Vintagizing A Mercuki Outboard

Fellow Woody Boater Tim Whitcomb sent us a special request the other day to try and vintagize his new Suzuki 25 into something a little vintage to match the original 1959 Mercury he had on his very cool 1959 Larson Thunderhawk Junior

So I did some sketches for him, okay for a story. Jeeeezzz, It’s winter, and it’s Saturday, and not sure you have been on ebay lately, but its all crap, with a ton of Pop Yacht over priced stuff. So today you get a Merzuki, Mercuki? Anyway, Its just paint.. Thoughts?

Here is the original engine

The new engine.


And now some studies. First off, The engine should be white. Zero question, but the realities of painting the base is a bit of a job, but very doable. So I start with Just All Black

Logo stripped off, and just use old decal set


This can be done with some silver, grey paint, or , vinyl sticker stuff available through sign companies. A heat gun and some cutting of the stuff. But would be fun, and uses the black base. Note, I am not trying to make it look like a vintage engine, but look as if that design had been updated. So it FEELS right


A Red top with black bottom..


All white, which is actually very cool. Subtle, and possibly the Mercury decal could be a red one?

The silver Mercury on the white may be cooler?

And of course the way to go if you stick to the theme. The all white one may not attract so much attention? So to be honest, I would debate this to now end. OH, and the white would match the boat white to keep it connected.


37 replies
  1. Dan in MI
    Dan in MI says:

    I guess, if you want to upgrade the power plant. Doesn’t that take some of the challenge(fun) out of keeping the boat going on the water?

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Been there, done that, and some lakes wont allow the older engines anymore, not to mention the smell. If you want to use the boat, this is hands down the way to go. Changes the boat 100% into a more fun boat. Attached is Yip Yap with modern power back in the day. We had kids running these and the older outboard just couldnt keep up

    • NR
      NR says:

      I recall a guy years ago at Dora that converted old covers to new power. Would be difficult to do for the very cool Merc Towers.

      “I love the smell of two cyle in the morning.”

      • Kelly Wittenauer
        Kelly Wittenauer says:

        You may be thinking of the ones the crew at Aristocraft boats did. Matt ran a story on it several years back. They actually fitted a larger vintage hood over the modern hood, filled the area between with foam & capped the bottom with sheet material. They looked decent, but large. The other drawback & the one that turned me off of this thought for my boat – that new motor is substantially heavier than the old one. Add the weight of a second hood & I feared taking water over the transom.

        Been researching this subject awhile & have more pics to post later today. Grandma duty calls right now 🙂

    • Dan in MI
      Dan in MI says:

      I do get it. I just like the look of the older outboards. It reminds me of simpler times. To me, the smell is part of the experience. To be sure, your paint schemes are awesome! They really do make the modern outboard appear more at home on a classic boat! I love your posts and the ideas contained in them.

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    If you are sooooooo hard up for winter stories how about the Hacker story form Indian Lake (Not Indian River) that Greg Wallace was going to tell us, but you silenced him?

    As far as the Mercuki goes: Whatever floats your boat!

  4. River Rat
    River Rat says:

    He’ll it is just like the big boys who swap nameplates for marketing purposes. My Suzuki could easily have had a Johnson tag on it since some were sold that way. I find that the use of the motor and degrading of the finish is enough to make it look like it belongs to an older boat. Plus a quite reliable and stinkless engine a worth it.

  5. MO Whaler
    MO Whaler says:

    That looked to evolve very easily – – Don’t usually get to see evolution happen like that – – Appreciation to Woody Boater – –

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Vintage o/b are art just like your oil can article 2 days ago. There is something that strikes a cord about those period motors. Maybe its how cantankerous they are to start and/or keep running and of course the smell. Does anyone use or recommend the 50:1 high performance, less smokey modern oil mixes or continue with the 20:1 standard mix? I understand the convenience of hopping in the boat, turning the key, and hitting the open water…dependability.

    • MO Whaler
      MO Whaler says:

      Great talk at Dora 3ish years ago by two retired OMC engineers and they emphasized for older 2 cycle engines use any oil but Don’t Change the Original Ratio. My ’74 Lawn Boy now gets the 16:1 mix with Stihl Oil and it never rattles in tall grass or heavy weeds/leaves, just cuts great. Original Ratio is Important.

  7. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    I vote for the bottom one: White with the red top. Worth the effort. And I agree that it should look vintage, modernized a bit. Don’t shoot me, but I see the appeal of modern outdoor power. Not just the smell and reliability, but also the water pollution factor.

  8. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    How about all red? That would be (to my eye) an attractive option as well and the darker color may not show scratches, etc., quite so much. Still, nothing replaces the mosquito repellent nature of our original two strokes…

  9. Art
    Art says:

    Back in the sixties at General Motors we had a problem on our truck line which built the GMC and the Chevrolet name plates on the same assemby line. Every now and then a GMC would have a Chevrolet name plate on a GMC. We solved the problem by changing the emblems stud location for different vehicles so the assembly man/woman couldn’t make a mistake accentdly.

  10. Ron at the BIG Seattle Boat Show!
    Ron at the BIG Seattle Boat Show! says:

    Being an old Mercury Mark 55 guy, (both old and used the motor) it is nicely done! I would like to see the script and band parallel to the bottom of the cover, rather than the top. Yes either Red or White.
    I have been at the BIG Seattle Boat Show in our booth every day, so barely had time to even read WB. but here is something I saw after the can story, and a pix of our booth for a teaser.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      Bill, I agree. Our 1984 “Tower of Power” 90 hp Merc runs like a champ. We have had it for several years now, and surprisingly not all that bad on gas.

    • Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
      Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

      I would have been disappointed Bill. If you had not show us all your beauties today!

  11. Ron at the BIG Seattle Boat Show!
    Ron at the BIG Seattle Boat Show! says:

    Hmmm, I guess only one pix at a time?

    L To R
    Rich Halbert, our web mistress and SO Liz Gregory, First Man Jeff Lucas husband to our Chapter President Corine Lucas, Jodi & Don Palmer.

  12. Ron at the BIG Seattle Boat Show!
    Ron at the BIG Seattle Boat Show! says:

    Rich Halbert with his 1956 14′ Dixie, a N Carolina barn find boat, with his vintage Johnson….
    10 hours at the show today, then move out at 8.

  13. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Crew Chief grew tired of fussing with the ’76 Merc20 that was on my Aristocraft & had MotorBoat Garage install the white version of that Suzuki25, almost 3 years ago. I wasn’t pleased with my 1st attempt at retrovating the new motor – my 1st ever attempt at applying vinyl wrap. Removed it & have been accumulating ideas while hunting time for a 2nd try. My Aristo with the Suzuki.

  14. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Seen on the web. Someone dressed an Evinrude with kind of a Merc wrap look, using adhesive chrome trim strips sold for cars.

  15. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    And somewhere on the web I found a whole series of photos, in which a gentleman named Chris Roach, added on metal & fiberglass bits to turn this

  16. Nehmerkid
    Nehmerkid says:

    If you could get him to do one Bob Shapton redoes all pre 60’s Mercury’s and they run better than new… He is one of the countries best and has a waiting list

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

    Late to the party today. just had to check in. I am a purist. I run the old outboards. Not camouflaged new nones. They are not that hard to keep running. I love the smell. Hell I run marine oil in my weed eater, It makes me feel like I’m boating. I run all Evinrudes and Johnsons. Old Mercurys are just too temperamental for me. Mercury must have done something right though, They are still in business.

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