How is it my 58 came with a 56?

25 hp 1956? – kicker 58? – boat 58

Something has always confused me about Yip Yap. Its registered as a 1958, and if you track the hull numbers it kinda fits. Yet it has a 1956 engine on it, and all the details as well. And when I purchased it, I was told it was all original. The more I could see, even the varnish was original.

the tank in da barn last night

So in the comments the other day on yip yap, John G commented that he had the same issue regarding his 1958 Lymann and a 56 engine on it? So. Did they make too many 56 Engines? Or my thought is.  The 56 engines were made late in 1956 delivered to the factory? Dealer? And then the boats were made in 1957, and thus a small overlap. The colors are very confusing, Red white, white red, green on lower Hp ??????

Car dealers and boat dealers would play this game all the time. Even today. The 2022’s will be out in September? Its all so confusing. Many times, its a simple hardware change, or color change? And yet here it is 60 years? 59 years or 63 years confusing us all.

I have the Tank all details.

Here is my thought. The green on the 56 looks a whole lot cooler than that dark red. So it stays a 56, thats on a 58. thats 62 no matter how old it really is. Right?

46 replies
  1. George Emmanuel
    George Emmanuel says:

    Color changed with the year/model in the middle 50’s. It could be the dealer, depending on where he was located, didn’t sell many electric start engines and had that one left over. Marketing was different back then. About 25 years ago those of us in the AOMCI found an old dealership in S. Georgia that had leftover old stock that didn’t sell. Boats, motors, trailers, hardware etc. When the secret got out, that dealership was cleaned out in a couple of months. What a candy store!

  2. Syd
    Syd says:

    Could very well be left over stock that no one wanted until then. Our daughters boat the century roam, it is a 1958 and e have pictures of it being shown at a Buffalo boat show in 58 with a 58 Johnson super seahorse 35, which we are still looking for a nice one. But we also know that the boat was not sold until 1960. So who knows what it had on it when it was sold. Then again maybe it was sold without a motor and the owner had one at home for it. I have a 7.5 Johnson. 1955 if I remember right that has never been on a boat a gentleman was starting to build his own boat and bought this motor for it then never finished the boat. I bought it from his nephew Then I have a 1929 Mullins outboard that we got from the original owner. She got it for her 16th birthday with an Indian outboard but that ran so bad they put a 1931 Evinrude Fastwin on it and it was with it when we got it and still runs great. The stories we heard was that she was the terror of the lake

  3. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    It still happens today and isn’t really unusual. I bought a brand new Harris pontoon boat at the January 2015 boat show. It was a 2014 boat they were trying to get rid of. Long after taking delivery in spring of 2015 I realized it had a new 2012 50hp mercury on it. When I asked the dealer about it he says it is common and the warranty starts when they deliver the boat to me. The may have came with a 60hp that someone wanted, so the dealer swapped it over, then my boat was ready to sell and grabbed one from inventory or even another, older new boat that never sold, etc. You know the story : if you want to make a million dollars selling boats, start with 2 million!

  4. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    Also, about that time they were making big changes to the motors. Going to roller bearings was a biggie. This allowed less oil in the fuel mixture and less smoke at the dock. If someone was buying a boat and negotiating a great deal, he likely got the stinky older vintage motor they couldn’t get rid of!

  5. Lee Wangstad
    Lee Wangstad says:

    Hi Matt, you should check your serial numbers on the motor. Johnson used the green color in 1955 and switched to “Holiday Bronze” for the 1956 model year. They also boosted the horsepower to 30 for 1956. As far as the registration year? In Minnesota, the year of the boat is whatever you told them in 1958, when registrations began.

    • Kelly Wittenauer
      Kelly Wittenauer says:

      Thanks, Lee. I wondered if I was just confused, as I’d always heard the the green 25hp were 1955.

    • George Emmanuel
      George Emmanuel says:

      It’s there!—At least Matt’s pictures show it’s there, and what a nice extra to have it. Those are really hard to come by.

  6. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Here’s the extremes model years and boats go to:

    Several years ago I was filming a commercial at the Monaco Grand Prix. The film production company rented a yacht dealer’s office for our production office overlooking the famous street course. We had live feeds from the camera car etc. The woman who owned the office came in to pick up some paperwork and was fascinated by all of the equipment etc. She’s was a very well put together English woman, the type you would expect to sell the world’s most expensive mega yachts to the world’s richest people. I asked her about her best customers. Not surprisingly, she said the highest end of the highest end were all being bought by either Russian or Chinese billionaires. She said with the Russians it always felt like you were dealing with mobsters, because that’s essentially what the oligarchs are. But now I’ll get to the part that somewhat relates to a 1956 outboard on a 1958 12-footer. She said the Chinese billionaires presented a different challenge. They did not like their mega yachts “used” or “old”. Even a $200 million mega yacht has a model year. So she said she had sent brand new mega yachts that were a year or two “old” back to the shipyard where they could be gutted and refitted to the point that they’d be given the current model year for a Chinese buyer. Think about that.

    A day later I got a tour of the Monaco Boat Works, that legendary grotto filled with classic Rivas. The owners of those magnificent boats? Paupers compared to the Russian and Chinese billionaires.

    Now back to 12-foot, 30-hp outboards.

  7. Verne
    Verne says:

    I don’t see a problem with it at all. My ’60 Thompson Sea Coaster came with a “new” ’58 Evinrude V4. It was obviously a motor the dealer had in stock and the new owner chose. He probably saved some money over buying a new ’60 motor.

  8. Jeffrey Martinson
    Jeffrey Martinson says:

    They probably threw in the kicker motor to make up for the two-years-old Johnson. Like when the car dealer throws in a “free” air freshener when you buy the demo.

  9. Greg W
    Greg W says:

    Original purchaser may have upgraded to this boat but kept his motor. Or motor may have been used. It was common to trade motors multiple times during the ownership of a single boat. Trading up to the latest and greatest outboard was as good as a whole new rig for much less money. As mentioned before, registration and title information can be in error for boats manufactured or sold prior to titling and registration laws. Owners and, god forbid, govt. agencies confused model year and calendar year all the time. Date of purchase was often used as model year on documentation.

  10. Danny B
    Danny B says:

    I agree with the others here. It was a common thing for boat and engine years to not match on outboard boats of the time. As someone else also mentioned it you can post the numbers from the engine here the collective brain trust here can probably tell you more about the engine. I agree if it’s green it’s probably a ‘55.

    I think you mentioned the other day you were going to paint the Nissan green and I’d assume add some Johnson decals. A buddy has a new 25 Suzuki that came a cream yellow color so we peeled off the Suzuki crap and added a $15 decal set for a 25 Johnson and it looks a lot better on the crab skiff he built. Attached is a crappy pic but you get the idea. If you don’t like the fugly Nissan control box you might be able to grab an old OMC control and adapt it to work the Nissan.

  11. Shep22
    Shep22 says:

    Your remark re 2022 cars being introduced in September is because, as I remember, the new car shows were always in September along with the ‘Fall Country Fair’

  12. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Famous quote from Freud:

    “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”

    We all tend to get very deep into restoring our treasures to as-delivered from the factory, me included. But we are supposed to enjoy using the boats warts, inconsistencies and all.

  13. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    We’re talking outboards today😃 The only year Johnson made that electric start 25 was 56. In 57 they went to a 30 and I believe they went to a 35 in 58. There could be several reasons why a 58 boat had a 56 motor. Most have been discussed above. One other reason could be the original buyer didn’t want a 30 or 35, maybe he though it was too much power. People thought that way in 1950s outboarding. A new 2 year old outbound with less HP at a cheaper price fit the bill. Either way keep em running. If anyone has that dash panel let me know. I’m not concerned with condition.

  14. Gregory Jones
    Gregory Jones says:

    If it’s green it pre-1956. It would have to be a 1954 or 1955. That is when the Johnson 25 hp came out. The 1956 was 30hp and holiday bronze(maroon and creamy

    My 1958 Lyman has its original 1957 Johnson 35 hp which still gives us good service. Reason…the 57 was remaining inventory and the dealership sold it cheaper to the owner who ordered his bot in 1958. Not uncommon at all.

    However Johnson dealers also were encouregaed to “update” the paint on old stock or customer motors. Especially old stock to “update” the look and move old inventory.

    I’m restoring a 1955 Johnson CD-12 that has a 1954 CD-11 styled hood with thumbscrew mountings. Was it a 1954 repaint? Or and old style hood left over and used in early 1955?

    Well when I stripped the paint I saw no evidence of repain or old decals…so I’m guessing the latter. The only cosmetic difference was the 1954 was Seahorse green with silver trim. The 1955 was Seahorse Green with Cream trim.

    So I made it as I found it.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


  15. Gregory Jones
    Gregory Jones says:

    And the rest of this motor. It was pretty torn up with a busted lower connecting rod and a myriad of other issues, but it should run again. Spark, compression, and gas…that’s all it takes.

    Yup. I collect motor in addition to captain’s hats!

  16. Briant
    Briant says:

    Whoa. What exactly is the protocol at judged boat shows when one presents a Suzuki 25 tarted up to look like a Johnson 25 as Danny’s buddy did above?

    • Lee Wangstad
      Lee Wangstad says:

      It would probably be the same point deduction that would be generated for a boat running a late model V-8 in place of the original flathead six in a thirties wood runabout.

  17. Clay at Cross Lake
    Clay at Cross Lake says:

    Can anyone comment on the difference between Johnson’s Sea Horse line and their red Javelin motors produced in the mid to late 1950’s? I have a ’56 Wolverine with a 30 horse Javelin that I thought was original.

  18. Gregory Jones
    Gregory Jones says:

    The Javelin was just a nice looking version of the 30 hp in 1956 and 35 in 1957. Evinrude had the Lark for their line up.

    The point I was making above was there were variants in the color scheme as the models transitioned. But a green motor was certainly not a 1955. Mine is a 1955 with a left of 1954 hood I believe. (Which I just finished today)

    It was however not uncommon for a customer to buy an earlier motor with a but purchase, or for a dealer to “update” old inventory with new paint jobs.


  19. David Hughes
    David Hughes says:

    Lonely Buoy is a 1959 Shepherd with her original M-45-SP 331 ci Chrysler marine hemi. By 1959 Chrysler had bumped the displacement of the hemi to 392 ci…so, what year is the engine?

  20. Syd
    Syd says:

    Ok now that I’m not driving. Not sure who will see this so late in the day. The 25 Johnson came out in 53. I have one on my 51 15’ oldtown. Nice set up. Greg nice job on your motor. Yes the early ones in 55 had 54 left over hoods. I have one the same way that was never run on a boat getting that one is how I learned about it.

  21. Syd
    Syd says:

    As I posted it I realized that I put in the wrong thing. It’s been a long day. Johnson 25 came out in 51 through 55 and I have a 53 that I think I broke in

  22. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Thanks Greg, Jim, David K & Syd. Was reasonably sure I had it correct, having looked at maybe using one of these mid-50s Johnsons on my Aristocraft. Green & cream 25hp is 1955.

  23. Gregory Jones
    Gregory Jones says:

    My 1957 Johnson 35hp is original to the boat and we run it hundreds of miles each season. Trouble free.

    Well except when I didn’t replace spark plugs for three seasons. Lol.

  24. Ed S
    Ed S says:

    That engine design intro’ed in 1954 with dull silver-ish trim, the ’55s had cream trim. In ’56 they upped to 30 HP in Holiday Bronze. In ’57 the HP was upped to 35. The Javelins were just gussied-up electric starts
    The mismatch in model years was normal, Dad bought my 1955 5 1/2 HP one winter night in 1957 from Stelter’s Johnson on City Is;land, NY. Sixty years later I was back on City Island for a lookaround. Stelter’s is still there…with a couple of NOS ohnsons that were at least a dozen years old.

  25. Ed S
    Ed S says:

    That engine design intro’ed in 1954 with dull silver-ish trim, the ’55s had cream trim. In ’56 they upped to 30 HP in Holiday Bronze. In ’57 the HP was upped to 35. The Javelins were just gussied-up electric starts
    The mismatch in model years was normal, Dad bought my 1955 5 1/2 HP one winter night in 1957 from Stelter’s Johnson on City Is;land, NY. Sixty years later I was back on City Island for a lookaround. Stelter’s is still there…with a couple of NOS Johnsons that were at least a dozen years old.

  26. Ed S
    Ed S says:

    The Johnsons/Evinrudes introduced in 1954 were/are great engines…as long as you followed a few precautions.
    *Use 24:1 gas-oil mixture. Nothing leaner! Use TCW3 oil.
    *Change the water pump impeller every couple of years and check water flow (spray)out the back) every day.
    *Shift into gear smartly /smoothly. Pause in Neutral when reversing direction.
    *Under the recoil bracket and atop the flywheel is an oval tin cover. Look under it to inspect the ignition coils. If the coil covering material is cracked, replace them Parts are available at NAPA Auto parts from their Sierra parts line
    *These engines do not like salt water. Flosh them after every run in salt

  27. Lee Wangstad
    Lee Wangstad says:

    The possibility exists that your boat wasn’t registered until 1958 when the Federal Boating Act of 1958 (Public Law 85-911, 72 Stat. 1754) became law. The act was to promote boating safety and bring uniformity in regulations to the national level. States were given until April 1960 to comply with the registration issue, but most immediately followed the passage of the Federal law. Many boats became “new” as 1958 models. Just my take on it. I think that you need to replicate that original trailer!

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