Chris Uzzolina's ongoing restoration of a 23-foot 1986 Chaparral Villain sportboat has moved to the drive installation and rigging stage. A BMW mechanic and longtime powerboat owner who lives in Charlotte, N.C., Uzzolina started the project in March 2013 (read the story) and had hoped to finish it in two months. Despite a number of delays and setbacks beyond his control—to stay on the water he had to buy a "play" boat for the 2013 boating season—the recently engaged Uzzolina continues to chip away at the project and is looking forward to its completion.

Uzzolna used an empty upper and lower unit to set the height for real drives on his sportboat project.Uzzolna used an empty upper and lower unit to set the height for real drive on his sportboat project.

"It's taken a while to get to this point and I have to say I lost hope a couple times, but seeing that hole get cut in the transom for the drive put light at the end of the tunnel for me," he said. "I'd love to be done by May, and the way we are moving now I don't see why we couldn't be testing by then."

Uzzolina used an empty Bravo drive upper unit and an empty IMCO lower unit as mock-up parts to establish drive height and placement. Sometime next week, the boat's real drive—a Bravo XR upper with SportMaster "shorty" lower unit will be installed on a 12-inch IMCO stand-off box. The boat also will be equipped with fully hydraulic IMCO steering.

While Uzzolina's early goal was for his post-restoration 23-footer to reach mph 100, he said that he has scaled back his expectations.

"Realistically, I think it will be a strong high-80-mph boat," he said. "I would love to see it run up to 90, but I think it will probably top in 88- to 89-mph range.

"The next step will be setting the motor mounts, which I am having custom made, and installing the engine," he continued. "Then we'll move on to the final wiring and interior installation."

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