Imperial Boats: Any Opinions

Discussion in 'Boats and Motors' started by COmmodore 64, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. I've got a line on a 1996 Imperial 200 Fisherman with only 42 hours on it, it is great shape and barely been used. I can get this boat for ~$8,000. The Imperial Boat Company is defunct as of 2001, and it is hard to get a gauge on the build quality of Imperial Boats (my google-fu has failed). I know a lot of people knock Galaxy build quality, but I see a hell of a lot of 20 year old Galaxy boats still on the water.

    This boat is intriguing to me for a couple of reasons, there are a few specific criteria we must have in this boat: Cuddy Cabin and an I/ father is buying it and he prefers I/O's...PERIOD. So please refrain from extolling to me the virtues of outboard motors (I've already tried this :p ) We've been through 3 boats in the past 3 years, each one having deal-breaking downfalls. I've summarized everything below...and I think you'll see why this Imperial seems to be our perfect choice:


    So please tell me what you guys think about Imperial boats. Also, I'd love to hear opinions on why it is virtually impossible to find a smallish (20'), and therefore easily towable and launchable, newer, fishing boat that has an I/O and a cuddy cabin. There is no shortage of Bayliner, Chapparal, Wellcraft, etc. boats...but they are either too plush, have enormous engines (skiing), open bows, and /or large wasteful (wasteful to a fisherman, at least) cabins.

    Even at boat shows when confronted with the paucity of I/O powered fishing boats with cuddy cabins, we were told that "there is no market for that type of boat". Am I being too old-fashioned in wanting an I/O and a small cuddy cabin?
  2. krustydawg

    krustydawg KrustyDawg

  3. Thanks Krusty, I have been using the first 2 sites, but the site is excellent.

    Unfortunately, if you look really hard at the criteria I established, there are only a few boats that fit the bill (that '91, 19 foot Starcraft Islander would have been perfect), and they are sold.

    I really like that '93, 22' Glasport Walkaround, but again, as I stated before, I think the max size for a glass boat for us is about 20 feet. We HAD a 21' Trophy, and it was just too heavy for the F150 to tow efficiently and too heavy for my dad to launch/handle when I am not around to fish with him.

    Again, thanks a ton for that link there are a lot of boats we would be interested in, if we decide the Imperial is not for us. Looking hard at that boat (we've looked at it 3x now), and having used several boats leading up to this, I think the Imperial is set-up exactly how we would want (basically a boat like our old '88 Larson, that is a little newer with more fishing room).

    I should add that we've also owned 20-22' older Thompson boats and we loved them (in the 80's and early 90's). Unfortunatley, the late model Thompsons constructed in the 90's were made when Thompson was in dire financial straits..and the reportedly cut corners such as not using marine grade wood. We'd liked to get something mid-90's through 2000 or so, if affordable. Again, the Imperial seems to be perfect, but I have to wonder if Imperial boats, similarly to Thompson baots, skimped on materials when they were financially failing.

    I can tell you that having looked at some newer Bayliners 1999-2001, the Imperial appears to be higher quality, the fiberglass parts of the sides are much thicker and there is more wood support. However, the owner saved all his receipts and one thing that stands out is that 2 months after he bought it (new), he had it back for of the motor mount bolts had come loose and he claimed that the rear seat cushions next to the doghouse "fell through" when sat on. Those issues were fixed under warranty back in 1996 but it still gives me pause.

    Edit: The whole weight thing may be a bad arguement. I looked up some net weights using the NADA Bluebook. Looks like this Imperial is about the same as that Trophy we had. I didn't realize that Trophy was so light.

    1996 20' Imperial 200 Fisherman: 2915 Lbs.
    2000 21' Bayliner Trophy 2002 (Boat we used to own): 3100 Lbs
    1996 19.5' Bayliner Ciera 1950: 2400 Lbs
    1996 20' Thompson Carrera: 2300 Lbs
    1996 20' Thompson 2100 Fisherman: 3400 Lbs
    1988 20' Larson DC-200 (Boat we used to own): 2550 Lbs
  4. Commodore, I have a buddy who has had nothing but
    trouble with his Imperial, from wiring to motor to trim
    problems. Nice boat looking boat, but it seems like he's
    always working on it. Not worth the headaches. Just
    my .02 cents. If your looking for a boat be patient.
    There will be alot of nice used boats for the taking this

  5. I found my VC-200 in a camper dealership here in SW ohio a year ago right now, she was in great shape if you could see through the dirt as she sat outdoors the last 2 years I was told uncovered. After a real good going over twice she was mine. After a good scrubing and lots of just checking things out i drained the engine oil for 2 days and refilled with new oil and filter, got new battery and was ready to go, with spark plugs removed from the 3.0 we hit the starter and spun the engine and got good oil pressure so plugs were installed and it started on the first crank. Problem was I was useing a garbage can filled with water to see if water pump would suck water instead of the muffs and I burned that entire impeller and the houseing up. With the help of a few websites replaceing the water pump was easy work. Got to the lake and she has run great, we love it, has never let me down, not bad for a 1987 boat.
    Why I love my Imperial,, I like the layout, 2 lounge seats and 2 jump seats either side of the motor, lots of room. The cuddy is a bit small but the way the roof opens makes it spacious, a large area just pushes forward and leaves a 2-6 foot opening, much better that just a hatch. I have launched this boat all by myself eaisly in half the time some of these other nuckle heads can launch a boat, and it tows great. Boat was orignally bought in lakeside,, the marina sticker is still on the side. Only one thing and one thing only I dislike about this boat, it has no cup holders built into it! Hope this helps, I would hesate on your deal,,,BTW I paid $1500 for her on the trailor!