This 1975 Bertram Baron 28 was bought new by Johnny Hallyday, the singer widely remembered as the French answer to Elvis Presley. He kept it at the Arcachon Marina in the South West of France where he spent the summer holidays.
Hallyday called this boat “Don’t III,” when he first bought it it was fitted with twin 5 liter MerCruiser V8 engines but a few years later he had them removed, and a pair of more powerful 5.7 liter MerCruiser V8s were fitted in their place. As a result, the boat is said to now have a top speed of 120 km/h or 65 knots.
Fast Facts – Johnny Hallyday’s Bertram Baron 28
- Bertram Yachts is a Miami-based manufacturer of luxury power boats, they previously also made sailing boats. The company was founded by champion sailor Richard Bertram in 1960 who became the World Champion of Offshore Boat Racing in 1965.
- In 1975 one of the most popular Bertram models was the Bertram Baron 28, a 28 ft power boat with a deep-V hull, dual inboard marine V8s, and seating for five.
- Depending on the engine configuration the Bertram Baron 28 could easily exceed 50 knots on smooth water, later models were capable of 65+ knots with each engine producing 300 or more horsepower.
- The Bertram Baron 28 you see here was bought new by legendary French singer Johnny Hallyday who imported it into France and kept it at the Arcachon Marina in the South West of France where he used to spend his summer holidays with friends and family.
Born Jean-Philippe Smet on June 15, 1943, in Paris, France, Hallyday discovered his passion for music at an early age. Influenced by American rock and roll, he immersed himself in the sounds of Elvis Presley, who would become a major inspiration throughout his life.
Above Video: This clip shows Johnny Hallyday performing “Kili Watch” on The Ed Sullivan Show, July 1, 1962.
Hallyday’s breakthrough came in 1960 when he released his debut album, “Hello Johnny,” which achieved unprecedented success in France. With his rebellious spirit, dynamic stage presence, and distinct voice, Hallyday quickly captured the hearts of a devoted fanbase.
Johnny Hallyday’s musical style and persona drew inevitable comparisons to Elvis Presley, the pioneer of rock and roll. Both artists possessed a charismatic stage presence, exuded raw energy, and had a penchant for provocative performances.
Like Presley, Hallyday’s fusion of various musical genres, including rock, blues, and country, created a unique and captivating sound. While Elvis conquered the American music scene, Hallyday achieved a similar status in the French-speaking world, earning him the title of the “French Elvis.”
Beyond their shared musical impact, Hallyday and Presley led remarkably different lives. While Elvis experienced unparalleled fame on a global scale, Hallyday remained primarily popular within French-speaking territories. Additionally, Presley’s success extended beyond music to include a prolific acting career, whereas Hallyday focused predominantly on his music, occasionally venturing into film.
Johnny Hallyday’s influence and impact cannot be overstated. He recorded over 1,000 songs, sold more than 110 million records, and performed in countless sold-out concerts throughout his career. His music transcended generations, appealing to fans of all ages, and his concerts became legendary events, attracting massive crowds.
Hallyday’s enduring popularity continues even after his passing in 2017. His contribution to French music and his role in popularizing rock and roll in France remain unparalleled.
The Bertram Baron 28
The Bertram Yacht brand was established in 1960 by Richard Bertram, a passionate yachtsman with a vision for building successful racing boats as well as comfortable leisure vessels. The company quickly gained recognition for its innovative designs and commitment to crafting vessels that could withstand the demands of offshore use.
The Bertram Baron 28 was introduced in the early 1970s as a successor to the successful Bertram 25 model. The 28 foot boat featured a deep-V hull, designed by Ray Hunt, which helped to revolutionize the powerboat industry. This hull design allowed the vessel to slice through rough waters with relative ease, providing a smooth and stable ride even in challenging conditions.
The Baron 28 was typically powered by twin inboard V8 engines, MerCruiser V8s being a popular choice. A number of different configurations were offered however the central cockpit layout with seating for five and sunbeds in the rear on the engine covers was an enduring favorite.
The 1975 Bertram Baron 28 Shown Here
As you will have read in the introduction above, this is the 1975 Bertram Baron 28 that was bought new by Johnny Hallyday and owned by him for many years, based out of the Arcachon Marina in the South West of France.
He had the boat imported into France in the year of its manufacture, 1975, and it was christened “Don’t III.” Exactly why this name was chosen isn’t known, though it seems likely that there may have been a Don’t I and a Don’t II that preceded it.
This vessel was initially powered by dual 5.0 liter inboard MerCruiser V8 engines, they were replaced after a few years with a pair of5.7 liter inboard MerCruiser V8 engines which offered more power, boosting the top speed of the boat to a claimed 120 km/h or 65 knots.
Hallyday and his family used to spend summer holidays at the coast with Jean-Pierre Pierre-Bloch and his family. Hallyday would leave the boat to the Pierre-Bloch family in 2012 and following Jean-Pierre Pierre-Bloch’s death in 2015 the boat was sold at auction.
The new buyer was a lifelong fan of Johnny Hallyday and he immediately set about restoring the boat back to its original condition from 1975. The boat was sent back to the Florida shipyard that had originally built it, and €160,000 were spent bringing it up to specification.
Since the restoration was completed the boat has been returned to France, and it was featured in Boat Heroes magazine. It’s now due to be auctioned by Artcurial on the 30th of June with a price guide of $87,500 – $131,300 USD.
If you’d like to read more about this unusual classic speedboat or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Artcurial © Marc de Tienda
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