76 MPH boat tested Donzi Marine w/Mercury Marine

Donzi Marine high performance boat image photo

This Donzi 22' is running free on very little hull and trim tab surfaces

Donzi Marine power boats has made go-fast runabouts since its founding by Don Arronow. He was a building contractor that made some money and “retired” from the North East to south Florida at the early age of 32. Don, “The King of Thunderboat Row” got restless and started boat building and racing boats first built by others but quickly decided to build his own brand of high-performance boats and add to his boats allure by winning races all over the world.

In 1964 he made the 16’ that became the Sweet 16 footer. Arronow sold Donzi Marine power boats in May of 1965. He did stay involved with the company even after he no longer owned it. In 1966 Donzi brought to the marine marketplace their 18’ hull. Then in 1967, they brought out a 14’ with multiple deck designs. They even made a few examples of a 10’ Donzi dingy and a 24’ Donzi Spitfire model along the way to the late 1970s.

It was in 1978 that they made a 22 foot performance boat; first as a Criterion model name that offered three different decks. One was a long fore deck – single bench seat – full width windscreen model, another was a bow rider with a walk-thru to the bow seats, and the last with a no-walk-thru to a separate forward cockpit with a two person rumble seat inside it. These did not sell as well as the company thought they should, so they made a new model in 1981 using the existing hull with a far more traditional single larger cockpit. That boat was called the Classic 22’. It is this model that seabuddy is discussing in this post.

Get a boat with a 454, 496, or 502 engine. They only weight about 160 lbs. more than a small block package and have way more punch. Get an engine with the cam that makes less power at 3,000 rpms but more power over 4,000 rpms. These engines are rated to be propped in the 4,600 – 5,000 rpms and can benefit (in a fast boat like a Donzi 22 Classic) to run wide open even at even higher rpms. If yours is strong enough to turn a 27” propeller up to 5,200 – 5,250 rpms, you have a boat capable of being GPS verified as a 76 – 79 mph Hi-Po boat.

These photos are from Donzi. Note, Don Arronow also made Formula, U. S. A. Racing Team, Squadron XII, Magnum, Cigarette, and at least the mold for the original 41’ Apache offshore racer power boats. Don Arronow was shot dead on Northeast 188th street in Miami, FL when he was 59.

Donzi Marine 22 foot lake, ocean, and bay power boat photo image

Here the trim tabs hold more of the hull in the water

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