I have found and contacted the ORIGINAL DESIGN ENGINEER for the Homelite boat motor. Turns out he lives but two hours from me. I have interviewed him at his home and he just today visited me at my shop. He is 81 years old. He left me with a gift.
He showed me personal photos of the third generation motor cover that never made it into production. Homelite was sold to Fisher Pierce before Homelite got the new style into production. He said they were trying to follow automobile styling. It had different style emblems and a different shape.
He also said that the reason the Homelite motor even has a thermostat is because they had numerous customers in the Seattle area that used the motor in the logging industry pushing logs around in the water at saw mills year round. In the winter the motors would not run hot enough.
He also showed photos of himself at trade shows held around the country (between 1961 and 1966)that as design engineer he was required to attend. Homelite had a replica of the 55HP motor that stood about 10ft tall. Also a motor that was completely cut in half exposing all the internal workings. I sure would like to have that!!
Homelite started development of the 55HP motor in early 1959 with introduction to the public in October 1961. I now have a copy from original of the press release introducing the 55HP in October 1961. As soon as I figure out how to scan these documents into my computer I will share.
Homelite had given petty much a blank check to the development team with the understanding that they need to make a profit within 5 years. Well....they didn't and were sold to Fisher Pierce.
"He also said that the reason the Homelite motor even has a thermostat is because they had numerous customers in the Seattle area that used the motor in the logging industry pushing logs around in the water at saw mills year round. In the winter the motors would not run hot enough."
Yes, they had "log broncs", there are pics of them in some of the 1961 literature and I ran into a guy that had a couple of motors that Weyerhauser had used. It was down by SW WA, and it was a funny little boat and the motor clamped to steel frame on the deck and the guy steered by rotating the frame/motor, kind of like an outboard in a well.
I can't recall, did he go to Fisher Pierce or does he remember any other engineers that did?
Must be fun hearing all the history Greg, good job on you.