Cigarette boats, also known as go-fast boats, may have been all the rage 20’s and 30’s, although their controversial history has led them to be a prized item for many a boat collector in recent years.

We break down the history of the cigarette boat, and why they still prove popular almost 100 years on.

Why is a cigarette boat called a cigarette boat?

While its name would suggest it has links to the rise in cigarette distribution following the First World War, the boat actually gets its name from another popular vice at the time – alcohol.

During the ’20s and ’30s, when prohibition in the USA forced the production and distribution of alcohol to be illegal, many Americans found ways to get their hands on the goods despite the ban, with one such way being through the use of cigarette boats.

Dubbed, ‘rum-runners’, cigarette boats were used to transport illegal shipments of alcohol from large ships located just off of the mainland for transportation back into the country undetected.

How fast does a cigarette boat go?

Due to typically being able to reach a max speed of 92mph, cigarette boats were the boat of choice when it came to smuggling alcohol. Their sleek “v” style design, accompanied by two engines, allowed them to easily outpace other popular boats at the time, including most importantly, the boats used by the United States Coast Guard at the time.

Who made the first cigarette boat?

The first cigarette boat was made by David Aronow back in 1969 under the code name ‘Cary’ due to officially be allowed to build boats at the time due to his non-compete clause at the time.

Naming the boat ‘The Cigarette’, David Aronow took it around the world, winning numerous competitions, including two World Championships, as well as the United States Championship three times in a row.

Once Aronow’s non-compete clause expired, he opened his own company focused on the design of the cigarette boat, as well as starting the Cigarette Racing Team in 1970.

Do they still make cigarette boats?

While David Aronow sold his company in 1982, the company is still going strong today, although the production of new cigarette boats has nearly all but stopped, if you’re looking to get your hands on one, your best bet is to look online for someone looking to part with theirs.

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