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  1. #1
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    Evinrude & Johnson Racing 1967+

    Back in the 1920's, 30's and 40's outboard racing got as much press as car racing or football (football wasn't really a major event until the TV age) and the OMC brands were some of the major race motor makers. During the early years they were separate companies that were started by people with the names Evinrude, Johnson, Lockwood and Ash. The Evinrudes had actually gotten out of the outboard business (sold out to investors) and came back in after an extended sabbatical as ELTO (Evinrude Light Twin Outboard). During the 1930's most of the outboard companies fell on very hard times. Stephen Briggs of Briggs and Stratton saw potential in combining the brands, the manufacturing facilities and the engineering know-how represented by these brands. As they became available at discount prices thru the early 1930's he scooped them up ... except for ELTO. Ole and Bess Evinrude were actually doing acceptibly well with ELTO. Briggs enticed them with the Evinrude Outboard name. If they would sell ELTO to him, he would put Ole in charge of the combined company, including his namesake and that of his former major competitor, with no money out of Ole's pocket.

    Eventually Ole and Bess agreed and OMMC was formed ... with Briggs becoming the first person to hold a majority stake in 2 companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Managment and debt consolidation along with Evinrude and Briggs' cautious managment and available cash kept the OMC brands alive thru the rest of the depression and war years. At the end of the war, Ole and Bess retired again, but their son Ralph wasn't yet a powerful figure in OMC ... in the late 1940's when asked to resume production of the loss leader racing motors, Briggs refused. This opened up the racing motor field to newcomers like Champion, Martin and eventually Kiekhaefer during the early 1950's.

    For 20 years the great racing motor names of Evinrude and Johnson faded from the front pages to dusty memories of castor oil and nitromethane. "Stock" racing outboards of the 1950's replaced the old OMC pure racers as the main show at most races and European brands like Anzani, Konig and Crescent dominated the pure alcohol racing classes where they still were THE show.

    Around 1960 behind the scenes, Ralph Evinrude's star was rising in OMC and Mr. Briggs was easing out. In 1961 Ralph put up some of his own money to have Evinrude's name on some new speed records and the battle with Mercury was begun. Little by little OMC's engineering department was easing into the race scene. Over at Mercury things were a little shakey with the merger with Brunswick that turned out to be more of a take over than merger. One of the causualities was chief engineer Charles D. Strang. He left Mercury in 1964 and tried to form his own engineering consulting company. It didn't really take off, Ralph took advantage of that and woo'ed Strang to work at OMC a few years later. One of Strangs secret OMC projects was revealed in 1967 ... the revival of OMC racing, starting with the 115 hp V-4 racers
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails X-115.36.sm.jpg   GT-115-ad.r.jpg  
    Last edited by Mark75H; 11-02-2006 at 06:51 PM.

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  3. #2
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    These motors were souped up versions of the 89ci 100hp OMC fishing motors with a special thinner, higher prop speed, low water pick up lower unit that still had full gearshifting ability, so they didn't run in the all out racing class with Mercs with Speedmasters, they ran in stock production classes.

    I can just about imagine the veins standing out on Kiekhaefer's head, his eyes turning watery red and smoke coming out of his ears when he learned about the 115's

    With nothing close to counter them, Kiekhaefer sat on the sidelines when OMC race motors showed up and kept telling himself "They are limted production racing motors" and real OMC 's can't beat real Mercs. His real answer came in 1968 with the 1250BP.

    Here's DaveS's hand holding something from the hidden treasure room ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails X-115 top gears.JPG  

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  5. #3
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    Another view of the 115 lower unit

    The gear ratio was 14:23 instead of 16:28

    The bullet diameter of a pleasure V-4 was 4 9/32", the X motors' bullets were 3 1/16 vs. 4 1/8 for a full gear shift Merc
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails x-115-lowers.jpg  
    Last edited by Mark75H; 11-02-2006 at 06:59 PM.

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  7. #4
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    Great Info!!! More OMC stuff is needed here lately !!!!

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  9. #5
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    1968 rolled around and ol' Carl Kiekhaefer sure enough came out with the BP Mercs. OMC's counter punch was to bore the 89 ci 115's out to 99.6 while keeping the 115 numbers on the covers. Racers that looked like the same motors from the year before - went even faster

    Upgrade #2 for 1968 was a new racing lower unit option with the same 2 1/8 bullet size as a Merc Super Speedmaster and 1:1 gears.

    Here's one of them from the secret treasure room:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails X-115Dave'sShort.1to1e.jpg  
    Last edited by Mark75H; 11-02-2006 at 07:31 PM.

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  11. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamppanther
    Great Info!!! More OMC stuff is needed here lately !!!!
    Ditto!.......Here's a couple shots of a nice GT115.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nice GT115 back.JPG   Nice GT115 front.JPG   Nice GT115.JPG  

  12. #7
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    Thank you Bill! Those are great shots and fit exactly where we need them in the thread. Anyone have a 1968 pic?

    If everyone can only post corrections, updates and better pictures in chronoligic order as we go (as has been done so far ) the thread will have more value. If it eventually goes to much out of order, I'll delete it and start over with the corrections all in order to preserve my original intent and the value of the thread.

    I hate books that jump back and forth in the time line ... Jeff Rodengen are you listening?

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  14. #8
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    The "thinner" props you refer to were actually a unique design in Nybral from the fertile mind of Don Heinrich.......

    The first OMC "race" engines showed up at the 1966 Orange bowl regatta, with powerheads farmed out to a fellow on Long Island...... and Hubbell lower units. These things ran fast and sounded great..but didn't last in multi hour competition. This was OMC's first salvo across Carl's bow.

    A year later...the 115's appeared.

    George Linder and I ran them for a season.....before returning to Merc's.

    T2x
    20 Foot Switzer Wing 2 X S3000 (Dust'n the Wind II)
    !6 foot Wood Eltro Vee (2X Merc 1500's) (Dust'n the Wind IV)
    15 foot Powercat 15C (2 X Merc 1500) (Dust'n the Wind III)
    (Single engine boats are lacking something)
    15 Wooden Switzer Shooting Star...
    16 foot Lee Craft Merc S 3000-(Gold Dust II)
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  16. #9
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    X-115

    Here Is A Few Shots Of An X-115 Hard To Get Good Pics Where I Have It Located
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Picture 083.jpg   Picture 084.jpg   Picture 082.jpg  

  17. #10
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    Thumbs up X 115

    Anyone know if this X 115 is still around and if it's "For Sale"

  18. #11
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    Here's a nice set of 115's from the day... on George Linder's Eltro. Just thought I would share. Henry


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  20. #12
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    When the GT 115's came out they used the belt driven distributor and the 1967 Prestolite CD ignition system, which was not always reliable, thought it did have a hot spark. Some racers converted the motors to use the old V-4 belt-driven magneto for reliability in long races.

    Another thing about those motors were the exhaust ports. Originally the 2 middle ports were squared off and the 2 outer ones left round. The factory then squared all 4 ports for some of their special drivers which made the motors run a bit stronger. If I remember correctly there was an exchange with Jack Leek and the engine inspectors at one race. When questioned why some engines only had 2 squared ports and others had four square ports, Jack replied with a straight face to the official , "Different vendors", he said.
    Last edited by seahorse; 10-04-2009 at 07:13 AM.

  21. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by M75 View Post
    Here's a nice set of 115's from the day... on George Linder's Eltro. Just thought I would share. Henry

    The lady on the boat is Michelina Martel, George's long time business partner.

    I actually tested that hull while that photo shoot was taking place. The boat (an 18 foot Eltro) was a REAL handful. George thought he needed the power to win at Havasu........an example of too much of a good thing.

    I raced that hull the following season with only two of those engines and that was more than enough..........

    T2x
    Last edited by T2x; 10-04-2009 at 07:39 PM.
    20 Foot Switzer Wing 2 X S3000 (Dust'n the Wind II)
    !6 foot Wood Eltro Vee (2X Merc 1500's) (Dust'n the Wind IV)
    15 foot Powercat 15C (2 X Merc 1500) (Dust'n the Wind III)
    (Single engine boats are lacking something)
    15 Wooden Switzer Shooting Star...
    16 foot Lee Craft Merc S 3000-(Gold Dust II)
    (The exception proves the rule)
    Obsolete and Proud of it

  22. #14
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    cool stuff...

    Blazer VLX150 w/ 225 Johnyrude
    Hydrostream Viper (sold)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0OA6oxZoTg
    Westwind mx15

  23. #15
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    By the way...notice the shine on the paint job.....The boat is wood and all painting was done ....with a brush!

    T2x
    20 Foot Switzer Wing 2 X S3000 (Dust'n the Wind II)
    !6 foot Wood Eltro Vee (2X Merc 1500's) (Dust'n the Wind IV)
    15 foot Powercat 15C (2 X Merc 1500) (Dust'n the Wind III)
    (Single engine boats are lacking something)
    15 Wooden Switzer Shooting Star...
    16 foot Lee Craft Merc S 3000-(Gold Dust II)
    (The exception proves the rule)
    Obsolete and Proud of it

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