice people and then people who have decided to move into faster stuff,” says Jason Taylor, a sales broker with Performance Boat Center in Osage Beach, Missouri. “The 35 comes either way. You can get it with MerCruiser motors and be milder and tamer, or you can get it with Mercury Racing engines and go over 100 MPH.”
The way the Fountain 35 Lightning attains those speeds is noteworthy, too. One test boat got from 40 to 70 MPH in less than seven seconds, and as that reviewer noted, “You won’t find many V-bottoms this size that feel so stable at that speed.” Another reviewer had a test boat “acing slalom passes” at 60 knots. Most reviewers reported getting on plane in three to five seconds.
Suffice it to say the Fountain 35 Lightning will get you to lots of anchorages, fast—and for comfort’s sake along the way, it’s worth mentioning that her cockpit size is the same as that in her bigger sisterships, the Fountain 38 and 42. When you’re ready to retire belowdecks, the Fountain 35 Lightning has a cabin with a V-berth, galley, head, hanging locker and lounges. Most people find the space big enough to be comfortable for a night or two on the hook or in a marina.
Another reason boaters continue to gravitate toward the Fountain 35 Lightning, Taylor says, is that she hits a sweet spot on size. Essentially, she offers big-boat fun in a towable package.
“We’re a larger lake, Lake Ozark, so it can be rather rough here,” Taylor says. “The 35 does good in rough water. And also, for people who can’t afford places here, it’s a very towable boat and you can use it on smaller lakes.”
Generally speaking, a dozen or two Fountain 35 Lightning boats tend to be on the brokerage market at any given time, he says. Taylor is currently offering a 2001 model at an asking price of $84,950, which is right around average for 35 Lightnings on the market today.
“This one is a baby step above entry-level,” Taylor says, focusing on the power plants. “It has Mercury 500 EFIs. They’re the beginning part of the Mercury racing motors. In 2001, they didn’t have the 525s yet, so this would’ve been a hard-loaded boat when it was brand-new. It’s got the two steps, which was new for the year in the hull design. So it probably would’ve been the fastest, best-handling boat of its time in 2001.”
“Let me put it this way,” he adds. “If you were sitting in the St. Louis boat show in 2001, you’d have a guy walk up and say, ‘I don’t want the craziest boat. I just want something cool.’ Then you’d have the guy who wanted all the features and be able to be next to his buddy and go faster than he does—that’s who would have bought this boat.”
Some of the most important things buyers should look for with Fountain 35 Lightning speed boats on the brokerage market, Taylor says, are engine configuration, hours and maintenance.
“If you’re talking about Mercury power, as opposed to Mercury Racing, there’s no issue with engine hours,” he says. “They’re kind of like landscaping on a house. One will sell a little quicker if it’s better than on another house. With Mercury Racing motors, though, after a certain amount of time, they require some maintenance. That’s the price you pay to have the extra horsepower. After 300 or 400 hours on an EFI, it’s important to have some maintenance done on the motors and make sure that the heads are in good shape.”
A Fountain 35 Lightning with higher engine hours isn’t necessarily a bad deal, he adds, including the one he’s offering, which has 615 hours listed.