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History of Mercury Marine



History of Mercury Marine


In 1927 an ambitious young man who had experienced The Great War on newsreels as a youngster and his own coming of age in the roaring 20s was perched with the rest of the country on the eve of the stock market crash of 1928 and the beginning of the great depression. At this tenuous point in history, this young High School Graduate with one year of Engineering under his belt at the University of Wisconsin, Carl Kiekhaefer made his way to Milwaukee and got himself hired as a draftsman at the Nash Motors Body Division, only to have his inquisitive nature and tenacious curiosity get him fired within the first year. He recovered quickly with a new drafting position at Evinrude, only to be fired 3 short months later for insubordination.

He finally found a good fit when he joined the drafting department at Stearns Magnetic. He stayed for ten years and by 1938, became Chief Engineer at the successful company. Their magnetic products were mostly used in the manufacture of clutches and brakes, but Kiekhaefers rural youth gave him an added insight to other common uses for magnetic separators. Pulling stray metal pieces out of grain and livestock feed saved many head of cattle from injury ingesting metal debris as well as the very high risk of metal-on-metal creating sparks in the dangerously explosive dust-filled environment of granaries and silos.

When the very last manufacturing plant in his home town of Cedarburg was about to go under in the middle of the great depression, the town appealed to and invested in Carls father to take over the struggling company and bring Carl from Milwaukee to supply the knowledge and experience from his tenure at Stearns Magnetic to manufacture magnetic products for rural and commercial use.Carl agreed to return to Cedarburg and lead the towns largest employer back to life by finishing up the last piece of old business left behind by the Thorwald Company, and then building a new business based on the engineering and manufacture of magnetic clutches, brakes and separators.

Based on a previous shipment of 500 motors that had already been delivered to the retailer for sale, Montgomery Ward had left behind an order for 500 outboard motors to be built and shipped. Before Kiekhaefer could begin to fulfill that order, 384 of the previous shipment were returnedthey simply did not work. Montgomery Ward also cancelled the remaining order for 500 additional motors. This was devastating news for Kiekhaefer, as his entire business plan depended on his ability to fulfill the order from Mongomery Ward and add the $6,000 from that transaction to the $25,000 invested by the town to fund his new magnetic parts company.

Introduction 2

The Thorwald Company had based its THOR Outboard motor on the limited experience of Thorwalds son Royal, who had raced Evinrude outboards in the 20s. Royal helped his father design a cheaper version of the motor unfortunately, this cheaper version used substandard metal alloys, which rusted and corroded in both salt water and fresh water. The grease could seep from the nickel alloy gears, which meant the motors were not watertight. These motors were in fact, not even submersible. Kiekhaefer combined his ingenuity, resourcefulness and his 3 months of experience at Evinrude in 1927 to rebuild and reinvent the THOR outboard motor. He worked with 2 trusted employees from the old manufacturing line who understood the process and the product, and the 32 year old farm boy who had never used an outboard motor came to the rescue of his home town and laid the foundation for the future.

The old motor had used bronze connecting rods and bearings; nickel alloy gears and a low-grade steel drive shaft with an aluminum propeller. By simply redesigning the carburetor to provide a better mixture to the cylinder, the unit could be fitted with a more streamlined cowling. As Kiekhaefer improved the components of the motor, he used his innate marketing savvy to subtly understate the benefits of his product. This directly contradicted the heavy-handed over-stated advertising of the past. He understated the improvements by simply re-writing the brochure to focus on the new benefits. A motor heavy enough to drive your boat regardless of wind, weeds, waves and weight. He emphasized inland fishing and avoided mention of salt-water.

By understating the improvements, he also undercut the outrageous speed claims made by the competitor. He pointed out that many things affect the speed of a boat, and that the new THOR motor will probably provide the same or maybe more speed than a similarly rated motor. With these basic improvements in place, Kiekhaefer humbly went to the Montgomery Ward Director of Sporting Goods Purchasing, introducing himself as the new owner of Thor Outboard Motor Company in hopes he could convince the buyer to reinstate the order for the 500 THOR motors. Answering a cold stare and icy reception from the untrusting buyer, Kiekhaefer simply asked Will you try them?

Miraculously, the buyer agreed to try 6 motors, so Kiekhaefer lost no time and began planning the redesign on his drive back to Cedarburg. Kiekhaefer determined 3 areas in which his product was performing poorly as he discovered bad design choices resulting from cost-cutting measures in the THOR outboards. First, poor starting due to a weak spark; Second, poor idling due to a weak gas/air mixture and Third, poor propulsion due to a badly balanced crank shaft. He was able to solve the first issue by using his experience with engineering magnetic equipment to rewire some Bosch Magnetos that had left behind by Thorwald. The cylinders had two coils designed to simultaneously fire two cylinders, which he rewired to fire together in one cylinder, effectively doubling the heat of the spark.

Introduction 3

Then, just 2 weeks into his new venture at Cedarburg, and still planning to use the 500 outboard motors to fund his magnetic manufacturing plan, Carl Kiekhaefer drew his first sketch for an enlarged intake manifold sporting an adjustable thumbscrew allowing a finely tuned mixture of gas and air to work with the hotter spark he had engineered from the old Bosch Magnetos. Finally, he copied the successful crankshaft design from the Elgin Waterwitch, sold by Montgomery Wards biggest competitor, Sears, Roebuck & Co.

In 1939 Carl Keikhaefer still had visions of creating a business focused on magnetic products. He did not yet recognize the potential of his successful resuscitation of the THOR brand from paupers option to sportsmans choice until Montgomery Ward tested the 6 sample motors, accepted the 384 rebuilt motors, reinstated its order for 500 and placed an additional order for another 500.

At this point, Keikhaefer could see that the timeline for developing and marketing new magnetic products could not compare to the immediate revenue potential of continuing to produce outboard motors, so he embraced the idea of rebuilding THORs deteriorated distribution network of dealers and admitted to himself that he was in the outboard motor business. This portrait of a man played a large role in the early years before the mercury brand was born, and it continues in an even larger part to dominate the story in the years to come.

Politics and personalities drive the next 50 years of Mercury, producing a pedigreed line of high-performance products saturating the outdoor sports market including racing and corporate alliances; all built on the indomitable spirit, tenacious character and efficient engineering of the dynamic, manic, single-minded entrepreneur, Carl Kiekhaefer.

From the birth of the Mercury brand in 1940 to the merger with Brunswick in 1961, our nation endured wars and enjoyed prosperity, embraced engineering and mechanical precision while developing an insatiable appetite for quality and performance. The industry soared through the 60s and the 70s until the oil embargo of 1979. In 1983, the FTC made a controversial decision prohibiting the joint venture between Yamaha and Brunswick, giving the foreign manufacturer a strong foothold, thereby introducing a new competitor to the US market. Expansion and recession in the 80s lead to focus on performance, bringing new innovation and award-winning products to market in the 90s and into the new millennium.

Birth of a Brand

By adding an actual carburetor to the THOR single-cylinder outboard motor, both the gas mileage and the performance were greatly improved. The earlier mixing valve innovation relied upon the spark lever to regulate the engine, requiring a full gas charge at all speeds. This resulted in the poor performance of the spark plug, gas mileage and general smoothness of the ride. The introduction of the new carburetor allowed Kiekhaefer to advertise a smooth acceleration with a hand-controlled throttle comparable to the smooth acceleration of a fine automobile.

By this time, more than 2,300 THOR outboard motors had been shipped to Montgomery Ward, and they were so impressed with Kiekhaefers ability to exponentially improve quality and performance without increasing the cost that they offered him a contract to develop a new outboard exclusively for them. When the prototype for the new 3HP Sea King was delivered, he was awarded an order for 20,000 pieces. Soon another manufacturer contracted Kiekhaefer to develop an exclusive outboard motor design, and Western Auto became the 2nd client of the Kiekhaefer Corporation, ordering not only a single-cylinder design, but a twin-cylinder as well.

When Kiekhaefer realized he had potentially opened a can of worms by going into business with two mail-order houses when he had just narrowly escaped a disastrous outcome with one, he recognized that he, too, could sell outboard motors. With that, Mercury was born, named after the Roman God of Speed. While scrambling to fulfill orders from Montgomery Ward and Western Auto, Kiekhaefer put his focus on improving the mechanics of the basic design.

The addition of the carburetor and throttle along with the original improvements to the starting spark had made the upper portion of the motor much more efficient, but the pilfered design of the crank shaft and the clumsy system of pipes, pumps and hoses presented the perfect opportunity for improvement of the lower unit of the motor. Kiekhaefer worked like a sculptor in clay to create the now-familiar knife-edged shape.

The next challenge he focused on was the cooling requirements for his new streamlined model. This was resolved with a rubber impeller, which doubled the water capacity of competitive systems and could cool without being vulnerable to swallowing sand, weeds or other debris. Finally, he focused on improving an old concept of the Reed Valve, something Evinrude had abandoned in 1935. This flexible valve allowed one-way air passage into the crankcase, and prevented backfires.

His newest innovations provided the finishing touch to his new brand. Mercury launched its line-up of 5 motors in 1940, and was so busy filling orders for its own distributors, plus the Sea King brand for Montgomery Ward and the Wizard brand for Western Auto Supply that with only one month to spare before the 1941 New York Motor Boat Show, he quickly incorporated only two simple changes to his 1940 line-up. The old tank design was prone to dents and rust, so he modified it into a two-piece cast-aluminum tank and added a magna-pull starter. As the showstopper, he could only bring a teaser-campaign to the table, promising a Mercury Mystery Motor called the Thunderbolt. He had just a prototype of a 60lb four-cylinder engine that fired every 90 which demonstrated how overlapping firing allowed smooth down throttling, promising a product with four-cylinder flexibility and two-cylinder simplicity.

Wars and Chainsaws

While the 1941 New York Motor Boat Show was going on, the rest of the world was at war. When the US joined the Allies, aluminum restrictions combined with political priorities and dealt the recreational boating industry a devastating blow. The Thunderbolt was put on the back burner, and the Kiekhaefer Corporation was nearly toppled by the economic pressures of the times. By developing an air-cooled 2-man chain saw for the Army that could cut a 24 green log in 17 seconds, beating the 52 seconds of its nearest competitor, the company stayed afloat during World War II. By the end of 1944, the company had produced 10,000 engines, including both outboard motors for the Navy and Chainsaws for the Army, and had received the coveted E award for outstanding assistance to the military.

Postwar Fever

From 1944 to 1948, postwar fever overcame the country. Technology and prosperity collided to ignite a retail explosion in recreation and leisure, with a focus on adventure and speed. The Mercury brand enjoyed a high profile during this period, as the name of the company changed to Kiekhaefer Mercury. The new name accompanied a new location in a giant refurbished barn on a 38-acre dairy farm in Fond du Lac, which became the central manufacturing and development facility for the company.

Kiekhaefer Mercury continued to advance technologically with innovative developments and simplified engineering. In 1947, The Lightening engine was introduced with 10HP and 19.8 cubic inches, a perfect choice for daredevil water skiers. Full Jeweled Power offered anti-friction technology in all major bearing locations connecting rods, crankshaft, drive shaft and propeller shaft.

The Lightening, and the smaller Comet and Rocket engines preceded the launch of the long-awaited Thunderbolt, promised in 1941 and finally delivered in 1948; a four-cylinder-in-line, two-cycle, 40 cubic inch engine delivering 40HP, well over its advertised 25HP (in keeping with Kiekhaefers marketing strategy of under-promising and over-performing). At this time, a major win in the Albany/New York race was achieved with a Mercury engine, and the companys long-lasting association with competitive racing had begun.

Times became tough again when The Korean War arrived in 1950 with aluminum restrictions and a loss of good spirits across the country, but the technological developments at Kiekhaefer Marine continued. During these years, Carl hired two key people that would play significant roles in the companys future. Strang and Alexander were involved in exploration and innovation during the Korean War years as Kiekhaefer Mercury Aircraft Engines were developed and tested.

Also in 1950, two major Mercury innovations quickly became industry standards: The tilt-up shock absorber prevented the propeller from continuing to turn when the engine kicked up due to a collision with a solid object like a rock or floating log. This exposed, turning propeller had previously been a cause of injury to boaters. The second innovation was the Jet Prop Underwater Exhaust. Previously, the exhaust hose could break the surface of the water, during a turn causing a loud howling. By routing the exhaust through the propeller in a hub exhaust design, Mercury Marine was the first company to successfully engineer this technology that had first been patented, then abandoned by Evinrude. The Mercury 25 set a speed record of 70mph in 1950. Shortly thereafter, the Mercury 50 was launched.

By 1957 the Mercury Mark 75, 6 cycle, 60HP engine was introduced with huge fanfare. The Mark 75, fondly referred to as the Tower of Power was the first 6-cylinder outboard motor, crafted when Strang worked undercover during Carl Kiekhaefers period of obsessive attention to automotive racing. Strang cut apart two 4-cylinder engines discarding one cylinder each, then asking the automotive team to weld it together when the boss was out. The tall result looked almost laughable, but its performance changed the industry. The Under extreme testing at the secret testing location Lake X, the engine set a 50,000-mile record, maintaining 30.3 mph over 68 days.

The Mark 75 also boasted a single-lever one-hand control that provided an electric start with the push of a button, smooth acceleration with a tilt of the lever, and transition to reverse with no gear shifting with a pull of the lever and another push of the button. This is one Mercury innovation that did not pass the test of time, but Kiekhaefer knew the product would be marketable for the short term, so he pushed his team to incorporate it. Eventually, a traditional shift mechanism was developed and the direct-reverse design was retired.

Heart Attacks, Mergers, & Mutiny

During this period of growth and development, Carl Kiekhaefer suffered from heart trouble. After a frightening false alarm, he decided to begin the search for the perfect corporate merger. After thoughtful research and soul-searching, the decision was made to merge with the Brunswick Corporation, very successful in the leisure products industry and loaded with capital ensuring future development and leadership.

In 1951, just 2 weeks after being hired by Kiekhaefer, the young engineer Strang presented an idea he had developed in college in 1948 about a way to improve the old stern drive technology from the 30s, which had been tried and abandoned due to intrinsic flaws. Because of his preoccupation with this search and his overly secure vision of the industry, he dismissed the idea with an imperious laugh and a wave of his hand. In a rare moment of shortsightedness, Carl Kiekhaefer dismissed the idea and instructed his new employee to focus on the Lightning and Thunderbolt engines, letting a pivotal piece of technology slip through his fingers and the modern stern drive sat on the shelf.

The basic challenge of the stern drive concept was to marry the benefits of inboard and outboard motors. The inboard could produce far greater HP. For example, when the Mercury 60HP was the largest outboard motor available, anything from 65HP to many thousands of HP could be generated by an inboard motor. Unfortunately, inboards were clumsy to operate, inefficient and slow turning due to drag. They also required a large hole in the bottom of the boat, which demanded vigilant maintenance.

By comparison, the outboard motor was streamlined and agile with most of its weight in the very rear of the boat, and its efficient transfer of energy from the motor to the propeller allowed for steady control.As a young engineering student at MIT, Strang had tinkered with the idea coming up with an aluminum fire pump engine attached to the lower portion of a traditional outboard propeller and shaft. The truly innovative part of Strangs design was to incorporate a double-universal joint between the inboard motor and the outboard propeller, allowing for fluid steering control and maximum power transfer. He named his invention after a sultry comic book siren named Apacinata Von Climax, and the AVC drive became the first functional version of the modern stern drive. Strang tried to enter this prototype in hopes of having his hybrid be accepted as an outboard motor in speed racing competitions, but it was not allowed in the race and he put the idea aside.

7 years after Strangs prototype was rejected by race judges and 4 years after Carl Kiekhaefer dismissed the concept, Strang and a Kiekhaefer employee named Jim Wynne discussed the AVC during a business flight in 1955. In his excitement over the idea, Wynne immediately included Alexander into the conversations. Strang confided that Kiekhaefer had rejected the idea, so the three men decided to pursue it themselves. Not really acknowledging the mutinous nature of the act, Strang and Alexander loyally continued their jobs as Executive VP and VP of Engineering, while Wynne continued as Chief Engineer in charge of product testing.

Heart Attacks, Mergers, & Mutiny 2

By 1958, Wynne quit his job with Kiekhaefer Mercury to spearhead the three mens secret vision by securing a patent in his own name on the AVC and starting up a small company called Hydro Mechanical Development. The three men tried in vain to sell the idea to other manufacturers, but no one had the vision to invest. Through Wynnes ongoing experimentation, he purchased a partial engine from his local Volvo sales rep. When the rep showed an interest, Wynne showed him the concept. Quickly, the sales rep sent photos and drawings of the remarkable prototype to the home office in Sweden.

During this time, Wynne agreed to crew with a Danish boat-builder on a trans-Atlantic crossing intended to set a record. While in Denmark to prepare for this event, he took a side-trip to Sweden to meet with Volvo. The meeting went very well and Volvo wanted to proceed with the collaboration, so Wynne contacted Strang, encouraging him to leave Kiekhaefer Mercury and begin the new relationship with Volvo. Surprisingly, Strang declined and gave Wynne permission to do what he wants with the idea.

Volvo agreed to buy the patent, and Wynne, Strang and Alexander cemented a bond of secrecy about their mutinous actions, developing the idea while on Kiekhaefer Mercury payroll and with Kiekhaefer Mercury materials and equipment, and then selling it to a competitor in secrecy. Because Wynne was not as visionary an engineer as Strang, he could not answer questions from Volvo regarding details of the design, so Strang himself had secret meetings with Volvo engineers to refine the product for manufacturing while still a trusted employee at Kiekhaefer Mercury.

Wynne was given credit for the invention and the three shared the secret for 30 years.Kiekhaefer never discovered how intimately Strang was involved in the design and development of the industry-changing innovation. He never recalled his conversation with the younger Strang in 1948, and he never suspected that he himself had funded the development of Volvos revolutionary product. As the new technology inundated the industry, Carl Kiekhaefer publicly resisted the allure. He criticized the Volvo product while secretly developing his own version, seeming to reserve the option to gloat if (and when) the new technology failed.

Heart Attacks, Mergers, & Mutiny 3

Kiekhaefer Marine was able to spin Volvos success into its own by watching how the stern drive was manufactured and marketed. OMC, a longtime rival of Kiekhaefer Mercury launched its version of the stern drive in 1961, and to Carl Kiekhaefers delight, it had less HP than his existing Mercury 80HP for the same price. As Kiekhaefer observed the competition, he realized that both Volvo and OMC had attached their drive to a standard engine with low HP. Kiekhaefer Marine, with Strang in charge of development, had engineered the MerCruiser Stern Drive Power Package, which could be attached to 110-140HP engines for significantly more power. They followed that with the even more powerful MerCruiser II, which could handle 225 310HP engines.

The MerCruiser Stern Drive introduced in 1961 is the first collection to be painted black. The black color was suggested to make the large engine look smaller, but quickly became a brand trademark. The MerCruiser was a huge global success, and quickly captured 80% of the world market. Shortly after that, Kiekhaefer introduced the first 100HP and 125HP outboard engines, and with the launch of the Merc 1000 Phantom, an icon was born.

During this height of success in the recreational boating industry, the bowling industry shrank. The Brunswick Corporation suffered great financial losses, and the Kiekhaefer Mercury Division emerged as the stronger branch of the company. This dynamic combined with Carl Kiekhaefers caustic personality and health issues set the stage for a changing of the guard. Carl Kiekhaefer was forced to resign as President in 1969 and the company name changed to Mercury Marine, although out of respect, it was not until 1973 that the Kiekhaefer name was dropped from the Mercury product line. Kiekhaefer went on to start a new company, Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Motors with his son Fred. The company thrived until Fred left, accepting an offer for a consulting job from Price Waterhouse. Freds father Carl was disappointed in his sons choice and lost interest in continuing to manage the business.

Racing to the Finish Line

The next decade included major developments in engineering and design, combined with big wins in international racing and sponsorships in worldwide racing competitions. Their high profile included a new factories, an affiliation with Yamaha and Disney providing engines for all the water attractions and rides at the park, significant racing sponsorships and international wins using Mercury Marine engines.

1970 The Merc 1150 and Merc 1350 are introduced, both are 6-cylinder engines rated at 135HP.

1971 The MerCruiser 888 introduced the Jet Propeller with a V8 and power trim. The first Jet Drive was also introduced as the MerCruiser Jet 400 V8 with a 375HP rating.

1972 MerCruiser launched Blue Water Inboards with superior performance and dependability for sports enthusiasts and commercial fishermen. Also in 1972, Brunswick bough a small interest in Yamaha with the idea of providing designs from Mercury for engines to be built by Yamaha for exclusive distribution by Brunswick under the brand name Mariner.

The marketing idea was based on increasing Mercurys profile as a high-performance brand and capturing a new market with the new Mariner brand, to be presented as steady and reliable. The Merc Mariner arrived with a big splash setting international records and proving itself. The Mercury brand continued showcasing engineering and high performance improvements by refining and improving fuel efficiency and simplifying controls with ergonomic design modifications. EFI or Electronic Fuel Injection was introduced and changed the face of the industry.

1976 The Merc 1750 V6 Black Max 175HP was the first in a line of 150 200HP engines introducingthe racing technology of Power Porting to compress vaporized fuel for even better performance.

1982 The Black Max was revamped to a 60 V6 Loop-charged engine, and was upgraded to 300HP.

1983 - The Federal Trade Commission made the unfortunate decision to block the joint venture with Yamaha nine years after the successful launch of the Mariner brand, and the details of the original agreement came back to haunt Brunswick. The FTC felt that Mercury Marine was monopolizing the market, and the separation of the Mercury and Mariner brands would bring down prices. In the original agreement, Yamaha was prohibited to sell the Mariner brand under its own name. When the FTC ordered Brunswick to sell its shares back to Yamaha, the door was opened and a new competitor rapidly emerged on the market. In fact, the dealers had been conditioned to think of Yamaha as a prestige product so after the FTC decision, Mariner prices increased as it continued to be sold in direct competition with Mercury.

This period of time also included the reconciliation of Carl Kiekhaefer and Mercury Marine at the hands of the 1977 President, Jack Reichert before Kiekhaefers death in 1983.

High Performance Focus

While the business glided through the ups and downs of the 70s and 80s with a steady stream of innovative upgrades to critical components, high-performance racing became a major focus. Young Fred Kiekhaefer joined Mercury Marine in 1988 as President the Hi-Performance Division when Mercury Marine purchased Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Motors. Fred had bought the company after his fathers death in 1983 and launched successful products, making it an appealing target for Mercury Marine to gobble up in its corporate buying spree of the 80s. Through this surprising and poetic series of events, the Kiekhaefer name returned to the company it had created in 1939 from 385 rejected THOR motors.

Fred enjoyed the purely promotional agenda of the Hi-Performance Division. The group was not responsible to generate revenue, only to use Mercury products in winning races and create high profile visibility for the brand. By 1993, the fat money sponsorship days came to an end when Fred was given the challenge of making the Hi-Performance Division a moneymaker. Fred made the difficult decision to stop racing sponsorships cold turkey, and Mercury Marine ceased to sponsor racing events or teams. This difficult decision proved to be a wise one, and the Sport Jet 90 was introduced in 1993.

A 90HP Jet engine followed that, and a 120HP and a 175HPV6 was launched in 1995. These jet engines energized the entire industry and satisfied recreational boaters ever-growing appetite for speed. The introduction of the Optimax in 1996 put Mercury Marine 10 years ahead of Federal Emission Guidelines. The 200HP fuel-injected, two-stroke outboard provided high fuel efficiency and smooth performance, allowing Mercury Optimax teams to dominate international competition through the year 2000.

Outboards, Sterndrives, & More

In the past decade, Mercury Marine his refined its lineup to include a wide variety ofInboard, Outboard, Sterndrive, Tow Sport Inboard and Jet Engines. Its reputation for unsurpassed reliability, advanced technology and high performance is worldwide.

Inboards are designed for long life and a low-maintenance boating experience using quality materials like ceramic and stainless steel in the exhaust system and closed-cooling, topmounted starters and oil pans with better corrosion prevention. All Multiport Injection (MPI) inboard models offer optional DTS to ensure peak efficiency and performance DTS eliminates all helm maintenance and automatically synchronizes multiple engines, provides shift protection and provides SmartStart digital starting. and our exclusive Transmission Guardian delivers reliability like no other.

Verado is a FourStroke with Brains and Brawn. Mercury, driven by a history of innovation, set out to manufacture a FourStroke engine that would deliver performance and reliability with an automotive-like driving experience. Verado, the worlds only supercharged production outboard engine, provides all that and more. Verados Intake Sound Attenuator reduces overall noise by up to 14 decibels and tunes the engine sound to a more pleasing tone. Acoustic foam lining absorbs high frequency engine noise for Verados best-in-class sound rating. Verado runs smoother due to an inline six-cylinder engine aligned in one row, providing a smoother-running, compact design.

Verados exclusive Electro-Hydraulic Power Steering system eliminates steering torque. Verado Perimeter Engine Mounts are larger, with innovative positioning virtually eliminates engine-related boat vibration. The SmartCraft Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) System delivers instant throttle response and smooth shifting. SmartCraft delivers excellent control, confidence and fuel management through up-to-the second information on range, levels and flow, ensuring improved efficiency.

Mercury uses more stainless steel components and exclusive low-copper XK 360 aluminum alloy to provide protection against saltwater corrosion. The Verado supercharger features a marine-grade anodized aluminum housing and Teflon-coated rotors equipped with protective sacrificial anodes for superior protection.

Optimax is the leader in power, durability, performance and fuel efficiency. OptiMax 250 Pro XS creates a class of its own with remarkable acceleration and performance, providing best-in-class fuel economy, unbeatable performance and leading corrosion resistance.

Outboards, Sterndrives, & More 2

OptiMaxs durability, reliability and advanced Direct Injected system outperform other DI engines in holeshot, mid-range acceleration and top-end speed while it delivers the ultimate in efficiency. OptiMax boasts an outstanding power-to-weight ratio, contributing to increased speed and better fuel efficiency for any type of boat. OptiMax is built saltwater tough with more stainless steel and corrosion resistant components. OptiMax is controlled by the innovative Motorola Propulsion Control Module (PCM) and is loaded with smart features that make boating more enjoyable, such as SmartCraft and Engine Guardian. OptiMax is the best-selling DI outboard on the market and ranks among the marine worlds best values.

OptiMax is outfitted with innovative features designed to let you enjoy every available minutefeatures like its two-stage direct injected fuel system, ultra-reliable components and smart electronics that give you confidence to go as far as you like. OptiMax fuel economy rates better than that of most four-stroke outboards. Its founded on a proven DI system that boasts the industrys leading fuel-and-air atomization. Plus, the unique shapes of the OptiMax piston heads and combustion chambers significantly add to its excellent fuel economy and low emissions.

OptiMax is built with more Stainless Steel Components, which translates to saltwater durability, longer intervals between maintenance and lower cost of ownership. In addition, our lower-pressure DI system also provides superior component durability and longevity. Innovative features like Engine Guardian, a proactive warning system, alert you to anything unusual. OptiMax 200 and 225 horsepower models are available with SmartCraft Digital Throttle & Shift for a more enjoyable driving experience.

Mercury mid-range engines deliver the reliable, responsive power you need, along with the fuel-efficient performance with reliable, instant starts and clean, quiet operation to flawless performance under almost any condition with consistent, easy starts, smooth operation and reliability. The 25 and 30 hp models are the industrys first batteryless EFI outboards. All portable and mid-range Mercury FourStrokes feature inline designs for inherently smooth operation. Every mercury mid-range fourstroke engine carries a carb three-star ultra-low emissions rating.

The integrated idle relief attenuator, engineered air intakes and acoustic foam make our 75 - 115 horsepower fourstrokes nearly silent at idle. Easy shifting precision engineered shift system delivers smooth shifting for an improved driving experience. Every mercury 75 115 horsepower fourstroke outboard features a 50-amp, 630-watt alternator, which can power all your accessories electronics, lights, livewells and audio equipment.

Outboards, Sterndrives, & More 3

Every 40 115 horsepower smartcraft equipped fourstroke features troll control, which allows you to set your rpm as low as 550 for trolling or running through extended no-wake zones. The 75 115 fourstrokes feature the same valve train architecture as Verado a robust design that is incredibly durable and maintenance-free for life, and is built with our fully filtered air intake to protect internal engine components from dust and sand. Our advanced antidrainback oil system assures instant lubrication upon start-up.

The ECM Electronic Control Modules advanced microprocessor is the brain of the Mercury FourStroke engine controlling idle speed, starting and smooth performance while alerting you to potential problems. Mercury FourStrokes deliver powerful saltwater protection by using stainless steel components, hard anodizing, engineered polymers and exclusive multistep painting and coating processes. Saltwater maintenance is made easy in the 40 115 hp models with the innovative freshwater flushing water. All 40 115 hp Mercury FourStrokes are designed to be SmartCraft Compatible for the ultimate in easy boating. SmartCraft Integrated Marine Technology brings together all boat and engine functions to provide information about current fuel usage or warnings of a potential problem. Engine Guardian uses more than 40 sensors to monitor functions of your engine. If the proactive operator-warning system detects overreving, overheating or low oil pressure Engine Guardian automatically reduces engine power to prevent damage.

Axius is a sterndrive package that uses twin, individually articulating MerCruiser Bravo Three sterndrives without the use of a tie bar. Axius is designed to solve one of boatings biggest challenges docking. The Axius Control System is a twin engine stern drive application that allows each to move independent of each other, providing precise handling. Axius requires no modification to the boat hull, allowing boatbuilders to simply install the sterndrives without any adjustment. Axius-powered boats are able to move sideways, at an angle or even turn in a circle all with a simple twist of the joystick. Axius is available in many horsepower ranges. This control system can be used with many MerCruiser sterndrives and is also compatible with the SeaCore sterndrive system for use in corrosive saltwater environments.

Designed to deliver the most effective pulling power with the right amount of torque right when you need it. Fully dialed in with SmartCraft technology to give you total control at the helm and over the water, with Engine Guardian for system monitoring and protection and ECM 555 for peak performance and efficiency.

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