designs, with individual blueprints that may have seen a production
of only 10 or 20 boats. One such design during this heyday was the
In 1958 Ervin Kiersey and two partners created a company in
Hillsdale, Michigan, they called the Marlin Marine Division of the
Thirteen Corporation. The name was no accident. They designed it
to sound large and successful. In reality the Marlin Marine Division
consisted of three guys making boats in a rented former school building. They named their first model made of fiberglass Glass Slipper,
thinking it resembled the infamous shoe Cinderella left at the dance.
There were two Glass Slipper designs, one for 1958, the most
common, and one for 1959. These were fabulous boats, with fake jet
air intakes, fake jet exhausts, tail fins, headlights (two on the 1958,
four on the 1959!), and numerous automotive features, including bucket seats, T-Bird style dashboards, Oldsmobile-esque front
“fender” trims, and on and on.
Boat literature from the
time, plus a
1957, celebrates the
and cars rare
enough to be desirable, but just
to be available.
I was delighted to make contact with Ervin through the Internet,
and hear his estimate that they’d made “maybe 20 boats in total.”
About eight 1958s have been found, and just two 1959s. Imagine my
thrill, then, when I learned that the original molds for the ‘ 59 Glass
Slipper were “out beside the barn.” I immediately left work and traveled 300 miles to purchase them. The molds have now been lovingly
restored and used to build three more Glass Slippers, so at least one
of these rare designs will be around for another few decades.
I first started looking for boats like these in 1990, and have never
tired of the chase. Their unique and outrageous styling drew me into
a hobby where the constant discovery of new, unheard-of designs,
keeps my interest and makes me smile. You never know what’s
around the next corner.
Kevin “Fin” Mueller, a jeweler from Rockton, Illinois, is a collector who
owns 35 boats. See more at www.boatsinthebelfry.com