By: Daniel Nash, Photography by: Geoff Middleton

Daniel Nash took a ride in a runabout built with Australian conditions in mind and came away impressed by the experience

Known more for their 20 to 24ft sports cruisers and fishing boats Mustang Pleasure Boats’ new 1750 Runabout is something of a new direction for the company. While they do have boats in the less than 20ft range – namely the 1600 and 1750 Tournament – these boats have a definite fishing focus. While it can definitely be used for the odd spot of fishing, the 1750 Runabout is not a dedicated fishing boat. Its focus is more on being a family day boat where if fishing is not your cup of tea, you’ll still get some enjoyment out of using the boat for fun-on-the-water activities.
One of the big selling points of a Mustang is that they are built on the Gold Coast with Australian conditions in mind. With the influx of American boats into this segment of the marketplace that seem to go okay in local waters, this may no longer be a moot point. Local manufacturers might need to come up with some new selling spin down the track. But it should be noted that this hull did perform incredibly well on our test, which took place in a lumpy Hobsons Bay just off Williamstown in Melbourne.

It was a case of what you see is what you get with the test boat, the only options fitted from a wide range available being the cockpit carpet. There are plenty of options that can be added to the 1750 Runabout and once you’ve got the basics covered you can customise your boat to some degree. They come at a price, of course, and we’ll take a look at what’s available a little later. But let’s start with the meat and potatoes.
As brave as I’d like to think I am, not even I was foolish enough to consider a dip in Hobsons Bay in the middle of a Melbourne winter. However, if you live up north where the water this time off year is a little more conducive to swimming, there’s a hinged telescopic boarding ladder to haul yourself out of those warm coastal waters. The ladder fixes neatly into a plastic clip when it’s not required.
Two self draining storage wells lie in the transom mouldings and lids are secured with stainless steel hinges. The bins are fairly large and could be used for a variety of purposes including the storage of wet gear, bait or beer if you’ve left the family at home for the day and are out fishing with the fellas.

A folding rear bench seat is where most backsides will be parked when this boat’s on the water. It will hold four adults at a squeeze and offers a nice spot for a bit of individual lounging with a book or to listen to your iPod. It’s supported by two alloy legs that fold up, dropping the lounge to create more deck space for fishing or on-deck socialising.
Plastic drinkholders are located at either end of the lounge, fixed into the coamings. So no matter which way you need to lie to catch the sun’s rays, a coldie is not too far away. They fold out, so when not in use remember to fold them up as a stray leg or arm could easily render them redundant. There are also two drinkholders that fold out of the glovebox door. The glovebox itself is lockable and has ample room for valuables and sundries like sun cream and sunglasses.
Above the drinkholders, accessible to the lounge, sit rod holders. They are capped to prevent water entering the bilge or the cockpit. If fishing is your thing you’ll find some side storage racks flanking either side of the cockpit that can fit some small rods as well as flares, EPIRBs and other safety gear.
An entry level boat of this nature needs ample cockpit railing, given that the skipper and crew may be new to boating. Mustang has got it pretty much right with the 1750 Runabout. They run along the gunwales on both sides of the cockpit while there is a further grabrail to stabilise the passenger up front.
Seating up front comes in the form of deluxe polypropylene seats on swivel pedestals, while the trim button and ignition can be found on the Honda side-mounted remote control. The five-piece walkthrough windscreen offers good access to the self draining anchor well and there is more storage in the bow section of the boat.
On the water, the Mustang performed well. In far from family friendly conditions the hull provided a soft ride. The 90hp Honda four-stroke zipped this hull around the bay at a fair click and the boat went just as well up sea as it did down. A top speed of 37mph at 4000rpm was recorded on the Honda Faria speedo, which was accompanied by a tacho and trim gauge. Switches for lamps, lights and bilge complete the dash setup, which would be best described as minimal and bland. In saying that, there’s ample room to add further electronics right under the skipper’s nose to spark the dash a bit.
According to Mustang’s spin on the boat the steering is of the non-feedback mechanical type. I’m not all that certain what they’re trying to get at with the non-feedback but perhaps it translates to smooth, because the mechanical steering system on this boat handled exceptionally well.
Looking at the list of options available for the Mustang 1750 Runabout is a little like standing in the queue at Subway. You can add all sorts of ingredients to suit your appetite. Of these I’d probably take some sturdier and adjustable helm seats and a canopy and clears, or even the full camper covers. But hey, I do live in Melbourne after all.

Soft riding hull
Stainless steel grabrails
Good mechanical steering

Helm and passenger seats
Bland dash setup
Options come at a price


Specifications: Mustang 1750 Runabout

Price as tested: $37,999 w/ 90hp Honda four-stroke, registration, trailer
Priced from: $33,999 w/ 75hp Merury/Mariner

Material: GRP
Length: 5.45m
Beam: 2.13m
Deadrise: 21 degrees
Max HP: 135
Weight: 600kg

Fuel: 90lt
Passengers: 6

Make/model: Honda BF90
HP: 90
Displacement: 1590cc
Weight: 169kg
Ratio: 2.3:1

Aussie Boat Sales,
34 The Strand,
Williamstown, Vic, 3016.
Phone: (03) 9397 6977

Originally published in TrailerBoat #207


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