Outboard Motor World Speed Record

speedboat race boat photo image mercury marine mark 75

Setting the record on Lake Washington in RX 3

This photo shows a stock Mercury Marine Mark 75 H which was then modified by Charlie Strang to run on alcohol on this Hu Entrop built race boat to set the world outboard speed record on June 7,1958.

In the 1950s, the horsepower and all out speed race came to America via a battle between OMC’s Evinrude and Mercury outboard motors. OMC introduced the V-block engine to outboards with their 50 horsepower V4 “Fat Fifty”. Mercury came out with its in-line 6 cylinder Mark 75 which developed 60 horsepower. Charlie Strang was the father of this Mercury engine.

Carl Kiekhaefer commissioned Ted Jones to design a smaller, lighter Hydroplane like his Slo-Mo-Shun and Miss Thriftway designs that were winning all the Gold Cups in the 1950s. Ted designed this racer. From that design, Hubert Entrop built the race boat RX-3.

Strang modified a Mercury Marine Mark 75 outboard engine and its lower unit to a racing one. Charlie’s modified engine made 83 horsepower at 7,500 rpm, rather than the stock 60 HP at 5,500 rpm. Charlie was the chief designer for Mercury at this time.

After this racing engine and boat did not break any records at Lake X in Florida, Hu Entrop took it to his home state of Washington, where his day job was building aircraft models for Boeing’s wind tunnel work. Also, from Washington state was Jack Leek who functioned as the mechanic for the record attempts. On Lake Washington, in June of 1958, the APBA timed this record breaker at a two-way average speed of 107.821 mph.

This was a new, world record and the first American soil world outboard top speed record since 1937. In fact, it was about 30 mph faster than the old USA only standing record.

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