Glastron: Death of the founder of the American brand of the Bénéteau Group

William Gaston in the early years of Glastron powerboats

The creator of the American Glastron motor boats, William Bill Gaston, died at the age of 91. A look back at the history of the famous yachting company, acquired by the Bénéteau group.

Death of Bill Gaston

The co-founder of the famous Glastron powerboat brand passed away on 26 January 2019. William "Bill" Gaston disappeared at the age of 91 in his home in Austin, Texas.

A family nautical heritage

Born on December 27, 1927 in Austin, Texas, the young man was studying mechanics. His career path takes him from the University of Texas to the Chrysler Institute in Detroit, where he works on turbine gasoline engine projects. Back in Texas, he took over the management of the family hotel complex on Lake Buchanan. He quickly bought his father's boat and engine dealership in Austin where he marketed Johnson Outboards outboard motors and classic wooden boats of the time.

Creation of Glastron

As fibreglass became established in the nautical industry, William Bill Gaston began selling composite boats built in California. His supplier failed to deliver enough units for the request, so he found a solution by creating a new brand. By partnering with nine investors for $25,000, including Bob Hammond, a fiberglass specialist, he began manufacturing Glastron power boats in Austin, Texas in 1956.

Growth and buyback

Glastron powerboats quickly found their place in the American market. Employing up to 1600 employees in the 1970s, the company became the largest manufacturer of fibreglass boats in the United States. In the 1990s, the company was acquired by Genmar, which transferred production to Minnesota. After difficult years, the symbol of American yachting has been under the French flag since it was taken over by the Bénéteau Group in June 2014 with the other American brands Four Winns, Scarab and Wellcraft.

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