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Thread: Fuji Outboard???

  1. #11
    Sam Cullis Mark75H's Avatar
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    I'm pretty certain Tommy Ige was the guy who supplied Yamato with a couple new KG7Q's to copy back in the 1950's ... giving him an inside connection.
    Since 1925, about 150 different racing outboards have been made.


  2. #12
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    I have a copy of that same page that Ron posted. I always thought it weird to look in my collection of packrat news articles to have only one page of that magazine....now I find that Ron has one also. Without looking at it, I think it came out of an outboard tabloid of the day, and I am thinking that Ron and I must have both been handed the page in Portland, Oregon at the APBA Convention, or maybe at the APBA Convention held at Ceaser's Palace in Las Vegas. Tom Ige was at one of them, and I think it was Portland, but I could be wrong. I will see if I can find a date on one or the other sides of the page.

    I am like you Bill Van. I always thought Jim McKean was the importer of Yamato's until I met Tom. He was associated with Jim, and I took a picture of Tom at Yelm once when we raced there and Jim showed up, but was not racing. I didn't pay much attention at the time, but I was a little bit confused at finding out that Tom imported Yamatos. I thought they had separate territories. Since I didn't run Yamato's I didn't think anything more about it. Scott Smith's Konig distributorships didn't really mean anything regarding territorial lines, and dissappeared after the original dealerships fades, so what else was there to wonder about.

    However, I did get a long e mail from someone several years ago regarding Tom's importation of the Yamato's. He said he was a partner or associate of Tom's Yamato importation. He laid out a scenario where he and Tom were in business together on the importation of Yamatos and how things were supposed to go but didn't. I lost all my e mail from when I corresponded with him, but I know some of the facts he laid out were true. He did not want for me to post any of the things he made claim to,...only to lay out the facts from his point of view, and he did not want me to give out his name. From what he told me, it followed the facts that I was personally aware of, but added much that I did not know. I happen to believe what he told me was factual.

    Jim McKean is a friend of mine and I have seen him several times since I got this correspondence. I never asked about it because it serves no purpose, but since being with Jim and Tom Ige together several times, I'm guessing Tom was the importer of record for Yamato. Whatever other deals there were....maybe we will find out more later.

    ADD: Regardless of who actually was the Yamato importer, I don't think there can be any question but that it was Jim McKean who got them accepted and when the Japanese brought teams over to race...that was Jim McKean.



  3. #13
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default We Need tro Contact Jim...

    I think Jim was from Texas before he came to California. I often thought Tom Ige helped the Japanese build the Yamato. BUT Jim McKean made serious bucks in those days flying and he may very well have been the guy that got the deal together. Tommy had been in the military and had just retired when he moved to California...

    In an old 1952 See and Spray, I think, Tommy had written a letter to the editor saying he was in the military but liked racing boats.

    Anyone got Jim McKean's number, we should call him!

  4. #14
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    Default Completely agree with you Wayne.............

    about your comments regards McKean and the efforts he made to get the Yamato 80 approved in the PRO category in that time frame, and also his connections with the drivers sent over from Yamato to compete here in the US. If you look at almost any video taken when a Japanese team is represented here in the US, you will generally see McKean somewhere in the picture. I never saw Tom (that I can remember) in that postition. As mentioned in my earlier post, Harry ZAK was quite enthused about both the Model 80 and the PRO motors being brought over starting in the early to mid 70's and I never heard him mention Tom Ige until later on, probably late 70's, it was always McKean mentioned insofar as parts availability, motor specs, etc., and I never heard him mention Tom until Harry started working on the Model 80 as an RB engine. Harry had a lot of input into the rules governing the RB class also, and was the Chairman of the RB tech committee. Tom was very helpful with Model 80 parts to Harry when Harry was doing a lot of RB/Model 80 work for me and others. I never asked why Harry was going to Tom for parts later on instead of McKean, perhaps price had something to do with it.

    That lack of business with Tom at first could have very possibly been because of Tom Ige's location in California, and I don't remember him at DePue until the RB class came along in the early 80's, but I never heard Harry discuss any reason for it.

    I did not know until Ron's earlier post that he had broken his back in a Kilo attempt. I know Harry did lots of work for him doing some of the same modifications to a engine for him that he had done for me. Any idea how fast he was going when the accident happened??

  5. #15
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default I Can't Remember...

    I can recall this...Tom Ige was dedicated to the concept that the MODEL 80 woul last longer than I would. He tried to pull my brother on water skiis in Needles and the boat went backward. My brothe could pull Tommy...JT Snaowe (The Future Pro Baseballer) and my nephew Bunker Hill tried like hell to wear a Yamato 80 out, but failed.


    I went from thinking the Yamato was "JUNK" to thinking it was gold.

    By the 1977 Bakerfield Natioanls we had 26 B "LOCAL" HYdros as we called the model 80. Our Novie class, the brass prop class, somewhat like NorCal 400 (Later to become OSY 400) has 13-16 boats each race...

    MOD VP was gowing like crazy...I had two MOD VP's running 6-8 times a year, and I lost rack of the Yamato deal, partly, becasue they started letting people cut on the geracases, grind ports....

    In '77 I had a new Bezoat DSH, that would run 76 MPH at Indio...72 MPH at Bakerfield, and Tommy's RB was faster than me. BUT I usually could beat him becuase I had raced for 22 years and he was a new driver. Tommy and I were great friends, worked boat shows together.......but I told him, injuries cause people to quit racing. He supported the club with advertising...and raced at every race.

    I broke the 35 SS Runabout and 35 SS Hydro KILO RECORD IN THE SPRING OF '77, but Tommy didn't get hurt then...We ran kilos at Parker between Christmas and New Years, 1983....Jim McKean broke a record or two as did Denny Henderson...but Tommy wasn't running an RB then...

    I don't know when he got hurt. I do know his wife never like SoCal....They lived in a bad area of Gardena....In fact, now that I think about it, Tom offered the distributorship before he sold it to Rick Montoya. At the time, I said, I wanted to put all my effort to MOD VP....That was before Mercury ruined the class!

  6. #16
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    Ron:

    Thanks for the additional info about Tom Ige. I did not know him well, but we spent time together when he came back to DePue, and we talked about the Model 80 RB engines a lot, as that was both the baseline engine for the class, and what we both were running.

    Regards your comment about the Yamato, "from JUNK to GOLD. and the boys trying to wear one out:

    Harry ZAK said that if one were run in the "stock configuration" or as they run them in Japan in the parimutuel racing over there, they would probably run forever, or at least go a long, long, long, time before the rings wore out enough that lowered the compression and the motor would not start anymore. The key to the engine's longevity, according to Harry, was everything in the engine (rotating parts) was built to withstand about three times the HP and RPM the motor would develop unmodified, with the two very small reed valves and openings for same in the crankcase, and the small carb on the motor. Just could not get enough fuel in the engine when it was un-modified to exceed the RPM it was designed to operate at with a LARGE margin of reliability.

    The engine I set the Kilo record with still only had one 25MM carb on it, but it was very highly modified otherwise, intake and exhaust port wise (Harry made new sleeves from LA Sleeve blanks) and many other things also. Main problem we had towards the end is I was running the motor about 10.5 to 11K and even with the crank balanced it vibrated so bad as any two cylinder alternate firing engine is bound to do, that I was breaking the Yamato cast aluminum tower housings that we were using at that time. Two or three races would completely crack a tower housing all the way around. We had to go to a Harrison tower housing to stop that problem and other things started breaking and falling off due to vibration, primarily pipe brackets and such. That was the straw that broke the camels back as far as the motor being competitive anymore against the Quincy Z motor in RB, as it used a full circle Yamaha based crank and was much smoother at high RPM. In addition we were at a displacement disadvantage as the Model 80 was about 25CC smaller with the largest pistons available as the Z motor was a full 350CC.

  7. #17
    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Seems like Jim at one time lived in Arizona. That may have been between California and Texas. When he moved to Mabank, Texas a hundred miles (or maybe less) southeast of Dallas, he was officially working out of San Francisco. He would catch a plane from DFW and fly to his base in Frisco, then fly the non stop route for Continental between San Francisco and Tokyo. He flew only every 3, 4 or 5 days I forget. The non stop took so long, they had to rest up a few days before the next one by FAA rules.

    I get emails from Jim fairly often, but I don't open them anymore. About a year ago he must have switched to a different provider and they want me to give them my cell number to open it. I don't know what that would lead to, so I've missed out on some very good pictures of some of Sean's racing in the last year.



  8. #18
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    This is a photo I took of the 6-cylinder racing Fuji motor located at the Yamato factory in 2018. Name:  Fuji.jpg
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    Thanks Mark75H, Ron Hill thanked for this post
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  9. #19
    David Weaver David Weaver's Avatar
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    My dad was co-race director with Pop Augustine of the 1977 PRO Nationals. I recall answering the phone one night, shortly before the nationals. It was Tom and he wished to discuss some logistics about the Yamato team coming to Hinton. The team was very nice and curious about the US style of racing. I certainly recall Jim spending much time with that team.

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