Moonfleet – a very rare and beautiful boat built in Glamorgan, Wales in the 1950’s. Powered by a straight 6 Ford Zephyr marinised engine. This boat has been beautifully restored by Ian and he has supplied the history below
Moonfleet boats were made in the old Penarth Dock near Cardiff in Wales. They started production in the late 1950’s ending in 1971. Several models were made using various marinised engines from popular family cars. At the time they were mainly Ford with the exception of a Sunbeam Alpine engine used in one of the models produced.
There were basically four hull designs:
White Satin – with a 13′ 6″ hull (entry level model), powered by a marinised Ford Cortina GT (presumably a 1500cc) developing 84bhp and top speed of 45mph and priced at £895.00
Aquila – which was produced around 1964 and had a slightly longer hull of 15′ 6″. This model used one of two engine options, one being a Ford Zodiac straight 6 developing 110bhp and quoted as top speed (of a very optimistic in the 1960’s) of 50mph. The Aquila model was available with the option of a Raymond Mays conversion, not for long unfortunately because the conversion was worth more than the boat and much sought after.
Silver Shadow – the flagship, which was basically the same length hull as the Aquila (15’ 6”) but without the iconic fins on the rear quarters. This boat was equipped with the later Zodiac Mk 4 – 3litre V6 with an acclaimed speed of 55mph.
Avenger – which was rare, based on the Silver Shadow but fitted with a sliding and detachable hard top.
Most of the boats produced were exported overseas, such as Spain the Mediterranean in general, plus other warm countries.
Moonfleet Marine Mouldings, as they were officially known, met with a sad end as the Docks in Penarth were privatised and the new owner slammed the factory units with a colossal rent increase of over 100%. Many units closed, but Moonfleet Marine relocated to nearby Barry, but sadly after a short time the company collapsed and none of the records or archives of Moonfleet Marine were ever recovered.
The manager of Moonfleet boats, Eddie Taylor after the liquidation of the company went to work for Winner boats nearby in the same town, but the Winner Factory burned down with a devastating fire that destroyed the building and the business. Eddie was well known in the area for his boating business, sadly he passed away in about 2015.
Moonfleet had a showroom in Broadway, London, but ironically, the steering wheel centre emblem had ‘Moonfleet – England’ written on it even though they were designed and produced in Wales.