With the prototype of his new drive complete, the former Mercury Racing boss (top left) is still running flat out in high gear.
You’d think that after spending most of his adult life in the high-performance marine power and propulsion industry, Fred Kiekhaefer might want to slow down. With engine products from the HP500, 525EFI, 700SCi and 1075SCi to the QC4v platform released during his tenure as the head of Mercury Racing in Fond du Lac, Wis., it’s not as if the 69-year-old—who holds an engineering degree and an MBA—has anything to prove. No one would have blamed Kiekhaefer had he opted to ski off into the Colorado sunset with his beloved wife, Carol.
But then, to think for a moment that Kiekhaefer, who left Mercury Racing—and moved from Wisconsin to Colorado—four years ago, would “retire” in any fashion is to know absolutely nothing about him. From a Vail chairlift to the computer-aided design station in his home in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside Denver, the man simply doesn’t sit still. So Kiekhaefer has been busy.
“I have been working on a drive concept,” he said. “I spent the last 25 years managing a business, but not working in the details of engineering to the extent I am now. The first thing I had to do was learn to use some engineering tools that didn’t exist when I was a practicing engineer.”