Originally Posted by sunchaser
There are two 49 Meridians for sale in Seattle area. One was at the Seattle Boat Show. It has been under cover always and owned by a finicky maintenance oriented freak who -gasp- insisted on doing servicing by the book even though the boat racked up less than 100 hours per year. Cummins 330s and sparkling.
Although you are looking at a smaller 4588, the 49Ms are worth a look, a look you won't regret.
Sunchaser and Rob both bring up a Very good point here, one you should not overlook.
The Bayliner Pilothouse series of boats started in the early 1980's, using boat building techniques for the most part that were fairly typical of the era.
In approx 1993 the 45' version was discontinued and basically the exact same boat only 2' longer in the salon was introduced. The 4788 also marked a huge shift in construction materials. Where the 45' version had balsa cored decks like the other boats of its Era, the 4788 offered foam cored decks. This completely eliminates one of the major issues that vintage boats suffer from, being soft decks.
In 1996 The cummins engines were made standard, replacing the Hino engines of earlier boats. Nothing wrong with the hino engine, some even prefer it, but the Cummins engine clearly offers a better marine support network.
Some time later and I do not know when exactly the solid teak interior was replaced with in my opinion a not as nice teak interior with white cabinets. The same with the aft bulkhead. My 2001 model has an alumanium aft bulkhead and my neighbors 1994 has a teak looking bulkhead and in my opinion a better looking interior with more teak. But on the plus side the newer boats sport solid surface countertops replacing the formica that the older boats offered.
When Bayliner discontinued the 4788 in 2002 and Meridian mysteriously started selling the same exact same boats in 2003 the price went up, but for the most part the boats didn't change much. I've seen a 2008 model (last year built) and except for being newer I didn't see much difference.
So, what you have is a production run spanning 25 years and a whole bunch of boats. During that time the marine world evolved and so did the Bayliner Pilothouse.