The Boat Loader Car No. 6416 came with four boats and was produced from 1961 until 1963 on a DARK RED chassis mold No. 6511-2 with WHITE heat-stamped lettering that has the number to the left of the "LIONEL" inscription. This car has early AAR trucks equipped with disc couplers. Aside from the lettering, this car is identical to the No. 6414 Auto Loader car. On early issues the boats were packaged in cardboard sleeves (2 boats/sleeve). Reproduction boats are available. The original boats were made for Lionel by Athearn as are the reproductions. There are four variations:
Variation A: Boats came with WHITE hull, BLUE top with BROWN interior piece. The most common version.
Variation B: Boats with RED hull, WHITE top with BROWN interior piece.
Variation C: Boats with WHITE hull, BLUE top with RED interior piece.
Variation D: Boats with RED hull, WHITE top with WHITE interior piece. Most likely used on Lionel’s HO car and not original equipment for the 6416.
The original boats were molded in BLACK plastic and painted. The BROWN interior piece of these original boats usually shows the BLACK plastic along the edges of this piece. Later production of this interior piece are entirely BROWN in color. It is unfortunate that the boat must be disassembled to verify this feature and this is not a perfect solution for verifying originality because all of the parts are interchangeable.
The fact that Athearn later made these boats in the painted RED color for Lionel’s HO, and their own HO line, indicates that only Variation A is original to this issue. However, the debate among collectors as to which of these colors are original productions continues to this day.