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Inside SOTW: Ilmor’s Recreational Power Move

In the unlikely event you haven’t heard of what became of Ilmor Marine since it all but departed the high-performance marine engine world, the company has been crushing it in the towboat market for the past seven years. Since 2010, Ilmor has built more than 10,000 MV8 engines for MasterCraft, making the Plymouth, Mich.-headquartered company, which manufactures its towboat engines at a more modern facility in Mooresville, S.C., a dominant builder in the inboard engine game.


With its MV8 7.4L engine targeted at the recreational powerboat and small cruiser markets, Ilmor Marine has created yet another variation on a successful theme. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

The foundation of Ilmor’s success is its LS3-based V-8 engine series, which ranges from 6.0- to 7.4-liter models. That latter 454-cubic- inch mill serves as the platform not only for Ilmor’s most powerful towboat engine—a 522-hp beast called the 7000 MPI—but its MV8 570 powerplant, its last remaining engine targeted at high-performance applications. Demand for the hand-built, 570-hp engines remains low, according Paul Ray, president of Ilmor Marine.

Far more mainstream and viable in the recreational stern-drive powerboat realm, Ilmor’s MV8 6.0L engine makes 380 hp and its MV8 6.2L produces 430 hp. In releasing its 483-hp MV8 7.4L engine, which was unveiled at the 2017 Miami International Boat Show in February and will go into production this spring, the team at Ilmor is hoping to fill a void in that market. And by pairing it with their silky smooth hydraulic One Drive and One Touch joystick system, they believe they have an unbeatable package in their “most powerful recreational stern-drive offering,” as noted in marketing materials for the engine.

Click the link to download the PDF of the January/February 2017 Speed On The Water magazine, and please share any feedback with us below, via email or on social media.