Editor’s note: Offbeat stories and those that recall aspects of pop culture tend to get a lot of traffic from Trade Only Today readers. Our story about the Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV that Don Johnson helmed in the television show Miami Vice was one of our top stories of 2019, with 10,316 page views.
Fans of the hit television program Miami Vice can own one of the stars of the show, the Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV that Don Johnson helmed. The price: $20 million.
The 1986 model is listed by David Martino, who owns a collection of cars and other vehicles from television and movies. Martino’s collection includes the black-and-gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from the Smokey and The Bandit films, the Ferrari Daytona Spider from Miami Vice and cars from the Fast and The Furious series.
“The Miami Vice boat is the most recognizable boat in the world,” Martino told Trade Only Today. “There are a lot of iconic cars, but when it comes to boats, the most iconic boat is the Miami Vice boat.”
When the Miami International Boat Show moved to Virginia Key in 2016, Martino displayed the Scarab and organized the appearance of Miami Vice star Olivia Brown. “The boat seems to be just as popular as Don Johnson,” Martino said. “People were screaming when they saw it.”
Martino listed the boat on eBay Jan. 25 for 30 days; as of Feb. 20, it had 13,000 views and more than 300 watches. “Do that math, and it could be up to 100,000 viewers” by the time the auction ends, he said.
With a successful background in the collectibles market, Martino said he realizes that the boat won’t sell for $20 million because it’s the “only one in the world, and it’s worth what someone will pay for it.
“Any high-end priced item, it takes a while to reach the serious buyers. A Fortune 500 company starting out, if they buy the Miami Vice boat, they would have their name plastered all over the world.”
The Scarab is stored in a climate-controlled facility. Martino said the boat has been restored to its original condition, but some question that claim. The original Scarab 38 KVs were powered by MerCruiser 420s with TRS sterndrives, but Martino’s boat has a pair of aftermarket 650-hp engines that would test the capabilities of the TRS drives.
“It’s definitely the first boat,” Dan MacNamara, president of Team Archer Marine in Costa Mesa, Calif., told Trade Only Today. MacNamara’s company has restored a number of famous Scarabs that raced offshore, including Tom Gentry’s 43-footer. “But it’s not done originally,” he said, referring to the aftermarket engines. MacNamara estimates that if the boat were restored to its complete original condition, it could fetch as much as $300,000.
If Martino sells the boat, he said 3 percent of the proceeds would go to Paws and Stripes, a charity for military veterans.
Larry Smith, who designed all the Scarab models through his Team Scarab in Santa Barbara, Calif., autographed the boat at the 2016 Miami boat show. “I think it’s fabulous because it was one of the great iconic TV shows,” Smith told Trade Only Today.
He estimated that as many as 40 38 KVs were produced by Wellcraft in the Miami Vice color scheme. “It was just an era — the music, the clothes and the exposure around the world,” he said.