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The James Bond-Inspired Superyachts of John Staluppi



John Staluppi likes anything mechanical, especially if it has speed.  He quit school at sixteen to start working as a mechanic at a local GM dealership in Brooklyn, New York.  At the time, the muscle car era of big engines and fast cars was just beginning to emerge.  John loved working on high-performance cars.  In his spare time, he drag-raced and won some races, even building some of his own drag cars.  He was a Grand National Drag-Racing Champion at one point.

 

Soon his parents helped him buy his first gas station, which quickly grew into a series of several gas stations.  In the early 1960s, Staluppi was one of the first to begin selling an unknown brand of motorcycles from Japan called Honda.  Soon after, the first Honda cars arrived in the mid-60s and within a decade he had several east coast auto dealerships.  He later took on the Hyundai franchise.  He quickly became one of the east coast’s largest independent car dealerships through his Atlantic Auto Group.

 

Early on when he was a mechanic at that GM dealership, the owner had him replace the engines in his 28-foot Shepherd mahogany runabout with a pair of Corvette engines.  That was a start to Staluppi’s interest in boats.  Later on as his business grew, he started powerboat racing but a couple of mishaps including a roll-over in one boat and a destructive fire in the next one ended his enthusiasm. 

 

He next went for a 43-foot Ocean sportfisherman, not because he necessarily liked fishing but because, as larger boats go, it was relatively fast.  His second big pleasure boat was a 60-foot Viking, but even this didn’t satisfy his need for speed and size and comfort, especially since his offshore racing had shown him the thrill of a hundred miles an hour on the water.  Thus started his search for satisfaction, which would see him chase size, speed, and luxuriousness in larger yachts.  This constant searching also meant finding a replacement yacht every few years. 

 

Somewhere along the way, Staluppi decided he wanted the fastest superyacht over 100 feet long.  He quickly discovered a 118-foot yacht being built at Denison Yachts in Fort Lauderdale.  He got involved with the builder, Kit Denison, both in the engineering and in the fine points of construction, design, and outfitting.  He had the Detroit diesel inboard power replaced with MTU diesels with jet drives – the largest pleasure vessel to that point in the US with water-jet propulsion.  It was launched in 1985.

 

The yacht was named For Your Eyes Only as Staluppi was a James Bond movie fan and the boat embraced the exotic, exciting, and glamourous nature of the films with its speed and character.  This would become the first of a number of superyachts owned by John Staluppi to carry the name from a James Bond movie. 


In the late 1980s, I attended a boatbuilder’s conference in Ft. Lauderdale and we were given a tour of For Your Eyes Only by Kit Denison himself at his Dania, Florida yard when the yacht was in for a refit.  It was simply magnificent and unforgettable.


Here are some of John Staluppi's most iconic and memorable Jamed Bond-themed superyachts:


For Your Eyes Only


Very soon, Staluppi heard that two other superyachts were being built that would be faster than the roughly 35 miles per hour of For Your Eyes Only.  He eventually found new Netherlands shipbuilder Frans Heeson and designer Frank Mulder who agreed to build the world’s fastest superyacht.  The deal was that the boat had to run 50 knots (58 mph) in order to get paid and a bonius would be paid for every knot over 50.   After a couple of weight-reducing modifications, Octopussy, with its three MTU diesels each producing 3500 horsepower, eventually topped 53 kts (61 mph) and Staluppi paid the promised $400,000. bonus for the extra speed.  Octopussy was launched in 1988.

Octopussy


John and Jeanette Staluppi cruised extensively for almost a couple of years in Octopussy while garnering a lot of attention wherever they went.  Until that is, he heard of another superyacht being built that was intended to hit 65 knots but after launching, only achieved about 57 knots.  Only!!  This would not do and so John had Frank Mulder design and Norship of Norway build the 118-foot Moonraker.  After launching in 1992, top speed was clocked at 61 knots or just over 70 mph – in a 118-foot yacht!  The world superyacht speed record once again belonged to John Staluppi.


Moonraker


After buying, building, using and then selling a number of boats, Staluppi the businessman soon realized that commercializing his boating enjoyment would be beneficial.   In 1998 he created Millenium Superyachts as a boatbuilder and a charter fleet operator.  In 2004, Millenium launched the Neptunus of Holland built and Frank Mulder designed 138-foot The World Is Not Enough with interior design heavily influenced by Jeanette Staluppi.

 

Powered by a pair of Paxman 18-cylinder diesels plus twin Lycoming turbines producing a total of 20,000 horsepower, the V-hulled The World Is Not Enough had a top speed of just over 80 mph, a cruising speed of just under 60 mph, and a range of over 4,000 statute miles from its 15,000-gallon fuel capacity.  And remember, this superyacht is almost 140-feet long  with accommodations for ten guests and a crew of six!


The World is Not Enough


Next for John Staluppi was the 163-foot Christensen-built Casino Royale, originally named Millenium Edition.  Built in the US west coast Christensen yard in Washington State and launched in 2008, Casino Royale broke tradition in a couple of ways for John Staluppi.  All of his previous superyachts were built primarily of aluminum whereas this one has a hull and tri-deck superstructure of Kevlar composites.  Following Millenium Superyachts’ objective to pursue pleasure and comfortable and efficient cruising that would be suitable for chartering, Casino Royale had only moderate diesel power with 5-bladed propeller drive.


Casino Royale


Famed Italian yacht builder Benetti built and in 2011 launched Staluppi’s next superyacht, the 197-foot (60m) Diamonds Are Forever, a multi-award-winner and intended from the start to be a luxurious charter yacht.  It could accommodate twelve guests in six cabins plus a crew of sixteen.  During construction, Staluppi had a fifth deck added for sunbathing.

 

It featured a steel hull with aluminum superstructure, teak decks, a helipad, and Caterpillar diesel power.  Most of these features had not previously been prevalent on Staluppi yachts.  He had even once said that he did not like teak decks and railings due to the constant maintenance required and the teak oil which got transferred from hands and feet throughout the rest of a boat onto carpets and surfaces.  Staluppi sold this gorgeous yacht in 2013.

Diamonds Are Forever


The spectacular 227-foot Spectre launched in 2018 was once again a Benetti build with naval architects Mulder Design involved once again with John Staluppi.  It was designed to be a faster than normal yet comfortable displacement hull with “Ride Control” to reduce pitch and roll with a cruising speed of almost 20 mph and a top speed of 23 mph.

 

With a steel hull and aluminum superstructure, Spectre is powered by twin MTU diesels.  It accommodates twelve guests in six cabins plus a crew of fifteen.  The master suite features its own private deck with whirlpool.  Staluppi sold Spectre within one year of its delivery to him.

 

Spectre


Skyfall is mentioned here next as it is a superyacht once owned by John Staluppi and it does have a name from a Bond movie but its launch date of 2010 does not follow in sequence to the superyachts mentioned above.  That is because John Staluppi was not the original owner and purchased it as a pre-owned vessel.  Built by Trinity Yachts of Gulfport, Mississippi the multi-award-winning 190-foot Skyfall is a superyacht designed and destined for charter.  It accommodates twelve guests in six cabins plus a crew of fourteen.  Staluppi sold it in 2018.

 

Skyfall


Quantum of Solace was built by Turkish boatbuilder Turquoise Yachts and launched in 2009.  Once again, John Staluppi was not the original owner of this 238-footer.  Quantum of Solace could accommodate fourteen guests in seven cabins plus a crew of nineteen in ten cabins.  The master suite was full-beam approaching forty feet in width!  It featured a unique two-story atrium in the main salon.  It had a full displacement hull of steel with aluminum superstructure and twin Caterpillar diesel engines with a range of 7,000 nautical miles.  Staluppi sold it in 2011.

 

Quantum of Solace


Along with his Atlantic Auto Group comprised of thirty-odd new car dealerships in New York and Nevada, John Staluppi has owned many boats, yachts, and superyachts over the years of which nine with Bond movie names are featured in this article.  He also maintained his fascination with cars, became an avid collector and co-owned a mall to house his collection of over one hundred mainly fifties and sixties automobiles in a museum setting.  In 2012, he sold his Cars of Dreams collection at auction. 

 

The Staluppi’s have been major philanthropists over the years with childrens’ charities being among their favourites.  In 2017, they purchased at auction a 1996 Ford Mustang which had been built by students at a vocational high school.  They paid $50,000. for the car but immediately donated it back to be re-auctioned in order to raise additional funds for the school.

 

 In 2018, John and Jeanette Staluppi were the winning bidders at Barrett-Jackson Auctions of a 2018 Corvette Z06 Carbon 65, VIN 001 and signed by President George W. Bush.  The Staluppi winning bid was $1.4 Million which was donated to the Wounded Warriors charity fund.  The Staluppi’s are also major contributors to Honda’s Classic Cares charity for American youth.

 

The story of John Staluppi is the story of the American dream.  The superyachts he has owned and named after James Bond-themed movies is an apt reflection of that dream.

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And car dealers are always saying tgey are only making a 100$ on a new car.

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