We're into Vintage Outboards

Independent AMSOIL Dealer Bruce Chadwick, in his own words. “This is a 1929 Elto Speedster. They were nicknamed ‘The Knuckle...

December 28, 2017

Independent AMSOIL Dealer Bruce Chadwick, in his own words.

“This is a 1929 Elto Speedster. They were nicknamed ‘The Knuckle Buster.’ When you bounce the knob off of the tank, it will spring back into motion, rotating in the opposite direction,” said Chadwick. “And, if you don’t get your hand out in time, it will hit your hand very hard.

“Once we get them running in our warehouse, we’ll put them on a boat and we’ll take them to a lake. On most of these old engines, there’s no neutral, no reverse. So you have to be prepared. When you start it, you’re moving.

It all started with ice cream

“It’s a lot of fun to use the motor for what it was designed to do, whether it was fishing, skiing or just sightseeing. The old Evinrude story was that Mr. Evinrude wanted to take his wife for ice cream. Well, he couldn’t row his boat fast enough because the ice cream would melt. He said there had to be a better way. And that’s how Mr. Evinrude came up with the original Evinrude rowboat motor. He had to get there faster because the ice cream would melt.

“We kind of specialize in Martin outboards. We’ve always been fascinated by their design and the fact that they weren’t made by an outboard manufacturer, but they were actually made by National Pressure Cooker Corporation, which is interesting. It was a frying pan company who got into outboards by accident.

“We stumbled across the Antique Outboard Motor Club. They’re a great group of people, and it’s all about, ‘let’s go play with the motors to get to the meet and how soon can we get in the water?'”

“We’ll have all these antique motors cruising across the lake, and we’re cruising 100 miles with 70-, 80-year-old engines.”

“We even had a meet where we ended up rescuing a float plane that had a mishap on the lake.”

Outboard motors or toasters?

“In our opinion, modern engines all look very similar. They kind of look like toasters. They don’t have a lot of style to them. And motors from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s – they’re more generic-looking. They don’t have the fancy trim covers on them. Everything’s exposed – ignition systems, flywheels. It’s all about function. They weren’t trying to make them pretty.

“Some of the guys in the club tease me. ‘When are you going to get serious?’ Because there’s guys in the club with hundreds of motors. We actually have motors on the wall. We have motors on the floor. We have motors on rolling carts, on stands. We have three on the transom that we store for lack of space. We have some laying down in the boat. There’s motors on the patio at home. Sometimes there’s motors next to the TV.

How many motors does Chadwick have?

“Total 50, maybe 60. My wife would probably leave me if I ended up with hundreds in the apartment.”

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