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Carl Kiekhaefer revolutionized the industry

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Carl Kiekhaefer revolutionized the industry

Old 02-07-2018, 11:12 AM
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Default Carl Kiekhaefer revolutionized the industry

After reading more about Kiekhaefer's life and how he started what became Mercury Marine, the more I was amazed at how innovative he was. An incredible American story. He was a maniac in some ways but he was a great seller of his ideas. He did crazy things, like no reverse gear on the Mark 75, with a shutoff and counter rotating crank instead; to his crazy marketing schemes, the endurance run, racing in NASCAR etc.

The guy is such a legend, even if you're not a Merc fan. The books mentioned in the article are worth a read if you're into history, business and just cool stories.

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https://www.wavetowave.com/home/2018...-revolutionist


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Old 02-07-2018, 11:14 AM
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See several tower of powers still tearing it up.
Lucky to have innovators like this.
Old 02-07-2018, 11:20 AM
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Kiekhafer and Ralph Evinrude were bitter rivals, yet their test centers were only about 100 miles apart. Evinrudes stuffr worked, but Mercury was faster WHEN it worked.

Mercury 75 started in reverse? Buddy had one..wouldn't start in either direction. What a miserable POS that was.
Old 02-07-2018, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Evinrudes stuff worked, but Mercury was faster WHEN it worked.
How true. Well said
Old 02-07-2018, 12:18 PM
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Carl was the Tom Landry of the Offshore Circuit. Always had a hat on, collared shirt. He was innovative and methodical. He devoloped the Speedmaster drives for his OB' and then I/O and big HP Chevy engines. He worked with the Chevy guys, showed them alot.

You guys need to read Alan Browns columns AKA Brownie..... Don Aronows buddy. His stuff is hilarious.

His favorite phrase about Don was "that guy gets more A$$ than a toilet seat in the ladies room".....

Offshore Racing in the 60's was like the wild west... those guys were crazy.
Old 02-07-2018, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by avalonandl View Post
Carl was the Tom Landry of the Offshore Circuit. Always had a hat on, collared shirt. He was innovative and methodical. He devoloped the Speedmaster drives for his OB' and then I/O and big HP Chevy engines. He worked with the Chevy guys, showed them alot.

You guys need to read Alan Browns columns AKA Brownie..... Don Aronows buddy. His stuff is hilarious.

His favorite phrase about Don was "that guy gets more A$$ than a toilet seat in the ladies room".....

Offshore Racing in the 60's was like the wild west... those guys were crazy.
Ya, it was different times back then. Don was definitely a ladies man, no secret there.
Old 02-07-2018, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cobraarvey View Post
How true. Well said
that was never my experience...in 1962 my Dad bought his 1st Merc...35hp after 10 years of Jonrudes and Scott Atwater... never looked back and he owned another 8 after that, I have owned Mercs from 1969 thru 2009...

NEVER had 1 problem...I put 4000 hrs on a '71 merc tower of power 115hp, sold it to a friend who put another 1000 on it and sold it, don't know history after that..

I've had...'69-50, '71-115, '76-175, '83-200, '84-200, '82-135, 2x2000-225's

just sayin
Old 02-07-2018, 12:53 PM
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His engines were legendary...
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:13 PM
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They were making progress in the 70s.

The older ones referred to did not have a shift feature, I heard because he would not pay Evinrude the royalties for the design? The Cowboy description sort of validates that.
Great idea at the time to take an engine which was high strung and hard to start anyway and attempt to start it backwards as the dock got closer. There were failures!

Development wise, These engines in the 50 were only one step from those which did not have a neutral or reverse.
When they ran, they ran fast. Actually they were better than that, just not much. The smaller engines were very good, but as they stacked cylinders and carbs, they got faster and less reliable.

He did make a lot of difference in the sport and the boating world. Running in his wake would have been a fun ride!
Old 02-07-2018, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by evernic View Post
that was never my experience...in 1962 my Dad bought his 1st Merc...35hp after 10 years of Jonrudes and Scott Atwater... never looked back and he owned another 8 after that, I have owned Mercs from 1969 thru 2009...

NEVER had 1 problem...I put 4000 hrs on a '71 merc tower of power 115hp, sold it to a friend who put another 1000 on it and sold it, don't know history after that..

I've had...'69-50, '71-115, '76-175, '83-200, '84-200, '82-135, 2x2000-225's

just sayin
\
Not me....

The only motor I had blow up was a 100 Merc..

That damn motor cost me as much to fix it and keep it running as I paid for the boat. And I know my way around a motor.

Never been back.
Old 02-07-2018, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Kiekhafer and Ralph Evinrude were bitter rivals, yet their test centers were only about 100 miles apart. Evinrudes stuffr worked, but Mercury was faster WHEN it worked.

Mercury 75 started in reverse? Buddy had one..wouldn't start in either direction. What a miserable POS that was.
Well Carl worked at Evinrude briefly. I think the old Mercs were more reliable, they really were the only ones making power back then, particularly the 6 cylinder really pushed outboards to the next level.
Old 02-07-2018, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by triumphrick View Post
\
Not me....

The only motor I had blow up was a 100 Merc..

That damn motor cost me as much to fix it and keep it running as I paid for the boat. And I know my way around a motor.

Never been back.
And that is how great rivalries are born. Brings out the best in everyone.
Old 02-07-2018, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by evernic View Post
that was never my experience...in 1962 my Dad bought his 1st Merc...35hp after 10 years of Jonrudes and Scott Atwater... never looked back and he owned another 8 after that, I have owned Mercs from 1969 thru 2009...

NEVER had 1 problem...I put 4000 hrs on a '71 merc tower of power 115hp, sold it to a friend who put another 1000 on it and sold it, don't know history after that..

I've had...'69-50, '71-115, '76-175, '83-200, '84-200, '82-135, 2x2000-225's

just sayin

I bought My 1979 grady white in 2001 with its original 225 Merc Black max . I bought the boat and refused to pay a dime for a " 22 year old engine that could blow at any minute" and I was right.. in 2012 that 33 year old motor developed a crack after I put over 200 hours a year on it.. what a POS ..


(was Thirsty Though)
Old 02-07-2018, 02:53 PM
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Be sure to read “Iron Fist” if you have not already.

https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Fist-Liv.../dp/0945903049
Old 02-07-2018, 03:42 PM
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Kiekhaefer sold Merc to Brunswick around 1969 (???). The MBa's then ran the show and kept engineers on the sidelines. There were lots of things to criticize about the K's motors, but there was a lot of innovation too. Once Brunswick got it, they went seriously cheap and the quality suffered.

Once Yamaha started eating their lunch in the mid/late 80's, even the MBa's realized they needed to up their game. And they did. Just took a long time.

I interviewed with Merc as a fresh mech engr grad in the 80's. Did not take the job. The engr's were frustrated by the MBa's.
Old 02-07-2018, 04:34 PM
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A Mercury has never seemed quite the same without 'Kiekhaefer' on that little cover on the front of the engines.
Old 02-07-2018, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Evinrudes stuffr worked, but Mercury was faster WHEN it worked.
Yes,.... our experience too Growing up our friends had the Merc’s and we had the old OMC’s,... That explains why their boats were always tied up and everyone was always on our boats. Lol
Old 02-07-2018, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by NedLloyd View Post
Yes,.... our experience too Growing up our friends had the Merc’s and we had the old OMC’s,... That explains why their boats were always tied up and everyone was always on our boats. Lol
Don't know about your friends but I've had Mercs since the 70's and only been let down once. We forgot to put the oil in. That was before oil injection.
Old 02-07-2018, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sjef View Post
Don't know about your friends but I've had Mercs since the 70's and only been let down once. We forgot to put the oil in. That was before oil injection.
My memories as a youngster was that our Merc's (a 35 twin, a 50 classic 4 and a 65 clamshell 3) always worked and friends' OMC engines were always letting them down. And as teenagers, that poor 50 and 65 took quite some abuse - we had special two setting throttles - stop and WOT!
Old 02-07-2018, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
Evinrudes stuffr worked, but Mercury was faster WHEN it worked.
So funny how it depends on who/what/where/when you ran these motors.

My aunt bought a new Pursuit in the early 1990s which came with Merc 225 Black Maxes. She was blowing up powerheads almost monthly! Definitely got to know the service guys at the local shop!

But she also bought my cousins a little 13' Whaler with a Merc 25. That motor was perfect. No matter what, it started, idled, went WOT, and never EVER complained. I miss that boat and motor!

My family had twin Evinrude 70 VROs on a cat. They were great. We wanted more speed and replaced them with Yamaha 90s...those were even better!

I ran a boat for a summer for work with Evinrude 225 FICHTs...they were actually amazing, although they had an appetite for spark plugs

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