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Outboard Motors

I got my first outboard when I was a kid back in the early 1970s, a 1958 Elgin 2hp. A couple of years later I acquired two other small outboards that I still have; a 1932 Johnson J-65 single (seen below) and a little 1947 Elgin 1.25 hp number. In my youth I was known around the harbor for going out with a hook and some line, and pulling engines up from the depths people had lost overboard. (No Evinrude Zephyrs though!) I can still remember how much fun it was bringing an outboard back to life, and quite honestly, I feel the same excitement today!

Why do I collect and restore old outboards? As mentioned above, I enjoyed it as a kid - I think a lot of hobbies people take up, be it model railroading, golf, carpentry and others, have roots in favorite pastimes during childhood. Outboards to me represent freedom, the outdoors and summer - all good things. They also are fantastic compact technological devices - the older ones being wonderfully simple and creatively engineered. I love mechanical things that are well-made and not just the means to a higher stock price each quarter. Many of the antique and classic model outboards were designed and built with a great deal of pride - they were engineered to last forever if properly cared for. What products can you say that about today?

One of the best parts about my hobby is sharing it with my two boys. We spend a lot of time fixing engines up, putting around the harbor, attending outboard meets and arguing about our favorites motors. We already compete to find new treasures and they have some strong opinions about the engines they like and why. (Often, we don't like the same engines so that makes for an interesting time!) My oldest boy wanted his own "site" so please visit Harry's Corner. I do not approve of all his motors, but they make him happy and working on them is a lot better than texting or playing a video games. He has become well known in the outboard club and has earned the nickname "Hurricane."

I need to put in a couple of plugs here: #1 for the AOMCI, Antique Outboard Motor Club. It's a great organization for people to share in the hobby of collecting, restoring, and preserving antique outboard engines. I highly recommend visiting the site if you have any interest at all in old outboards or if you're just curious. #2 be sure to check out the Yankee Chapter of the AOMCI. Plug# 3 goes to Peter Hunn, a talented and dedicated AOMCI member who is also the author of some fine books about antique outboards. If you have an old outboard laying around you want to learn about you'll need a copy of Peter's book.

My earliest recorded outboard experience. (With dad - 1965)

In a effort to act as a resource, I have a great deal of data in the attached pages on many motors. Most is from the actual engine, manual or associated period literature. Some motors have interesting stories behind their manufacture or purchase, so you'll see some of that on the site. Given my interest in engineering and enjoying a good mechanical challenge, my collection has a number of oddball motors. Ever see a Wankel powered outboard? How about an outboard made in two halves or one from the Soviet Union? See them at these links: Mac-10, Flambeau, Whirlwind.

I have been making some decent headway on my wish list of outboards but still have a few to go; 1926 Caille Pennant, Clarke Troller, battery ignition Bendix, American Marc Diesel... The hunt is a good part of the fun of this hobby. Also included are some articles I've had published, the Tech Tips section and a list of books and 16mm outboard promotional films I have found. There is some fun and unusual stuff here I hope you will enjoy. And yes, ALL the motors seen here run, I believe that the engineers designed them to run and so they should - but you need to use common sense about it.

And all my outboards are stored on nice wooden racks in a dry area of my shop. Each is properly put to bed after every use with the fuel drained and cylinder fogged to wait for their next time out on the water.

1.4 hp Johnson J-65 given to me in 1975
See highlights of the Johnson outboards in my collection (Caution this is a large file with many images) by clicking on this link:
Johnson Collection Highlights

Ode To The Past


My 15' skiff Messenger shown here in about 1978 with the wonderful 1953 Johnson QD-14 10hp that was her regular power. When I was a kid thousands of hours were spent generally messing around (and salvaging or testing old outboards) with this boat. She was made of plywood and of unknown make, I suspect a kit boat. Unfortunately she's gone now, but I still have great memories of her and our time together!

Atco Boatimpeller | Bendix | British Seagull | Caille | Champion | Chris Craft | Dragon Fly | Elgin | Elto | Evinrude | Flambeau | Johnson | Lauson | Lockwood Ash | Mac10 Wankel | Martin | Mercury | Misc.Motors | Oliver | Outboard Jet 200 | Pluvier | Scott-Atwater | Tohatsu | Tomos | Volvo | West Bend | Whirlwind(Soviet) | Wizard| Yamaha | Zundapp

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