Vintageize Your New Outboard With Vintage Outboard paint.



One of the issues with Yip Yap is her Nissan Outboard is kinda a mood killer. grey, but sure takes away from the cool factor. BUT, not a fan of old outboards as many of you know. I like the newer stuff. Reliable, and quiet, and no oil mixing. But I sure love the look and feel. So is there a way? Other than the outboard cover replacement. Is there a fun way to do it with some decals and paint? HELL YES!  Thanks to the guys at Vintage Outboard paint for sending two cans of Johnson Green.

Shipped to Worldwide HQ. I know the US mail was impressed. HA

Link at the end of the article. Enjoy the process.

BEFORE, as in yesterday

Removed and sanded


DEAD MATCH! And I am picky as hell when it comes to color. Its not just right to the eye, it feels right. I know that sounds strange, but color is a feeling. And this is 100% dead nuts on!

BAM! – Now here is the issue, the shape is different, so you may have to channel some design enzymes your brain has left over from art class in Jr high

So how does the color look with the boat?

Decal set

This is where you have to improvise a bit since there is no wing, and the cover is taller. BUT, there is a little indent there? mmmmmm


mmmmmm, Thats a cool shape that feels right, its not a copy, but neither is the engine

Some cream color

Dam! Its a modern version. Like the new Challenger or Mustang. Same family, newer feel

ANND again the before…

And the after. And yes, I did paint the rest of the engine. Oh and Bite Me! Thats how we roll here in RUDE COUNTRY..

Did someone say BITE ME? Mr B approved

A huge thanks to Vintage Outboard paint for the perfect match.


45 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Looks good. I was going to make a smart ass comment about painting the rest of the engine but the last picture humbled me!

  2. Jim G
    Jim G says:

    Should have painted it Evinrude color so it would match your sign hanging from the ceiling.

    Does look good though.

  3. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    I most certainly agree with your choice, old outboards are the best looking, great to have on a special event, but for regular use the fake old is my choice.

  4. Bill
    Bill says:

    so that’s what they do in Evinrude country paint japan motors to try to pass them off as American motors. whats next a Yamaha painted blue. Ole Evinrude would be proud of you.

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

    What a timely article. On my oroject list this week is to paint the hood of my 54 Evinrude 15 for Little One. We have uesd another brand in the past, maybe I’ll try some Vintage Outboard paint. Looks lie it works good. Disagree with you old outboards. Outboards are like a woman treat them well, takke care of them, and they will be with you forever.

    • Mark again
      Mark again says:

      Guess I shouldn’t have made the woman comment. This may stir some shit for next week. The above comment was made with respect to both outboards an women.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      Totally agree Mark (in da U.P) Our old 1984 Merc 90h.p. “Tower of Power” still runs great year after year.
      Just mix the right amount of oil, and change plus every couple of years, and SHE will purr all season long.

  6. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Looks great, Matt! The Johnson green goes well with YipYap’s green bottom.

    Working on something similar for the new Suzuki that went on my Aristocraft last spring. I bought the white version & plan to leave most of it with. But want to paint the hood.

    What material is the hood on your Nissan made of? Are these paints safe for the plastic hoods on modern outboards, like my Suzuki?

  7. Steve L
    Steve L says:

    It looks fantastic! Great way to mix new with old.
    Yip Yap looks awesome with the varnish refresh and of course the Chesapeake green bottom.
    Well done.

  8. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    In the words taken from my UK friends. BRILLIANT!

    It just looks so much better.

    And thanks for the link too. Don’t currently have an outboard but wouldn’t be surprised to end up with one.
    The stunning thing to me is they don’t have Chris Craft blue!!

  9. briant
    briant says:

    Well here goes…. IMO, the color is nice, but I have an issue with changing the name. Why not use the old colors and keep the Nissan name, but use the font style of old? It is disrespectful towards the hardworking designers and engineers of Nissan.

    I mean would you take a brand new Audi and strip it down, paint it an old color, and the slap some Hudson Hornet emblems on the thing?

    • e
      e says:

      Agree here. Do the Nissan name in the Johnson font, but go with the green, not whatever color Nissan is known for, maybe white? Was Japan’s international racing color white, like the the Hondas and Toyota 2000 GT race cars?
      Overall, a better execution I think than the cowl replacements. I’m backdating a 1970 Johnson 85 to a 60s style using badges and colorways/shading. That cream stripe is a stroke of genius. Wanting to electrify my ’50 Johnson 5hp – the smell is getting to me.

  10. John F Rothert
    John F Rothert says:

    I like it.
    Too lazy to camo by Tohatsu 50…but get the urge.

    At the shows all the guys go on about their “period power”…when it comes time to ride…they drag their ass and skinned knuckles aboard my boat and head out with my “power…period”….

    Just back from Going Boating
    John in Va

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:

      Hi Bill and Linda:

      Missed you during all the “soft core” drama.

      LOVE that you do classy home grown pics!!

      That bikini matches our 36 Formula PC, maybe we can meet up for the St. Johns cruise next spring.

      • Bill and Linda
        Bill and Linda says:

        Linda says “Aw shucks….that’s a real compliment coming from Troy….considering his reputation, and all !”

        Doesn’t Mrs. Troy have a swimsuit to match the boat ?

  11. Duster
    Duster says:

    Wow that’s cool. The cream swish nails it. Matt how on earth do you have so much time to all all this stuff??

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:

      Duster: Matt doesn’t drink. That in itself explains a lot, but he is also like the Energizer Bunny. Great combination!!

  12. Clay at Crosslake
    Clay at Crosslake says:

    Matt, How did you acquire the stickers? Did you make them yourself or is someone producing them?

  13. Gregory Jones
    Gregory Jones says:

    I don’t quite understand the reliability thought process. As if two strokes are unreliable. HA!!!!

    My 1958 Lyman has her original 1957 Johnson 35 hp which we run on BIG WATER amongst barges and other river traffic on the Ohio River some 80 mile round trip on most trips…in a day…and it has only let me down when I let the spark plugs run for 4 seasons without replacement. OH, BTW they were the original Champion J6J plugs form 1957 cleaned and gapped when I tuned up the motor.

    In my collection I have many other outboards dating from 1925 up to 1958 all of which I have repaired to reliability. It’s not hard to do.

    And as to mixing oil, they make a little jug that has measuring increments for each mix ration that costs about 10 bucks or less. So if you can mix paint or epoxy, why is 2 stroke oil such a mystery?

    People spend 10k to restore a 6k boat and then…5k to hang a four stroke on it ruining the whole look of a vintage outboard boat. All in the name of “reliability”.


    My motor is 64 years old. It started on the first hit of the starter button yesterday at North Webster Indiana. It ran perfectly. I expect more of the same for the remainder of this season. It requires basic hand tools to work on it…like wrenches and screwdrivers…and I can field strip it on a beach in 45 minutes to an hour. I can repair on site if I have the parts. (Yes parts are available still.)

    So let’s talk about what the definition of reliability is. Mine is my 1957 Johnson 35 hp. Or my 1925 Johnson J-25. Or my 1926 Johnson A-25. My 1947 Martin 60. Etc.

    I hear it all the time from vintage runabout owners. Reliability. Bull. Fear of learning to repair their own motors maybe.

    It’s all relative. And I’d bet money my old Johnson will be running long after those 4 strokes are laying in the crusher at the scrap yard. 😁

    Everything in the photos runs. RELIABLY. Just sayin’!

    • Mike Fogarty
      Mike Fogarty says:

      Ditto to what Greg Jones said . I have old Mercs from 1947-1962 and they are indestructible and reliable. These new 4-cycles will not be here in 20 years as they are too complex. Mike Fogarty in Indian Lake, Ohio

    • e
      e says:

      I need you to come to Maryland to make my motors reliable. Don’t doubt you at all, but the exhaust smell – is there anything to do about that? After a couple hours it’s unbearable.

  14. Matt
    Matt says:

    The stickers I got off the internet, dont recall, but not thrilled with them. Too translucent. The red and the cream are not opeque enough.
    As to time. I dont stop. just go from one thing to another. if I stop I fall asleep. Which I do at 8Pm like a hard crash. One thing that killed me in my past was sitting at work. Now I can sit and work at ads, and in the down time, work on a boat, or Wb, or other things.
    Reliability. I agree that the older engines are reliable if taken care of, rebuilt etc. But if you had kids, and a wife that likes newer stuff just because. its a 4 stroke all the time. That little NISSAN engine was a game changer.
    Why not an old Nissan engine? No way in hell would that be cool on a 1950’s boat. And then it would be a Datsun Engine? Or Honda? If they made outboards back then? I think the first japanese outboards were in the early 60’s. Suzuki?

  15. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    I do not care what is pushing it as long as it starts, runs and is on a Lyman. Just my opinion.

    • Dave Nau
      Dave Nau says:

      Two comments:
      1. Old outboards can run great, just fix them up. Easier than an old flathead. And join AOMCI to get plugged into parts sources and expertise. I’ve got a ’63 Mercury, ’68 Evinrude and ’84 Evinrude. All run great are and used all season, every season. And yes, I belong to AOMCI.
      2. Never have to worry about vintage colors on a Mercury, at least since the early ’60s. Phantom Black is Phantom Black. Even if they have made some white ones in recent years.

      • Dave Nau
        Dave Nau says:

        Also, Tohatsu only licensed the Nissan brand from Nissan, to help sell motors with a more recognized name. Phased it out a few years ago when the agreement was up. So, whether Tohatsu or Nissan is on the cowl, they are all Tohatsu motors. Honda and Yamaha make their own, although Yamaha and Mercury had an agreement years ago to share some designs. Not anymore, and not for a long time.
        Latest word is of all the outboards running in the US, close to 1/2 are Mercury outboards, by market share, and 45% of new motors sold in the US are Mercury motors. See:

        Sales of stern drives and inboards have fallen off the cliff, with up to 600HP outboards now available. Marine catalytic converters are required for most sterndrives and inboards. That has helped to jacked up the cost, as has GM’s slowly phasing out of production of marine engines. Ford and Chrysler left that market years ago.

        The times they keep changing. What will vintage boating look like 50 years from now? Who knows? Will people lust over a 600HP Mercury-powered Bennington pontoon? Who can say? I’ll be long gone.

  16. Miles Kapper
    Miles Kapper says:

    Turning a Nissan cowl into a 1955ish Johnson looks wise does blend in well and looks “period” enough I suppose. I prefer the guys who actually take an original cowl, restore it, and fit it. The difference is when the boat runs past the dock the response is “Wow, that is beautiful” versus “Nice boat, what is with the engine hanging off the back? It’s not a Johnson.” Then again 98% of the public won’t know the difference anyway!

  17. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    I have an old pontoon boat with a ’59 Johnson 18 on the back that’s very reliable and used all summer. A few years ago we added a new pontoon boat with a 4 stroke Merc 50. I love how clean it is (no oil films in the water) and how fuel efficient it is, but it is less than reliable.

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