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Thread: The Harrison Racing Outboards - Legendary Birmingham Metal Products Alky Outboards

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    CANADIAN PRAIRIES REGION John (Taylor) Gabrowski's Avatar
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    Default The Harrison Racing Outboards - Legendary Birmingham Metal Products Alky Outboards

    With many thanks to Smitty-The-Welder I have scanned his documentation of these famous Birmingham Metal Products Inc. HARRISON ALKY OUTBOARD RACING ENGINES for archive posting on this site. When I was a teenager in stock outboard racing, these fast and record setting Alky racing engines went head to head against the British Anzanis, The Quincy/Merc Padded Block and Third Port Deflectors and soon enough the Quincy Flathead Loopers in Alky Classes A (15 cubes) and B (20 cubes). These engines could race so close with their loop charged counterparts it was a toss up as what would win on a given weekend. For those of you having these engines, cherish them. For those who might have a box of parts, here is a chance to take them out and re-assemble the engine. For those that have pictures of these great engines in competition with the other famous and great ones of their classes, we encourage you to post your pictures and tell your stories of where and when you were there with these engines competiting and the good times you had at the events as I did when I was a novice racer watching these engines being driven by some of the greats of Alky outboard hydro and runabout racing.
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    CANADIAN PRAIRIES REGION John (Taylor) Gabrowski's Avatar
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    Default Harrison Parts And Price Sheets Pictures

    Harrison Parts And Price Sheets.
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    Sam Cullis Mark75H's Avatar
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    Thanks, John & Smitty!

    I interviewed Kay Harrison a few years ago about these. Basically he and his father made them for about 2 years consuming the remaining supply of Anzani crankshafts when Anzani stopped production. They had been making (casting) many upgrade parts for Anzanis in the US for a few years prior to that.
    Since 1925, about 150 different racing outboards have been made.


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    CANADIAN PRAIRIES REGION John (Taylor) Gabrowski's Avatar
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    Default HRP - "Lodite" Castings - Harrison Products or

    In examining all the Anzani pistons both used, new ready and new unfinished, fully half the pistons have the casting marks "HRP" (aka Harrison Racing Products) and "Lodite" on the underside of the pistons skirts. Is "Lodite" the casting company? If so? Does anyone know where they were located and if they are still operating?

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    CANADIAN PRAIRIES REGION John (Taylor) Gabrowski's Avatar
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    Default The Harrison To British Anzani Relationship Spanned The Ocean?

    British Anzani - a company history ( The Harrison Connection?)

    1953 US ad for the Minor Outboard motor production became Anzani’s biggest selling (and perhaps best known) item over the years and numerous models were produced: the Minor (1955-79) a small ½hp general purpose dinghy motor, Super Single (1942-79 158cc, 5hp) the engine that was produced for the longest time and arguably the best known - another general workhorse. Jet (Single, 60cc, 3hp) a fibre glass cowled engine with ‘guarded drive’ protection for swimmers etc, Sports Twin (1950-51) 316cc 14hp, speedy but short lived, Unitwin (1951-67 Twin, 242cc 10hp, and 322cc 15hp, plus full race versions of both) the most advanced engine of it’s day, powerful and reliable, Pilot (Single, 60cc, 2.5hp) another general purpose engine with the distinguishing bar around the cowl, Seamaid (Single, 60cc 3hp) fibre glass cowled general purpose engine, Startwin (1960 Twin, 344cc, 18hp) renamed Magnatwin, powerful twin featuring ‘Contrastart’ electric start with instant forward or reverse, Supertwin 15 (Twin, 322cc, 15hp) streamlined fibre glass cowled Unitwin, Fleetwin 20 (Twin, 344cc, 20hp), Triton (1960 3 cylinder 30hp, 492cc), Magnatwin (1958-1960 Twin, 344cc, 18hp) a large electric start model which could be remotely controlled, Model 65 (1964-67 6.5hp), Model 180 (1964-67 18hp), Model 400 (1964-67 40hp) which were the Oliver/Perkins engines. There was also an inboard version of the 4hp Super Single called the ‘Dinghy Motor’ (1952).

    From 1957 to 1963 the Unitwin was imported to the US by legendary racer Bill Tenney of the Aeromarine Co. of Crystal Bay, Minnesota and they soon started winning races. Tenney added his considerable expertise to their development by communicating regularly with the factory making suggestions for improvements many of which Harrison incorporated. You could buy a full race Anzani Unitwin for $595 or $495 for the standard engine. Later the Anzani marque was sold by Millie and Kay Harrison of Birmingham Metal Products of Birmingham, Ohio who also added their modifications to the imported engines. When the British factory ceased production (c1967) they bought the remaining parts from England and assembled the engines themselves - making any missing parts in their factory - and sold the hybrid motors as ‘Harrisons’.

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    CANADIAN PRAIRIES REGION John (Taylor) Gabrowski's Avatar
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    Default Harrison Racing Outboard reconstruction coming soon to BRF

    In the not too distant future it will be my pleasure to take this thread further than the brochure stage already posted to an actual re-construction of a Harrison racing outboard with full pictures and commentary on the project that made Harrison Racing Products (HRP) famous. It too had crescent shaped exhaust stacks not unlike Anzani but it was its own engine that made its point and its records on the oval race tracks of North America.

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    Sam Cullis Mark75H's Avatar
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    As much as it was "its own engine" Kay Harrison humbly told me he was just assembling parts and making replacements as he could, until the supply of Anzani cranks ran out ... the end of both versions. Basically he extended the life of the Anzani 2 years beyond original factory support. Before the "Harrison" motor, Millie and Kay were making a lot of aftermarket upgrades that found their way to racer's Anzani's. With the end of British Anzani manufacture of the engine, these parts allowed the Harrisons to continue assembling and selling motors.

    In the 1960's you could not race a home made motor, you had to race a factory built motor with specs submitted by the factory each year, even in alky. With British Anzani out of racing, Millie and Kay had to "become the factory" (much the same way that Lyle Swanson became Hot Rod) and submit specs. Some of the parts the Harrisons made were just replacements that had become unavailable from British Anzani, but in many cases parts that had been Harrison aftermarket upgrades became standard parts on the motors.
    Since 1925, about 150 different racing outboards have been made.


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    CANADIAN PRAIRIES REGION John (Taylor) Gabrowski's Avatar
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    Default Sounds very much the facts

    That sounds very much like the way it was I only learned that here. At races in the 1960s I was at, racers very much registered their hydbrids being that is what you are saying they were . I iwould not have known that then what you have clairfied a few times here before, so I assume once they had the Harrison block assembly running it became a Harrison engine. So the distinction was made very publicly by announcers at these races that there were Anzanis, Harrisons, Quincys and Konigs racing in the fields of entries in A and B Alky then. It must be assumed then that few but racers who prepared and raced them knew that. Stock outboard racers like myself could only assume they were different though they had similar exhaust stack configurations that led most to assume they were some well engineered distinct engines of some similarity to Anzanis but different being Harrisons. Back then most racers unless they had intimate knwoledge assumed what most like me did.

    It will be of quite some interest when a Harrison is re-consructed and pictured here to show how Harrison used Anzani and their aftermarket HRP products to produce a very viable racing engine that set some outstanding records in their day.

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    Team Member Tim Chance's Avatar
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    Kay Harrison has given me eight 4 inch thick ring binders of Harrison Racing archive scrapbooks dating back to 1927 for me to post on the internet. Some I will be posting when I get Hydroplane Quarterly.com up and running again. Other material I will be posting here as time permits.

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    CANADIAN PRAIRIES REGION John (Taylor) Gabrowski's Avatar
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    Default What great luck to donate all that information

    Tim: What great luck and an honor being given and accepting such a historical task by Kay Harrison. From any standpoint in this historical effort a great big thank you is due Kay Harrison from all that enjoy the sport and its rich history that is being slowly and carefully being logged and disseminated.

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