In Oshkosh, Wis., for this weekend’s Four Horsemen Poker Run, speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden and I took a field trip to Mercury Racing and Mercury Marine in nearby Fond du Lac. Mercury Racing’s Rick Mackie led us through the plant “on the hill,” and after the tour we sat down for a long chat with new Mercury Racing general manager Stuart Halley and Steve Miller, the company’s longtime director of sales, marketing and customer service.
If you haven’t seen a propeller being cast at Mercury Marine, you’re missing a great show. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Of course, the Mercury visits didn’t just happen—we’re working on a feature about the company’s racing arm for the next issue of our Speed On The Water digital magazine. You’ll have to wait for that story—and for the record the Mercury Racing folks were absolutely mute on any questions surrounding the possibility of a future supercharged V-8 outboard engine—until the issue goes live.
But on the subject of the new 4.6-liter V-8 platform, we did get a scoop of sorts. Thanks to Mercury Marine’s Lee Gordon and Lucas Prasch, a manufacturing engineering manager who served as tour guide at Plant 15, we got a peek at the company’s new state-of-the-art production line for the V-8 outboards. To call it remarkable with its robotic AGC cart system and more would be an understatement, and according to our hosts, we were the first media members to view the new line.
According to Mercury Marine’s Lucas Prasch, the company is in the process of ramping up its new V-8 outboard assembly line, which was completed four months ago.
We capped off our day with a trip Plant to 98, the famed facility in which the company casts and finishes the majority of its propellers. We’re talking about 3,000-plus degrees worth of molten stainless steel poured into castings heated to a mere 1,800 degrees so they don’t explode on contact with the liquid metal. Our hosts David DeWitt, Jarred Nelson and Peter Schrader couldn’t have been more gracious as they led us wide-eyed through the facility.
For more images from today’s tour of Mercury Racing and Mercury Marine, check out the slideshow above.
The scale of Mercury Racing, and especially Mercury Marine with it 3,000-plus employees and 1.3 million square feet of manufacturing space, is impossibe to comprehend until you visit them. And even then, wrapping your head around all you see there is difficult.
Which is why we’ll be back sooner than later.
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