Problems With Midnight Express Boats? )3 Known Issues)

A boating icon in the pantheon of center console builders, Midnight Express boats are piloted by very contented owners.

As such, identifying problems tends to be driven by minor issues, or misconceptions owing to the company’s long history.

We’ve previously looked at how reliable Midnight Express boats are and now we’ll turn to some of the most common issues people face with these boats.

A quick note should be taken to sort out the ownership history of this iconic boat line as even the most casual perusal of the online boating boards will indicate a measure of confusion on this score.

Begun in the late 1980s, the company soon earned a solid reputation as a superior rough seas watercraft.

The company went dark for a number of years prior to its purchase by a new owner, Tom Mason.

Mason, with absolutely no connection to the previous owners, produced the line until selling the concern to its current owners, the Glaser family of Bert, and his two sons Eric and Harris.

General Boating Issues

Owing to the high quality of Midnight Express boats, regardless of who is at the helm of the company, you rarely hear of complaints regarding these boat models.

Indeed, is complaining that a diamond is not quite as bright as the sun really a complaint?

That said, in the business of pushing the performance envelope within a demanding marine environment, Midnight Express has seen its share of minor issues.

Let’s look at a few general boating issues.

Unfortunate Failed Motor Mountings Caught On Film

Unafraid of starting new trends, this early adoption approach can sometimes lead to problems.

Specifically, the photo of an early prototype saw the bolting on five 350-hp Mercury outboards led to the torque pulling one of those outboards off the boat and into the seas.

An investigation located the issue when they discovered that the upper bolts holding the motors were prone to failure under such force.

While not really an issue, as the incident occurred in development rather than production, the problem was solved with the introduction of custom made grade 18-8 stainless steel bolts, and doubling the number of top bolts used to clamp down the heavy outboards.

Hydrolocking Problems and The Volvo Marine Penta

For Midnight Express boats outfitted with Volvo marine Penta outboards, owners have complained of problems with hydrolocking.

The most common symptom associated with an engine hydrolock is that the motor will not turn over.

Indeed, while the engine will engage it will not start.

There might be a number of reasons for this including:

  • Water in cylinder is incompressible, so the engine locks owing to no compression.
  • The volume of liquid becomes greater than the minimum volume of the cylinder.
  • Overheating might cause damage.
  • Faulty installation of engine allows entry of water.

Unfortunately, fixing a hydrolocked engine is simply not a DIY project, so you will need to bring the unit to the nearest service center.

Gaps in Servicing Older Models

As noted above, the company has a history stretching back to the halcyon days of the late 1980s, and boats built in those earlier days are quickly snatched up owing to their stellar reputation.

Unfortunately however, as the company custom makes each boat to precise specification, the notion that there might be a reservoir of spare parts sitting around is unlikely.

That being said, the current ownership team, the Glaser family, has stretched out their familial hands to say that anyone who purchased their boat since 2006 are included in the Midnight Express family.

While this is a concerned voiced on the internet boating boards, it has in no way cooled the ardor of those who find one of these aquatic jewels on the market.

As one reviewer noted in 2008,

“The original Midnights and the new Midnights are without any dispute one of the most offshore worthy boats anywhere…period.”

Clearly, difficulties in finding spare parts are not a deal breaker when looking to pick up one of this iconic watercraft.

General Pros and Cons of Midnight Express Boats

When it comes to any listing of high-performance, rough seas capable vessels available on the commercial market, Midnight Express boats consistently rank high in any algorithm you would choose to use.

Simply states, “Game recognizes Game,” and if you are a fan of high-performance luxury boating experience, you will be likewise pleased as your preconceptions are matched expertly with the on-water performance of these vessels.

Perfect for fishing or cruising, the Midnight Express line of boats offers a bevy of pros one might associate with a custom designed and built high-performance boat.

From heavy sea handling characteristics to luxuriously appointed living quarters below, the boat is a fan favorite.

General cons include:

  • Failed motor mounts
  • Penta engine hydrolocking
  • Availability of getting parts and servicing

What Do the Reviews Say?

In addition to the quote listed above, online reviewers have a lot of favorable things to say regarding their experiences with the Midnight Express boating line.

One review for the 2021 Solstice 43 foot model was found in Yacht World Magazine noted,

”If you are in the market for a big, flashy, fast offshore center console boat this is a model you’ll definitely take a hard look at. A cruising entertainer as well as a serious go-fast boat, she is also more than a capable fishing machine allowing anglers to get to any fishing grounds quickly and efficiently.”

Another review, found in the Robb Report likewise speaks highly of the Midnight Express available offerings:

“Midnight Express effectively transformed the center console from a utilitarian fishing boat into a day yacht. Add Midnight Express’s double-stepped hull and advanced carbon-fiber layup, and the brand became the pinnacle of the new generation of center consoles. Like the entirety of its line, Midnight Express is fully customizable to the owner’s taste.”

What’s the Resale Value of Midnight Express Boats?

High end items tend to keep their value over the years and that is certainly true of boats as well. When it comes to Midnight Express boat value over the years, owners can expect that the resale price tag will be a good one.

Owing to the customization of Midnight Express boats, the reality is that a “uniquely” painted and appointed Midnight Express boat might have to find the perfect “match” before finding a buyer willing to shell out money for a red painted hull with lavender seating for instance.

That said however, whether brand new or on the secondary market, these boats are not cheap and suggestive that they do indeed hold their valve.

When trying to ensure that a boat will hold its value, you want to make sure that you are comparing apples with apples, and not apples and oranges.

A recent perusal of listed boats for sale revealed something interesting.

Four separate 39’ cuddy models for sale, spanning four separate model years, revealed the following table:

Model Year Price
Midnight Express 39 Cuddy 2019 $695,000
Midnight Express 39 Cuddy 2007 $325,000
Midnight Express 39 Cuddy 2003 $239,000
Midnight Express 39 Cuddy 2000 $229,500

As we can see, the Midnight Express 39 Cuddy, model years 2000, 2003, and 2007 have all maintained a significant proportion of its value, which appears to be a testament to the quality of craft this South Florida company produces.




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