President Lyndon B. Johnson's

1965 Glastron V-204 Gulfstream...continued

 

Above is from LBJ Library archive film #HM30 "LBJ Ranch, Spring 1965"

Details are still being worked out on what happened after LBJ's early '60s boats were lost in the flood, but it can be seen in films from the LBJ library that Lyndon was later driving a 1964 Glastron V-194. I have taken statements from a longtime Glastron Production manager, Jerry Wilhoit, regarding the 1964 Glastron as well as the 1965 V-204 Gulfstream. Jerry states that he clearly remembers a lot about these two boats, mostly because Secret Service agents were always involved. Mr. Wilhoit recounts that the 1964 boat had the Mercruiser II 225 horsepower inboard/outboard and that he was assigned to do the tune ups on it at a shop where he also worked as a mechanic. What was incredible was that when LBJís people brought the boat in there were 2 secret service agents assigned to sit in the boat the entire time it was being worked on and Jerry was the only one allowed to work on it.

In just a year a new and exciting motor option was being offered by Mercruiser, the 310 horsepower Mercruiser II 310 with the legendary 409 Chevrolet big block motor. LBJ loved outrunning the smaller Secret Service boats trying to keep up with him, so he just had to have a Glastron with one of these new powerful motors and it was available in the 1965 Glastron V-204 Gulfstream. Glastron founders Bob Hammond and Bill Gaston were contacted and, as before, a purchase was arranged through Earl Deathe Jr., who managed many of LBJís legal affairs and purchases. Registrations on many of LBJís cars and boats were put in Mr. Deatheís name for obvious security precautions. Bob, Bill and Jerry were also excited about the new high powered motor option from Mercruiser and LBJís V-204 would be the first in line to receive it. Bob Hammond, recounts that a V-204 was pulled off the line and special modifications were begun on it, including a special hull bottom and floor with extra layers of fiberglass. Bob states that the interior of the boat was not standard either. Different side panels were installed and a fixed 5 foot removable lounge is also with the boat.  Bob delivered the boat to LBJ around June 13, 1965 complete with a commemorative plaque by the stern throttle that reads: ďCustom Built for President Lyndon Johnson by Glastron Boat CompanyĒ.

Above is a picture from the day Bob Hammond (in sunglasses & cap behind LBJ) presented LBJ with his new 1965 V-204 Gulfstream.

Bob spent the majority of the day with LBJ on the boat orienting him with the controls and other features, and also as his guest. Bob remembers a little trouble they had when they got into a shallow part of the river and the boat got grounded. The two Secret Service agents that were along had to go into the waist deep water and push the boat to deeper water.   At this time the Johnsons had a 26 foot Pearson cruiser (images and film of Pearson available from LBJ library and one image from Time Life (Go to: http://www.timelifepictures.com/source/search/product.aspx?p=9&e=0&pg=1&am=-1 and then enter Image # 50317002  ) that sat anchored while LBJ picked up riders from it and took them for rides and to water ski. On the side of the boat is clearly seen the cardboard dealerís registration tag still taped to the side of the boat. Guests seen on the boat include the longest serving Supreme Court Justice, William O. Douglas. Also seen is supreme court justice Abe Fortas, LBJ aide and longtime director of the Motion Picture Association, Jack Valenti, Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall and others. And, of course, Lady Bird, who also took great pleasure resting atop the still cruiser and swimming. Obviously, the Johnsons used the boat for getaways and relaxation; so every outing was not with photographers around. But the outings with photographers are of course well documented in the LBJ library http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu Dates of available images are: June 13-15, 1965, October 24, 1965, and April 13, 1968. And Time/Life photographers captured some images on the October 24, 1965 date which are available from their website: http://www.timelifepictures.com/source/search/product.aspx?p=9&e=0&pg=1&am=-1?p=9&e=0&pg=1&am=-1 Enter the following image numbers into the search box and you will see the four archived images from October 1965: #50417185, #50417186, #50417189, and #50417187 .

 

This picture is from a series taken on April 13, 1968. The broken 1965 plastic side emblems have been replaced with late '60s emblems.

 

 

Photo at left is blowup of November 24, 1965 picture (with photographers at dock) and the emblem is broken even before the the boat's paper dealer tag is removed. Middle photo is for reference of what a complete 1965 emblem looks like. Photo at right shows what late '60s emblems look like.

The all original 409 motor is having crack repair done.

Page 3
 
See LBJ's Glastron on display at the Glastron 50th Anniversary Dealer's Convention