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Fageol Products Co.
Division of Twin Coach Company
Louis J. Fageol, a famed raceboat driver, in 1955 designed the Fageol VIP (Vertical Inboard Power) while recovering from being thrown from the Slo-Mo-Shun V in a qualifying run. Fageol served as president of the Twin Coach Company in Kent, Ohio, a manufacturer of buses that diversified into other vehicles as well as wing and fuselage assemblies for the Boeing B-52 bomber and other aircraft. He took over as president in 1945 from the company chairperson and his father, Frank R. Fageol. With this firm, he launched the Fageol venture into the marine industry.
Based on the 44 cu. in. block of the Crosley automobile engine, the Fageol VIP developed 35 HP and sold 4000 units within 4 months of being introduced in August 1956. Fageol bought the manufacturing rights from General Tire who previously offered the motor for vee-drive marine applications, marketed as the Aerojet. Fageol continued to offer the 44 cu. in. block as a vee-drive in addition to the VIP and an outboard version. The outboard version was the first large 4-cycle outboard commercially available in the United States. As a VIP, the block was vertically mounted to an outboard motor-type lower unit below the hull of the boat which swiveled as one complete unit. The Fageol VIP found a niche as a lightweight, economical competitor to gas-thirsty 2-cycle outboard motors and heavy, expensive inboard motors that require a rudder and drive shaft. For improved performance, Fageol offered carburetor and supercharger options that would increase output to 45 HP. In the June 1957 issue of the Boating Industry, Fageol advertised that 30 boat-builders offered the VIP as standard equipment in some models.
Fageol expanded his business by purchasing Progressive Engine Products of Akron, Ohio. This company made the Pepco supercharger, which Lou Fageol offered as an accessory and stock item on the Fageol marine motors (April 5, 1956, New York Times). In the same year, Fageol bought United States Outboard, Inc. and Luther Corp., a boat-builder and trailer manufacturer respectively. Both firms were located in Warsaw, Indiana. The two companies were re-organized into North American Marine, Inc.
For 1957, Fageol announced the VIP 88- two 44 cu. in. blocks joined together to produce 80 HP. He ran full-page advertisements that year titled "Lou Fageol's Boat of the Month" showing boats installed with his Fageol 44 VIP engine. In 1958, the Fageol 44 was rated at 40 HP, and two 60 cu. in. models with larger bores: the Fageol 60 at 50 HP, and the Fageol Gold Cup 60 at 55 HP. The Fageol 44 was uprated to 40 hp by redesigning the pistons and cylinders to develop greater compression (11:1 ratio). The electric-starting system was 6-volt and Jabsco supplied the water pump for the outboard motor unit (see 1958 article below).
Fageol Products was sold to Crofton Manufacturing of Los Angeles, California in 1959 and some additional motors were made. The motor design itself survived on as the Homelite 55 HP, later the Fisher-Pierce Bearcat.
Prior to the VIP, Fageol offered the FM225 and FM200 gasoline marine engines. Known from a 1947 magazine ad and a 1950 brochure, these engines were advertised "for vertical or horizontal operation" in that the engine could be mounted either upright or on one side for a lower profile. Both six-cylinder engines, the FM225 was rated for 225HP at 3400 RPM; the FM200 for 200HP at 3200 RPM. These engines were essentially conversions of the Twin Coach bus engines.
April 1957 Popular Boating