View Full Version : Waaaaaaaaaay back to the beginning

01-16-2005, 04:54 PM
The first made for racing outboards sold to the public were made by Caille in 1925. They were opposed twins with piston port intake. What set them apart from the Caille fishing motors was a streamlined lower unit.


01-16-2005, 05:04 PM
The second generation Caille racer had a lower unit that could have the prop mounted on the back in the normal way - or on the front. Here is the prop on front, in the tractor postion

01-16-2005, 05:15 PM
That lower unit on the left was typical of outboards in the 1920's.

This update of the Caille also featured an alternate spark plug location in the end of the cylinder instead of the top ... depending on which you thought worked better.

Caille wasn't the very first to make a smooth fully streamlined lower unit, but it was one of the earliest. In fact, they had stolen the idea from Johnson. Johnson had the patent on lower unit streamlining for high speed (in the 20+ mph range!) outboards. Seems unreal 80 years later that the idea of a smooth streamlined case would help an outboard go faster compared to a clunky bolt together with external flanged case, but in 1923 it wasn't obvious. Ignoring Johnson's patent would come back to haunt Caille in the 1930's.

01-17-2005, 09:19 PM
The next maker to step up making racing outboards was not in the US, but England. Watermota was the name. I'm trying to find my image of the Watermota "Speedmodel". I'll post it when I find it in a few days, along with the specs of the motor.

01-23-2005, 09:05 PM
Here's the 1927~ Watermota Speed Model from England.

15 cubic inches (346cc)
3" bore X 3" stroke
single forward facing cylinder
Amal carb, ML magneto

Seagull 170
01-24-2005, 11:09 AM
I drove through Hampton wick this afternoon, sorry I saw no trace of the factory, so I don't think there currently being produced.

01-24-2005, 04:04 PM
The Speed model was abandoned in 1930 and all outboard production stopped in 1935 when Fair saw the awesome production capacity of the US outboard companies during a trip to North America.

Here's Peter Hunn's picture of the Watermota Speed Model from the Antique Outboard Club's Magazine .... "The Outboarder", dated October 1997

Seagull 170
01-24-2005, 04:38 PM
Sorry 75H I was extracting the urine.
Walter D. Fair & Co. Pembroke Engineering Works, Hampton Wick, Kingston-on-Thames were an inporter of American Waterman outboards from 1912, in 1919 the British Admiralty asked Fair's company to manufacture a clone of the 1916 3.5hp single which they dubbed Watermota.
By the mid 1930's Fair felt he could not compete against the growing number of British manufacturers , let alone the might of the Americans, so they ceased outboard production, although I'm told they continued producing
Thanks C. P.

01-27-2005, 07:57 PM
1928 began the era that most antiquers would be familiar with. The Johnson brothers offered racing versions of 3 motors: The B class KR40

01-27-2005, 08:16 PM
This first "KR" was unlike the KR's that would follow. It was a 19 cubic inch 10 horseposwer opposed twin .... increased from the standard Johnson model K's 7 1/8 horsepower ........wooooooo hoooooo!

The next motor up was the racing version of the 29 cubic inch 13.15 hp P40 "Big Twin". It became the PR40 with 16 hp. Again, this was an opposed twin.

01-27-2005, 08:46 PM
The third Johnson was their grand master piece ... the TR-40 "Giant" Twin racer. Again, a 2 cylinder opposed 2 cycle with piston port intake. The Giant Twin truely was giant at 49 cubic inches. Putting out a whopping 25 3/4 hp it was a bit too much for the streamlined racing lower unit they built for it and was a little lacking on the endurance side of things. Only a few examples of the TR-40 survive today.

Mechanically the Johnson racers differed from their fishing stable mates by being equipped with narrower streamlined lower units with gear ratios allowing the propellers to turn faster, and pistons made from light weight aluminum instead of cast iron. The lighter pistons allowed the motors to rev up 500 to 1000 more rpm and make a little more power. Johnson parts books also show different part numbers for P40 and PR40 cylinders. Even though they appear the same on the outside, they are quite different internally, giving the racer a much higher compression ratio and larger exhaust ports. The early TR40's and PR40's used the same bronze connecting rods as the fishing motors, but later in 1928 they switched to a light weight steel connecting rod with roller bearings on the “big” (crankshaft) end. The KR40 fit in class A, the PR40 in class C and the TR40 in E.

I'll try to dig up some photos of these early Johnson racers.

01-27-2005, 08:48 PM
Caille updated their racer as the Model 30 in 1928

The Model 30 was the last Caille to carry the air shutter extra air inlets. The carb was set pretty rich to make starting easy and was small-ish to allow reasonable low rpm operation. Once you were warmed up and going you could open 2 little extra air shutters on the intake manifold to let in more air and go faster. This probably worked better than a larger carb would have worked given the 1920's carb technology.

01-27-2005, 09:08 PM
Ole Evinrude had been making a 4 cylinder opposed motor for a few years and in mid 1928 came out with a racing version of it as the "Hi Speed Quad" ELTO (Evinrude Light Twin Outobard).

Though not explicitly advertised and sold as a racing only motor, the "Hi Speed Quad" model 308, did quite well as a racer. Actually the 308 model number was given later probably when ELTO was consolidated into OMC. All the Quads used four separately cast cylinders on a common crankcase with the center main bearing dividing them in to two chambers. Each crankcase chamber had its own Tillotson carb. Battery ignition made by Atwater Kent provided spark from two front mounted ignition coils. The speedy new ELTO used light weight “Lynite” aluminum pistons and connecting rods instead of the standard Quad's cast iron pistons and rods. To reduce friction the Hi Speed Quad used 1/8 inch wide piston rings compared to the standard 3/16 rings. The streamlined lower unit used 16:24 gears and the housing was two pieces bolted together, split horizontally. This motor was rated at 18 hp at 4800 rpm. At 39.9~ cubic inches this motor fit in class D.

01-27-2005, 09:11 PM
Here's an example of why you should be a member of the Antique Outboard Club of America if you are at all interested in these old motors. This is a picture from the club's private "inner sanctum". This is just one of many images of remarkable resorations of old and rare "old iron"

01-27-2005, 09:25 PM
Lockwood had 2 models that won a lot of races in the mid 20's without being special racing motors. Other companies' racing models already mentioned may have been made to try to keep up with Lockwood's standard models:

01-27-2005, 09:26 PM
Lockwood Chief

Peter Crowley
01-28-2005, 05:10 AM
Lockwood came out in 1928 with a new pair of models. The ACE was an A class engine and the CHIEF was a B class engine. Both dominated the record books that year (1928) in these two classes. The real secret to Lockwoods success was the young mechanical engineer Finn Irgins. He was one of the leading two-stroke engine experts of the time.... In fact being able to secure his services was one of the reasons that Evinrude/ELTO purchased Lockwood in 1929. For that year (1929), Lockwood mostly left the ACE and CHIEF engines alone (except for an underwater exhaust). The ACE still continued to dominate in the A class for 1929 only. Lockwood produced a special "Racing Chief" engine with many racing feartures. It drew attention because of its round red gas tank. On the practical side, it had dual carburetors, a lightweight flywheel and an added oiling system that featured glass "oilers". It was limited production, but even this special engine wasn't enough to be as competitive as it was the year before with their production engine! In 1929, Lockwood was developing an engine that would later become the Evinrude 4-60. Finn soon became chief engineer at OMC and worked shoulder to shoulder with Ole Evinrude.
With several manufacturers all developing engines for racing, it wasn't surprising that an engine quickly became obsolite after a single season. Increases in horsepower grew with every offering.

01-28-2005, 08:59 PM
Thanks, Peter! :)

2 carbs, the smaller flywheel off of the 1928 Ace, the red gas tank
look closely between the flywheel and the gas tank and you will see a glass cylinder with brass top and bottom. That is the oil resevoir to directly lubricate the bearings, that Peter has mentioned.

.... I'm sure "Irggy" put more goodies inside than out.

The 92BR has very distinctive squarish intake horns in front of the carbs.

Power was increased from 11hp at 4,200 rpm to 14 hp at 4,800 rpm

The 92BR weighed about 75 pounds

This 92BR belongs to Mike Lynch:

01-28-2005, 09:10 PM
Happy owner of a Racing Chief

01-28-2005, 09:29 PM
In 1929 Caille had 2 racers in the stable. The model 34 "Champion" replaced the model 30.

The Champion claimed 14 hp at a remarkable 6,500 rpm.


01-28-2005, 09:38 PM
“Monarch” model 44 a new racing model to compete in class C. The Monarch was below its maximum potential in class C because it was just 23.75 cubic inches, 6 ¼ cubic inches under the 29.99 limit for C motors. The bore was 2 3/4 by 2 stroke.

The Monarch used a single Tillotson MS21 carb, the Bosch ignition and the same tractor lower unit.


02-02-2005, 08:59 PM
Before 1929 was over the 34 and 44 were replaced with the 36 and 46


02-02-2005, 08:59 PM
There is a mention somewhere about another British made racing outboard using a Prestwick "JAP" 4 cylinder 4 stroke powerhead called a "Roness" making over 14 hp @5,000 rpm in 1928

No clue as to what it looked like, nor if it had its own lower unit or borrowed from something else already in production.

If anyone ever comes up with a picture of a Roness, it would be nice to see it here.

02-02-2005, 09:01 PM
Don Salisbury's 1929 ELTO Hi-Speed Quad model #306


02-24-2005, 06:58 PM
Here is a car with 2 boats headed for the races. The car is almost as unique as the boats, it is an air cooled Franklin. Notice both pairs of doors are hinged at the back, the hood is fairly plain, fancy hub caps, fairly plain but large grill 2 peice bumper (pretty straight) mostly flat fenders and wire wheels. Something very distinctive about the car is the rear view mirrors mounted on the front fenders and there are no louvers on the hood.

I won't have as much trouble with the boats, I think they are Cutecrafts.

Peter Crowley
02-25-2005, 05:36 AM
Sam- What a great picture! I get a kick out of the trailer! The point that this illustrates is that back in the mid-to-late 20's, they were doing the SAME thing that we are doing. Just a thought when we see these photos and laugh to ourselves- they did it 75 years BEFORE we did it!
The boats aren't Cute-Crafts... similar but Cute-Craft didn't have a stepped bottom. Cute-Craft had a concave bottom like a sea-sled. This might be a pair of Hooton step hydros.

02-25-2005, 06:54 AM
Some things just don't change. Look at these boats jammed up in the first turn in 1929 or 30.

In the second image see if you can help me identify the motors.

Peter Crowley
02-25-2005, 01:33 PM
More great pictures! The racers back then were rather smart. They even had graphite bottom coatings to reduce friction. Their problem was... along with improving performance, they had to develope the hydroplane and create the sport all at the same time!
The boats "rounding the turn" almost had to be early 1929. They had the familiar "Letter"+"number" boat numbers which was a new rule in 1929, so we know that it can't be before then.... but, steering with a tiller handle which was common in 1928, gave way to the steering wheel during the 1929 season. Upon closer look- they do have steering wheels! They are in a driving position which looks like they are using tillers.... must be their driving style! At this time they didn't have throttles yet, nor were the spark advance levers locked in position! The two front boats have the mechanical tachometers attached to a special flywheel nut. It looks like second place has an engine sporting dual carburetors! I also noticed the bar that looks like it comes from the "cavitation plate" area and up to the bottom of the muffler or fuel tank. Perhaps a support for the gastank weight in rough water?
I have seen pictures of the earlier step hydros that were longer.... tiller steered. They had the "Sunkist Kid", "Bubbles" and "Black Maria". I think that the photo was in the front few pages of Rusty Rays book on the 1974 Dayton, OH Stock Outboard Nationals.

06-29-2005, 10:37 AM
Peter, you are right about boat racers being smart ..... boat racers were the first ones to use steering wheels with outboard motors.

Here's a Johnson ad from 1928

12-09-2006, 03:19 PM
My research has turned up 2 model numbers for 1929 ELTO High Speed Quads, 306 and 329. The differences may have been ignition or lower unit variations.

12-09-2006, 03:24 PM
With the success of the High Speed Quad ELTO motors, ELTO released High Speed versions of their 2 cylinder the High Speed "Speedster"

OMC literature designates these as model numbers 302 and 303 for 1929 models

If anyone has pictures of these models it would be appreciated

12-09-2006, 03:29 PM
The original Evinrude company no was longer owned nor run by Ole and Bess Evinrude, but Evinrude's new owners didn't want to be left behind so they started a racing program as well.

1929 Evinrude "SpeediTwin" Models "US" and "UL" were the first racing Evinrudes. Model 147 Speeditwin was probably a late 1929 model. I'm not sure these motors had anything besides a bigger carb and some porting/head work.

12-09-2006, 03:41 PM
Over at Johnson the Giant Twin racer stayed on as the TR-45

Real news showed up with 2 completely new racing powerheads

A 39.87 ci opposed 4 pulling up to 36 hp @ 5,500 rpm with rotary valve intake timing and a big Vacturi AO500 carb, the VR-45

And a class B 19.93 ci rotary valve opposed twin motor, the SR-45

12-29-2006, 02:51 PM
For today I have some images of boats of the 1929 - 1930 era

Check out the steering in the Penn Yan. All outboard boat remote steering derives from these early racers; steering wheels and remote controls were not used on fishing outboards until some time in the future. I think the motor is the VR-45 Johnson I mentioned above.

12-08-2013, 07:26 PM
Still in 1929

The Cross Radial with the tractor foot Model 563R


5 cylinder, radial layout, 74 cubic inch Velie 4 cycle aircraft engine adapted to be an outboard. Flat head, valve in block

Bosch magneto & the popular Windfield carb of its day, alternately listed with Scintilla mag and Zenith carb

Rated at 50hp at 4,500 rpm ... monstrous 155 pounds

12-09-2013, 11:48 AM
Hey Sam thanks for t h e great pics and history!!!!!! Are other any Cross radials left today??

Allen J. Lang
12-11-2013, 09:42 AM
Calvin, there are a couple in the Antique Outboard Motor Club.

12-12-2013, 12:38 PM
Thanks Sam
Your posts in this thread made my week.
They evoke a wonderful era of a great engaging sport that in recent decades has entered the doldrums.
In recent years I caught some of that old feeling spectating at region 10 C Service heats. Their low register growl (and that of their big brother 4-60 F motor) is almost (but not quite) as pleasing to my ears as the scream of an 1100 6 cyl alky Mercury.