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Catching Up With Ron Potter

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Several years ago, I had the good fortune to drive the famed Speed Racer Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran with Bob Christie, the owner of the 44-footer, handling the throttles. One moment we were scooting down the Intracoastal Waterway—destination Islamorada, Fla.—at 100 mph, the next we were up to 140 mph. The boat was powered by a pair of supercharged Potter Performance Engines making north of 1,300 hp per side, and Christie had blipped the throttles.

So like most folks, let’s say anyone who’s ever visited the Bradenton, Fla.-based engine builder’s website, I tend to associate Potter Performance Engines with big-horsepower exotic marine powerplants. And while company principal Ron Potter certainly can deliver just that, the simple truth about his business is that it’s become based on rebuilding much milder engine stuff from MerCruiser 350 Mags to Mercury Racing 1075s.

“What’s been really big in the past few years have been the rebuilds of MerCruiser 350s, 454s and 502s, and Mercury Racing HP500s, 500EFIs, 600s, 700s and 1075s,” said Potter. “That’s a big part of our business now. Those fancy motors you see on our website? They’re a much smaller part of our business. The big-horsepower engine buyers just aren’t there the way they were six or seven years ago.”

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