While the first MasterCraft tow-boat equipped with Ilmor Marine’s LS-platform-based, catalytic converter-equipped 7.4-litre engine reportedly was delivered to a customer this week, further development of platform “variants” is ongoing at the Plymouth, Mich., engine company. According to Paul Ray, the president of Ilmor Marine, the go-fast side of the powerboat market could see a 550-hp version of the small-block engine by June 2012.
“The 7.4 has features such as a forged crankshaft, rods and pistons and variable valve timing that will carry forward into the high-performance world,” said Ray. “In typical Ilmor fashion, and I say this tongue in cheek, we’ve created a product that is over-engineered. But we ended up with a product we could put our name on with confidence.”
For the high-performance version of the 7.4, Ilmor will exclude the catalytic converter from the engine’s exhaust, which will, according to Ray, be a “Sport Tube-style” system. Eventually, the company will build a stern drive to pair with the engine.
“In the short term, we will partner (for drives) with Bob Teague (of Teague Custom Marine) and Fred Inman (of IMCO), said Ray. “But yes, absolutely, we would love to do our own smaller drive. That said, the market being what it is there is no way you can justify spending the millions of dollars, and it is millions, to design and build a new drive at this time.
“We would offer the engine with an Indy drive if a customer really wanted a bullet-proof package, but that would be an expensive option,” he added.