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1959 MFG Oxford

New Project
When I was a kid in the 1970s, my friend's dad owned a 15' Lyman runabout with a 1957 Johnson 35hp. The boat was kept in pristine condition, paint and varnish always were "Bristol Fashion" despite daily use and the harsh salt water environment of Long Island Sound. I always loved the lines of that boat and enjoyed the times I got to go out with them in it.

Since then, I have often thought of getting a 15' Lyman but didn't want to deal with the upkeep of the varnish and wood. One day I was looking through an old 1950s boating magazine and noted that several companies made boats that looked similar to the Lyman but built out of fiberglass. One of them was MFG, according to Peter Hunn's TAIL FINS AND TWO TONES book, MFG simply knocked off the Lyman! Since then I've kept my eyes open for one and my vigilance has finally paid off!

Here are some photos of the boat I just picked up. It appears to be in pretty good condition and has the original aqua gelcoat on the deck and pink speckle paint on the inside of the hull. (I need to buff the aqua, it should shine up well!)  The outside of the hull has been painted gloss white with a brush, though I'll bet the original white gelcoat under the paint is probably fine. If you are not familiar with the early MFG boats, the tiny molded ribs and aluminum framework shown in the photo of the inside of the boat is 100% original.  I can't find any evidence of repair work or major issues on this boat, the hull and deck are very solid. 

I didn't get the seats with it and that is the biggest obstacle right now.  I can't find any photos of what they should look like, one brochure I've seen on-line just mentions that they are vinyl covered with "cushions at extra cost".  In the brochure a bit of the front seat can be seen, a bench with a pass-through in the center.  I may try to cobble something together so I can get it out on the water, then figure out the correct design after doing some research.  The boat needs the rub-rail rubber and all the wiring re-done.  Most of the vintage hardware is in decent shape but the bow chocks and a couple of cleats are chromed pot-metal and starting to look ugly. 

Power will be my reliable old '55 Big Twin 25 for salt & brackish water, then I'd like to see what the '58 Elgin 35 can do! But a '57 Javelin or Lark would look very sharp on the boat....

Missing seats - anyone have a photo of the originals?

The ribs and aluminum frame are original to the boat - that's how MFG built 'em!

Transom is reinforced with aluminum on both sides


And the Engines!

1955 Evinrude 25hp (Electric Start)

Duratech Sea Line 13 with Big Twin Summer '07

Year & Model:
1955 Big Twin 2592
Horsepower: 25
Bore: 2.875"
Stroke: 2.75"
Ignition: OMC Universal Magneto
Point Gap: .020"
Cooling: Water by rubber impeller
Condition: Original
Retail price when new: $525.00
Weight: 129 lbs
Oil/Gas Mix: 1/2pint TCW-3 per gal gas
Spark Plug: Champion J-6J (Now J-6C)

This motor runs great and is so reliable as to be positively boring to someone who likes to tinker with outboards! I seriously doubt a modern motor could rival it for dependability or power. Plenty of punch off the line and decent top end, it's also really smooth and quiet.

The only down-side, as with most of the Big Twin/RD motors, is that it can be a bit of a fuel hog when run at WOT. Throttling back to 2/3 saves almost 30% on the gas bill when I ran it on my old Duratech Sea Line 13. This worked out to the difference between going through one 6 gallon tank an hour vs. less than one 4 gallon tank. So on the way out I'd run a 4 gallon pressure tank and keep two full 6 gallon tanks for reserve - that way I could always have a comfortable surplus of fuel to get back home.

With the larger and heavier MFG Oxford I would expect the fuel consumption to increase a bit. Upgrading to one of the later Big Twin/RD motors with the OMC Fuel Saver may be something to look into.


1958 Elgin 35hp (By West Bend)

Year & Model:
1958 571.5944E
Horsepower: 35
Bore: 3 1/8"
Stroke: 2.706"
Ignition: Wico Magneto
Point Gap: .020"
Cooling: Water by rubber impeller
Condition: Original
Retail price when new: $449.95
Weight: 130 lbs
Oil/Gas Mix: 1/2pint TCW-3 per gal gas
Spark Plug: Champion H-8J (Now H-8C)



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