Yugo, I Go, We All Go, to the Zagreb International Trade Fair in Yugoslavia

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Lake ‘n Sea boat at the Zagreb International Trade Fair, 1959. (Image courtesy of the John T. Parsons collection (Ms-1987-016), Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, https://spec.lib.vt.edu/)

In September 1959 the Lake ‘n Sea Division of the Parsons Corporation had completed its first production year of its redesigned 1959 Lake ‘n Sea line of boats and started producing boats for the 1960 model year. That fall the company sent one its boats to the Zagreb International Trade Fair in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, as part of the United States displays. The Lake ‘n Sea 14’ Caribbean model was part of the plastics area Fiberglas Exhibit and on display in a pool from September 5-20. The host country’s Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia attended the first day and asked several questions about how it was made, price, and speed. On September 13, an estimated 160,000 people saw the boat. Molded Fiber Glass Boat Company (MFG) was also listed as attending.

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Yugoslavia’s President Tito and his wife Jovanka Broz (center) admire the Lake ‘n Sea 14’ Caribbean boat equipped with a West Bend brand outboard motor. (Image courtesy of the John T. Parsons collection (Ms-1987-016), Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries, Viriginia Polytechnic and State University, https://spec.lib.vt.edu/)

After the Fair closed the boat was shipped to Udine, Italy where it was listed for sale by a Mr. Bertuzzi. Arthur R. Stella, Foreign Sales Manager for Parsons, wrote a letter to Lee R. Haspl, District Sales Manager of the Export Sales Department for West Bend Aluminum Company on June 14, 1960 outlining research to sell boats through the Aer-Lualdi and Company in Rome, Italy. A June 3, 1960 invoice shows that the 14’ Caribbean was placed on consignment for $657.00. Maybe that boat will appear someday, somewhere in the world. Only time will tell.

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