America's boating craze was going strong in the mid 1950's. It seemed that everywhere you looked individuals or businesses were jumping on the boat building bandwagon. Hundreds of fly by night boat companies came and went with only a handful lasting more than a year or two.
In 1957 two Arkansas businessmen, James Cripps and Harry Brown, decided to jump on that bandwagon and give it their all. At that time James was employed with Cutter boats in Tell City, Indiana working in the molds and production part of the company. James purchased a new Cutter Jet DeVille and brother-in-law Harry picked it up and brought it home to Little Rock. Shortly after, James quit Cutter and moved back to Arkansas. Starting with little more than a single stall garage and a dream, the brother-in-law duo splashed a mold from the Jet DeVille and the Razorback Fiberglass Corporation was born. The first boat was introduced in early spring of 1958, and dubbed the "Deluxe", but was renamed "Ski Jet just a short time later. It's sleek design and sweeping fins were an instant success. Immediately there after a fin-less model called the "All Purpose Utility" was built and was equally successful.
Originally based at 1621 1/2 South Woodrow Street in Little Rock, the company continued to grow and was purchased in 1959 by Arkla Industries. (Arkansas-Louisiana Gas) The company then relocated approximately 40 miles south to Malvern, Arkansas. There, on US Hwy 270, they built a new, modern manufacturing facility complete with it's own test lake and show room.
Under Arkla's control many different models and styles followed. Ski Jet, Ski Master, Ski Rambler, Ski Champ, Ski Cruiser, Lake Fisher, and Mallard were among the first models, with the sporty Fury & luxurious Explorer cabin cruiser coming into the lineup in '64. 1966 saw several tri hull and fishing designs, with names such as Angler, Sportsman, Imperial, Ranger, Medalist, & Challenger. The Ranger was offered in both outboard and i/o models, while the Imperial was offered only as an i/o model.
Eventually the company was purchased by Ouachita Boats, sometime around 1968. The Malvern facility, although no longer boat related, is still in use today as a dock leveling company. The original storage racks where Razorback boats were once stored are still visible from the highway. If you look close enough you can almost see the rows of colorful new Razorbacks waiting patiently to be transported to their new owners.
Another 1961 Brochure (some pages missing)
1964 Flyer & Price List
1966 Flyers & Price List
Razorback Boats Still In Use