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Thread: Fuji Outboard???

  1. #1
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Fuji Outboard???

    Same company that made Fuji Film???
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    Ron:

    I think I remember that the Yamato company that built the motors imported here into the US, both the Model 80, 102,202,302, etc., series., AND the alky racing motors, was owned by a parent company called FUJI Industries. They (FUJI), IF it is the same FUJI company I am thinking about, is a quite large integrated company with many other companies under the umbrella, including shipbuilding, aircraft manufacture, and other heavy industry. Many Japanese companies are like this, one large company, owning many smaller companies, manufacturing a multitude of products.

    The way the Japanese structure their companies, I would not think it unusual at all if FUJI film company was under the same umbrella. Don't have absolute knowledge, but I would think it is certainly possible. If you are further interested, perhaps "GOOGLE" FUJI, and the website might have a list of associated companies as corporate sites here in the US do.

    ADD: I am intrigued by the 6 cyl "C" motor in the photo. I notice that the photo and article on the "B" Yamato is written by a person named "Kaneko". Eileen and I know him quite well, and he entertained us and showed us around in Tokyo some years back, and we returned the favor when he was here in the US for several National and World championships held here in this country, when the Japanese Motor Boat Association sent drivers and equipment to participate. He was an official with the association, and is now retired, but I will send him an e-mail and see what he might know about the "C" motor. Evidently it was not very successful or it would seem they would have imported it to the US........., or, maybe not.

    We still get a Christmas card from him every year.

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    Team Member Bill Gohr's Avatar
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    yes, Fuji is a large engine company, they used to build Polaris' engines

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    Sam Cullis Mark75H's Avatar
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    The opposed 6 is a big surprise to me, I've never seen or read even a hint of such a motor.

    For a short period the Fuji 4 cylinder B motor held the BOH record. This was about a year after the piston port Konig V motors came out. Very soon after, Yamato came out with an identical motor.

    I don't know if I read it some where or just assumed that Fuji had also put in a bid to make motors for the Japanese gambling circuit ... and then Yamato acquired the tooling and engineers for the Fuji motor; becoming the Yamato RB and RC alky motors.

    If Bill Van's friend can confirm or deny this, it would be great.

    At about the same time the Yamato & Fuji crews attended the Worlds in Germany and a few teaser pics from there exist as well. I've been looking for more info on these for decades. In the German pics, there is no clue to the configuration of the Yamato alky motor.
    Since 1925, about 150 different racing outboards have been made.


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    Sam Cullis Mark75H's Avatar
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    Here are the pics from AOMC's Outboarder regarding the Fuji and early Yamato alky motor. I see they Yamato is designated "MT-5" ... completely different designation from the later "RB" which is clearly a later generation of the Fuji with the same designation.
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    Since 1925, about 150 different racing outboards have been made.


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    Default a little more info about Fuji

    On the Seattle Outboard site, various models of the engines used in parimutuel betting racing in Japan are represented. There were several before the Model 80, which is probably the first that was widely knowN here in the US, being imported by McKean at that time.

    The 80 is shown as being mfgd by "World Motor" or something similar, and I remember that name being on the manuals furnished with the motors also. A previous motor is shown as being mfgd by Fuji, and other previous and then later models after the 80 are shown by other companies including the name Yamato.

    Would be interesting to know if all these various named companies were under the umbrella of Fuji, and since the number of motors for this purpose were relatively small, the manufacture of same was farmed out to smaller companies and this was the reason for the number of companies that made the parimutuel motors that we are familiar with, i.e. Fuji or whoever changed the companies several times for whatever reason.

    I have to think that the Japan Motor Boat Association had much to do with the specification that the motors were built to, as they were the controlling body for the parimutuel racing in Japan. I think they still are and are now known by the name "MARIS". Hopefully my friend will know something about this history if I am able to get in touch with him.

    Most folks here in the US would probably be most familiar with FUJI as they are the parent company of Subaru. I looked briefly on the Fuji web site, but did not see any thing that
    would obviously connect them to Fuji film.

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    Sam Cullis Mark75H's Avatar
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    I thought 80's were actually imported by Tom Ige?
    Since 1925, about 150 different racing outboards have been made.


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    Default I could and have been mistaken (once) but............

    The first I remember about the Model 80 and boat racing here in this country was a special PRO commission meeting at the PRO Nationals at Hinton, W.V. (when Elvis died) and the Model 80 concept/engine was introduced, and consequently approved by the PRO category as a novice or beginner class, as AOH or what is now known as 250CC had gotten too fast for a beginners class in the PRO Category in most folks opinion, and it was felt by most that a beginners class in the PRO category was needed, and the Model 80 fit the bill perfectly, price wise and all other aspects. I seem to remember the engine was about 375.00/425.00 with prop and steering bar when it was first introduced. I do not remember whether the presentation was given by McKean or not, but he was said to be the importer of the engine, and most if not all of the Model 80's sold for use in the PRO category (Formula 350) were purchased from him, at least the ones I was familiar with that were sold in Texas and the Midwest. I am pretty positive about my memories regards this, as I was on the committee that wrote the rules for the Formula 350 class at it's inception. Not to say Tom Ige was not involved, just that McKean was the "public face" of the Yamato importation of motors into this country when it first started in the 70's. Later on I understood from Harry that Tom was more into the Model 80 and later models, and not so much into the "Alky/Racing" motors per se. Perhaps Ron could shed some light on this as based on previous posts I have seen from him, he and Tom were friends.

    Some time later I found out from Harry ZAK that Tom Ige was also a distributor on the west coast, but I personally had no knowledge of him for several years after the motor was first introduced by McKean. I did get to know him later after I was introduced to him by Harry, at DePue one year I believe. Tom was a big help in getting some "semi-finished" pistons without ring grooves from Yamato, that Harry then fitted with one "L" ring. This was the style piston that my record setting engines had in them. Tom also was interested in the RB class and had several engines worked on by Harry, and did compete in the class to some extent.

    I know Harry was given a motor (or several) by McKean in return for making a "cutaway" of one that was used by McKean to show interested parties just how the motor was constructed internally, and the quality that went into it. That cutaway showed all the internal working parts. It was a beautiful job and I have often wondered what happened to that engine.

  9. #9
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Tom Ige and the RB Class

    Someone needs to ask Jim McKean, but it seems Tom Ige was like the main importer, but Jim McKean was considered a distributor, the same that Tommy was.

    Tommy seemed to like the model 80 with the stinger and kept trying for the RB kilo record. He blew over in a kilo run and broke his back, and sad to say like most boat racers who get injured, it ends their career.

    Not long after Tommy's blow over he sold out and return to his native country (State) of Hawaii. He used to be listed in the phone in Maui, but isn't listed anymore. My brother tried to look him up last year, but we feel Tom Ige is gone!

    This is the full article on the Fuji Outboard.
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    Default Ige and Mckean

    McKean, from the time I first knew him in the early to mid 70's, always indicated he was the main person that was responsible for the Yamato engines being in the US.

    NOT TO SAY HE WAS OR WASN'T, just that was the impression I and others got from him in that time frame. I never heard him mention Tom Ige, although if he was trying to build a business around selling Yamato engines, both the type used in the parimutuel racing in Japan, and the "racing" variety, it is not unusual to NOT mention any other competition you might have, by anyone, not just Tom. As mentioned, I did not hear of Tom until several years after the introduction of the motors.

    That would not be unusual for someone who lived and raced east of the Rockies, as I did, because for most of us east of the Rockies, California was a foreign country as far as boat racing was concerned. The only time you saw anyone from there was at DePue and Alexandria in the time frame we are discussing. That is the way I became aware of the Goff and Hagness and Rhoades and Daniels boats, of which I had several and did well with them for a couple of years. Also met some very nice folks from out that way.

    I believe I remember that McKean was from California before he moved to Texas because of his job with Continental Airlines. Perhaps if Ige was the main importer, and they were both in California at the same time, that is how McKean hooked up with the Yamato deal back this way??

    I was certainly ALWAYS under the impression, as were most others on this side of the mountains, that McKean was the main person insofar as the Yamato engines were concerned, rightly or wrongly. I would think most others east of the Rockies, here and in that time frame, would tell you the same thing.

    It is a bit of history, certainly a large part because of what the parimutuel motors did to help boat racing (some in the stock category say it saved it) in the US.

    I did a little search on Yamato Motors Ltd., and came up with information from the company web site (all in Japanese, but it translates for you) that the company was started in July of 1951 with starting capital of 1 Billion. (Yen I suppose) The first name was "Sasakawa Industrial Co., Ltd.", and they started manufacturing motors in Tokyo in 1958. They also build all the boats used in the parimutuel racing and in July of 1971 a company called "Motorboat Co., Ltd. FUJI in collaboration with World Co. Ltd., was established. In 1978 both these company's merged together. In 2001 as new plant combining all manufacturing of boats and motors was constructed. The location of this plant is not clear because of translation problems.

    They also make a very nice tachometer that I have never seen before that is sold for "racing hydroplanes". No cost given on the site, and I have never seen it advertised here.

    One of the products this plant makes is a "rescue" boat powered by what looks to be about an 85 HP engine that is used in the event of an accident in the parimutuel racing, and possible other type racing there also. The boat has very low sides on each side between the front area where the controls are (enclosed cockpit area) and the rear where the motor is transom mounted. Best I can tell they can haul the whole boat/motor involved in an accident right up onto the rescue boat and get it off the course quickly, probably to expedite removal of damaged boats so as to get the races moving again as quickly as possible. Unlike our rescue boats here, it is not a pontoon type, but a V bottom type boat, but looks very well suited for the job intended.

    ADD: I wonder if the motors manufactured by "Fuji" that Ron mentions in the post above, were just marketed under the Yamato name, because that name was well established and recognized here and around the world by that time. I have a lot of questions to ask "Nikko" if I can still get hold of him.

    Also looks, by the date on the pictures in the paper Ron posted, that these "Fuji" alky racing motors were being run in 1970, which of course is prior to the introduction of the Yamato brand here in the US>

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