Motorboating's Race for Power

Larger and faster engines, and one outboard newcomer, vie for the big 1960 market
October 04, 1959

This year, as Detroit's Big Three turn to the economy car, outboard engine manufacturers are speeding off on an opposite tack. A trend toward sizable family boats has sparked a horsepower war among designers that has already resulted in one 80-hp engine, Kiekhaefer's Mercury 800, and two of 75 hp, the Johnson Sea-Horse V-75 and Evinrude's Starflite II. With ratings almost as great as those developed for the compact auto engines, the marine motors will push big family cruisers at high speeds, fast enough even for water skiing. They will also add a measure of safety in rough waters where a powerful engine can be a real boon to sailors.

An outstanding exception to the rule of power, however, is the American Marc diesel shown on the next page. Introduced in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Nov. 18, 1957), a 7½-hp version of the engine is expected to go into production in California by January 1. Its backers have high hopes for it. The motor will sell at about 30% more than gasoline engines of equivalent power, but, according to its builders, it will be more economical to operate because of the low cost of diesel fuel, the absence of serious fire hazards and low maintenance costs. Diesels use fewer parts than their more conventional cousins.

In 1960 lightness and mobility continue to be desired qualities in motors. Scott, which is keeping pace with its competitors with the 60-hp Flying Scott (next page), has redesigned a 7½-hp camping model weighing 34 pounds, a 27-pound reduction from the 1958 low-horsepower model.

PHOTOEVINRUDE STARFLITE II develops 75 hp, performs quietly, has automatic choke.
PHOTOJOHNSON V-TYPE MOTOR, also 75 hp, is a 50% jump over largest previous model. PHOTOMERCURY 800, at 80 hp the most powerful outboard sold in the U.S., represents a 10-hp jump over last year's model. One of nine engines manufactured by the Kiekhaefer Corporation, the engine features one-hand operation of throttle and shift. PHOTOFLYING SCOTT 60, which is also available in 40- and 25-hp models, provides electric starting by battery ignition and a bailing device, capable of handling 300 gallons an hour, available as an extra. 1960 models also stress improved fuel economy at near-top speeds, are lighter than predecessors. PHOTOAMERICAN MARC, the first U.S. diesel outboard, emphasizes economy over power. The opposed-piston motor has no carburetor and no spark plugs. It is also self-scavenging. But perhaps greatest boon to motorboating buffs will be engine's reduced fuel costs, increased safety from fire.