View Full Version : The 44xs introduction.

03-05-2006, 06:47 AM
I thought this would be a good place to start this discussion. I hope I am right.
My question is this:
Can anyone tell me how the Merc 44xs (and 25xs) motors were introduced into APBA's stock outboard division? What I'd like to learn is, What kind of APBA comittee was used to create and oversee new engines and/or new classes? What was the first year the 44xs was a legal D stock motor? Were there any Mark 58 type(44c.i.) owners who were displaced and disgruntled by this transition? Those motors used to be raced in a class called E stock, right? The only other legal D stock motor to compete with the 44xs back then was the 40c.i. merc, right?
Also, was the Merc challenge series of races backed by Mercury Marine? Was the Merc challenge proposed for the new engines in the their first racing year? How long did the Merc challenge promotion last?

I know this is a lot of information to ask for. I'd be thankful for any tidbits you folks could teach me. I was racing in a local non-APBA club during the years all this transpired, so I missed it. Now I'd like to learn about it to help give myself a little historical perspective. I'd buy a book about it if there were one that covered this history.
Thanks. :)

Tim Weber
03-05-2006, 07:30 AM
Here is what I can remember about all that.

I am much more up on the D as I ran it when the 44XS was introduced.

First, there was no stock E class. The 44 deflectors were only run in the mod's at that time.

The first 44X's were consistently out run by good 55H's.
They had problems initially figuring out carbs. The would load up in the turns.
Also, they wouldn't wind up as well as they do now. They were just too tight. Guys like Weinandt started to see what made one go and that was the end of the 55. Overall D numbers dropped with the 44XS simply because of the cost factor. At that time a 44XS cost $2500. That was thought of as nuts at the time as the best 55 out there would sell for maybe $800. I can remember racing DSR with 8 or 9 boats and only one or two were powered by the 44. By about the 2nd year out the 44xs were seeing speeds in DSR of over 70 consistently. A really good 55 would see 68-70. The other thing was that Mercury kicked off the challenge series. This was to promote the new 44XS and 25XS. If you ran a 55H it had to be painted and decaled like a 44XS.
Simply, the 55 couldn't compete and it just faded away.

The 25xs was more warmly received. The first ones had a long tower and were screaming fast compared to the 25ss. This was before height restrictions. I was told that a good runabout would run in the mid 60's.
The challenge series really kicked off the motor. They had elims at most of the series races and they ran for some pretty good money too. It soon became apparent that Mercury built a hand grenade. They motors had a light flywheel and broke lots of cranks. So, to combat the problem they went to a heavier flywheel. This helped with the self destruct problem but now it wouldn't slow down when you dropped the throttle. I think in year 2 or 3 they adopted the shorty tower and height restrictions came in and carb restrictions came in around here too.

I can't comment on the politic side as I wasn't involved.


03-05-2006, 12:41 PM
Tim did a good job. I can add these details: The first year for the 44xs was 1987, my notes say it cost $3100. $2500 might have been a special introduction price or something.

The 25xs came out the year before (1986) on the tall 25ss like tower & foot, and was changed to the short tower (& new style zoomie foot) when the short tower became available under the 44xs in 1987.

If I understand correctly the 25xs came directly into the existing 25ss class and probably came to dominate more due to its shorter profile than any power increase over the 25ss motor.

The 25ss class was started around 1970 by a group of guys in Region 3. Originally you could use just about any 22 ci 25 hp powerhead over a B Quickie. The choice powerhead turned out to be the Evinrude or Johnson 25, which was greatly frowned upon by the powers at Mercury Marine Inc. Merc corporate even threatened to end sales of all Quicksilver lower units and other small racing parts if the original rules were allowed to continue. In 1973 Merc introduced the 25ss and rules were rewritten to make it the only legal motor. 25ss's were produced thru 1981.

The 44xs foot & tower are different from the 55H foot & tower because the 55H dies had accidentally been scrapped and new dies had to be made.

The Merc Challenge Series was sponsored by Merc. Like Tim said, if you raced a 55H it had to have the 1980's style decal on it and you had to have a smooth flat cowl to stick the decal on. Merc sold 55H replacement cowls that were smooth and flat so you could put the new decal on it.

The OMC 15ss and 45ss were also introduced in 1986.

03-06-2006, 01:33 PM
i believe when mercury did the merc. challenge it was limited to 25ss run. hydro, an 44 hydro.the d runabout was not included?? !!a 55h did win the top o michigan marathon this year, know the prop. personally.

03-08-2006, 10:06 AM
Thanks all for taking the time to share this info with me. This is good stuff, keep it coming if anyone has any more they'd like to add.

John (Taylor) Gabrowski
03-09-2006, 07:54 PM
In stock racing the advent of the Merc XS engines in relations to what was already there with the H engines especially in Class D Stock did a disservice to stock racing only sanctioning bodies would let get by. When things only got scarce the way they are getting today and worse are sanctioning bodies looking at alternatives to declining class entries. Class D Stock is about the best example of corporate bullying to sink a whole load of Merc 55Hs from running ever again. Now that things are scarce and there is no Mercury facotry support for class D engines is now left to the hands of private builders to keep the class going. Allowing the Mercury 55Hs to use Mark 58 type 44 cubic inch Mercurys to keep H type engines running was innovative and should be expanded because they are now in principle no different than the Merc 44XS is. All things being relative its interesting that the collector's value of a prime Mercury 55H is not far off the money for a vintage in used condition Mercury 44XS from some disaffected racer, so we are kind of back where things costing similar all over again.

There seems to be some truth that there are a whole bunch of Mercury 55H's ready to be rebuilt to Mark 58 - 44 cube specs if governing bodies in the USA become oriented to serving their members first as opposed to manufacturers interests in keeping things status quo? It would be some show with Merc 44Xs, Mariner 44Xs, Mark 55Hs, Mark "58" Hs and Tohatsu's all out there trying things on for size. That would be racing again. :)

03-20-2006, 03:05 PM
The new Merc 25xs was introduced in 1985 on the long tower.

A few guys ran them that year at the Dayton Nationals. Steve Warnock was one of them. In fact, he won that year.

The Merc 44xs took 1 season to get tuned up.

It won the Nationals at Hinton in 1987. Jon Stone.