History of Champion Outboard Engines
During the era after WWII through the 1950′s there were numerous companies manufacturing outboard engines. These engines were sold through different retail channels, often under different labels and names. Champion outboard engines is one of those names that has a varied and interesting history. The last Champion was sold sometime around 1958.
Several early outboard engine manufacturers started up in the Minneapolis /St.Paul area. This makes much sense, considering Minnesota’s motto is “The Land of 10,000 Lakes“. The first Champion outboard engines were built by a gentleman named Sig Konrad in 1926 in St. Paul, MN. The early models were single cylinder, 2-stroke motor putting out 2 horsepower. Konrad sold the Champion name to outboard racer, Earl Dumonte.
Dumonte had no way to build his own outboards, so he went to toolmakers Cliff Scott and H. Bruce Atwater to build motors for him. Scott-Atwater built Champion outboard engines from 1935 until 1942. During that time Champion became the second largest outboard brand, after Evinrude. Champions were primarily sold through Firestone tire stores. Eventually, Earl Dumonte took the Champion name to start another outboard engine company, but after WWII, Scott-Atwater restarted producing outboard engines under their own name, using the Firestone label.
After WWII, Dumonte teamed up with a former Scott-Atwater engineer to build their own outboard engine line called: Champion Blue Ribbon motors. In the late 1940′s, the Champion outboard engines were well known for being quality, and reasonably priced engines. The Champion Oubtoard Engines were also sold under Majestic and Voyager names. Champion Outboard Engines were also wholesaled to B.F. Goodrich, where they were marketed under the Sea Flyer name. In the early 1950′s the Champion Hot Rod racing motors were quite successful in the 20 cubic inch class. These engines were lightweight (and powerful for the time), producing up to 16.5 horsepower . In the last half of the 1950′s, the Champion Outboard Engine company did not have enough money to start building more powerful motors to compete with the 25 and 40 hp outboards which were available. The rights to Champion products were sold, but no new Champion Outboard Engines were built after 1957.
A supply of parts and the specifications for the Hot Rod passed through several hands over the next 20 plus years, and versions of the racing motor were available up to the early 1980′s, and continued to win class races.
A Google search for “Champion outboard engines” will show a significant number of the engines out there in various states from pieces of junk to still running examples. The below video from YouYube shows one that ran well after 3 years of sitting idle. There is no ready source of parts for old outboard engines like the Champion outboard engines. Searching the Internet is my recommendation for the best place to scout. If you have or are able to put together a running version of a Champion outboard engine, you definately own an outboard engine that has an interesting place in the history of outboards.
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