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1967-8 P-35 3.5hp


Today Yamaha from Japan is one of the top players in the outboard motor market offering a full line of motors from 2.5hp to a whopping 350hp V-8. However, their start in 1960 was a tad less auspicious, a single 7.5hp model dubbed the P-7. Yamaha's history website suggests that the P-7 was less than spectacular, one reference noted that it produced a great deal of noise and vibration: "You can tell it is an outboard built by a musical instrument maker - it puts out quite a sound!" In 1961 the P-7 was joined by a smaller 3hp air-cooled single, the P-3. The motor seen here is it's direct relation, the P-35 was the export version that first appeared in the USA in 1967. The July 1968 Popular Mechanics devoted an article to the then new idea of an outboard motor from Japan - titled "Outboards From Yamaha" it makes interesting reading!

So you may be asking yourself why I would want to have a Yamaha in my collection? Well, I have been a big fan of the little Elgin and West Bend 2 and 3.5hp motors since I was a kid. (My first motor was a 1958 Elgin 2hp) I've spoken with many AOMCI members regarding them and, about 5 years ago, a fellow member showed me his Yamaha P-35. Since that time I've wanted to get one to really compare the two. Then one day a friend in the AOMCI spotted the one seen here on Craigslist and another was able to get it for me. After I got it home yet another outboard friend in Wisconsin was able to send me a copy of the parts book - we have a great club!

The similarities between the two motors are quite striking, since the West Bend motor pre-dated the Yamaha by a good 8-9 years, there can be no doubt the Yamaha is a clone. The transom clamp, leg and lower unit are just about identical. The tank is different on the outside, but the underside is shaped the same as the Elgin and has the same captive nuts to hold it on. Also the tank support on top of the powerhead and the cork gasket between it and the tank could have come direct from the West Bend parts bin!

What's different on the Yamaha is the powerhead is rotary valve and loop charged. (The West Bend was a reed valve and cross flow design.) Also the Mikini slide-valve carb is a lot more modern than the old Tillotson MD. The motor develops its 3.5 horsepower at 4,500 RPM, the later 3.5hp West Bends also were rated at 4,500 - though the Yamaha seems a lot more willing. The Popular Mechanics article indicates it weighs in at 35lbs, that's 7 more than the Elgin/West Bend and I think they were guilding-the-lilly a bit! (I'd say 40lbs) I will say that the paint job on this outboard is far superior to anything West Bend ever did, possibly the best and hardest paint I've ever seen on an old outboard, it cleaned up great!

My You Tube video of the Yamaha P-35

1967-8 Yamaha P-35 3.5hp

Year & Model:
1967-8 P-35
Horsepower: 3.5 @ 4,500 rpm

Bore: 1.77
Stroke: 1.57
Ignition: Mitsubishi magneto
Point Gap: .014
Cooling: Forced air & water via splash-tube

Condition: Unrestored
Retail price when new: $146.95
Weight: 35 lbs.
Oil/Gas Mix: 24:1
Spark Plug: NGK - B-7H


The Yamaha P-35 starts easily and runs well, but the absense of the intake and air filter it is supposed to have caused it to run lean at top RPM. We remedied this with bodged silencer to create drag and were very impressed with the results.

It really winds up and makes an impressive amout of power for an outboard so small. I'd peg it at closer to 4.5hp. It is exceptionally quiet and smooth, especially for an air-cooled outboard.

The P-35 has some nice features; the fuel valve has a "Reserve" position and easily accessible strainer bowl. Plus there is a felt filter under the extra large gas tank cap to try and keep debris and water from getting into the fuel system in the first place. As noted above, it has the best and hardest paint I've ever seen on an outboard, it has held up very well.

We still need to find the correct air filter and intake but I have to say that the P-35 is a winner!

Click here for printable PDF of Parts Book

(This is an old copy of a copy but it is NLA from Yamaha and the best available - thanks to the member who sent it to me!)

Here is a wonderful kitschy early 1960's Yamaha commercial from You Tube showing the P-3 predecessor to my P-35 (In Japanese)


Here is a short video introduction I did to the Yamaha P-35:


Here are a few additional photos of the motor:

Side engine detail showing fuel valve (with on and reserve) and carb
Front of motor
Front of motor showing stop button - serial # stamped into front of block and model # tag can be seen below
Motor is missing carb air intake and air filter! (That's a first for me - an air filter on an outboard) According to the parts book they tuck up under the gas tank. Rubber strip around tank is bigger than the ones on the Elgin & West Bend motors, it's even stapled on!
This motor has the largest gas cap I've ever seen! A nice feature is the removable strainer cup just underneath.
Leg to the Yamaha P-35 (left) and 1961 Elgin 2hp (right)
Lower unit and water pick-up tubes, again Yamaha (L) and Elgin (R)
Tiller and powerhead on the Yamaha - inside the cup just above the tiller is the location of the rotary valve.
This Elgin is missing the rubber shear pin holder on the tiller - Yamaha somehow missed the co-pilot band. (They opted for an OMC style set-screw on the underside of the saddle)
Yamaha has a removable cylinder head, if you look up under the tank you can see the gas tank mounting plate with the fasteners going into the captured nuts on the underside of the tank. There is even the same cork vibration gasket on top of the plate!
Elgin being a budget offering had a blind-cast cylinder head that is not removable. I've come across several that had stripped sparkplug threads so the removable head is not a bad idea.
Here are a couple of photos showing what my motor looked like as found - thanks again to Doug P. for braving the snow to get it for me!

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