A picture of Sonny Crockett driving a boat.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers, an Armani jacket, a plain black T-shirt, and a Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV was all that Sonny Crockett needed to catch drug kingpins on the television show Miami Vice. Image courtesy of NBC Studios

Ahhh, the ’80s. Mullets, Cyndi Lauper, Members Only jackets, and Ray-Ban Wayfarers. What a decade for American culture.

I was walking down Collins Avenue in Miami a couple of weeks ago, checking out the megayachts at the Miami International Boat Show, when that turquoise water sent me into a Miami Vice flashback. Remember Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs running around Miami taking down drug kingpins? Well, if you do, you also likely remember Crockett’s cigarette boat that appeared during the opening of every show. Let’s throw it back to the mid ‘80s and take a look at that boat: the Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV.

Truth be told, Crockett’s boat in the original season of Miami Vice was actually a Chris-Craft Stinger 390. But that boat apparently wasn’t racy—or '80s—enough for producers.  In the second season of the show, which premiered in 1985, a Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV replaced the original Chris-Craft Stinger. According to Motor Boat and Sailing, the boat’s appearance on television caused a huge influx of orders for Wellcraft, increasing orders by 21 percent in only one year. It was so successful that Wellcraft subsequently built more than 100 copies of what became known as the Scarab 38 KV Miami Vice Edition.

A picture of a Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV

This ad from Motor Boat and Sailing shows the Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV doing its thing. The Miami Vice television show was credited with creating a huge influx of orders for the go-fast boat. Photo courtesy of Wellcraft

The boat had an overall length of 37’ 6”, a beam of 8’ 6”, and was powered by two, 440-horsepower Mercury inboards. The original power plants apparently made the 38-footer good for speeds up to around 60 mph. Add in some purple, turquoise, and black graphics, and you had an ’80s boating icon.

The show’s lead character, Sonny Crockett, lived on several different Endeavour sailboats before the show ended in 1989. Those boats are probably still around somewhere. Which is probably not the case with Crockett's Members Only jacket and Ray-Ban Wayfarers.