There is speculation that the prototype Red and White Express was built
for display at the 1939 World's Fair, which carried the theme "The World
of Tomorrow." What is certain is that Chris-Craft advertised the 25'
Express as " The Boat of Tomorrow" and shipped the first Red and White
Express, hull no. 51100, a single engine model to a dealer in Chicago in
November 1939. That same month, the Red and White Express was featured
on the Design Boards of Motor Boating Magazine under the headline, "A
Striking New Chris-Craft."
"Hold everything! Stop and stare! Here's the boat you've always
wanted ... a new 25-ft. Chris-Craft Express Cruiser, heavily built -
sturdily constructed, with a rakish, super-streamlined hull,
finished in bright, modern colors. It has a compact cabin forward
(with 2 berths and toilet), shatterproof windshield, modernistic
marine controls, streamlined jackstaff and stern pole, and all
that's new ... different ... exciting, Graceful as a gull ... fast
as a flash (speeds to 39 m.p.h.)"
- The Red and White Express as described in a 1940 Advertisement
The Red and White
Express, offered in single and twin engine configuration has an overall
length of 25' with an 8'-1" beam. The Expresses were constructed of
batten seamed mahogany pre-war, port orford cedar post-war, with oak
stem keel and chine. All of the hulls were finished with painted white
topsides, transom, canvas covered foredeck and cabin interior, while the
canvas covered aft decks, linoleum cockpit ceilings and floor were
finished in bright red. The upholstery was finished in red leather.
The Express featured many unique pieces of hardware and design elements
not seen prior to 1939. Some of those elements include the largest
cutwater that Chris-Craft ever produced, a massive v-shape raked
windshield with elliptical sides and smooth linoleum inner cockpit
ceilings. The Trylon building and sphere, the World's Fair trademark
are reflected in the bow light/burgee flagstaff and horn cover.
There were a total of 372 hulls built; 70 pre-war from late 1939 to 1942
and 302 post. The majority of the hulls completed in 1942 were stored
by Chris-Craft and delivered to customers in 1946.