When Volvo Penta’s sterndrive became an instant success at the January 1959 New York boat show, Mercury came out with their own sterndrive as fast as they could and called it Mercruiser. Improving on Volvo Penta’s design and using non thru hub exhaust boat propellers Mercruiser soon became the dominate leader in sales.
Mercury was the second company to produce a sterndrive, Amazingly the story behind Mercury being second begins with the fact that they easily could have been the first because the man Jim Wynne (He designed a workable sterndrive with universal u-joints that allowed the drive to be turned right and left and raised and lowered while the drive shaft was running in 1958) was working at Mercury in the 1950’s and showed his design to the owner, Carl Kiekhaefer in 1958 but Carl was not impressed and passed on the idea of developing it into a product line. A decision he regreted for the rest of his life. Mercury had to pay Volvo Penta for the patent rights to the sterndrive design they should have gotten from Mr. Wynne for maybe the price of a salary increase.
At the 1961 Chicago boat show Mercury using inside information they had about OMC coming out with a sterndrive of their own in a eighty horsepower model, two days before the OMC debut, introduced the one hundred horsepower Mercruiser.
With better designed and easily usable sterndrives and boat props compared to Volvo Penta and OMC The Mercruiser has been the leader in sterndrive sales since the early 1960’s
With over thirty years experience, Dan’s Discount Propellers can give you expert advice on what Mercruiser propeller you can use on your sterndrive and save you a lot of money on all boat props sales as well.