Mercury Racing has unveiled a concept automotive crate engine at the 50th annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show this week in Las Vegas. SEMA consists of a diverse group of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, publishing companies, auto restorers, street-rod builders, restylers, car clubs, race teams and more.
Designed and developed in-house, the quad-cam, four-valve (QC4v) design revolutionized the recreational sport boat industry in 2010 when Mercury Racing introduced its turbocharged 1350 sterndrive.
This is Mercury Racing’s inaugural SEMA show and there is a lot to see. They brought an exotic super car fitted with a turbocharged QC4v 1650 crate engine. The car is complemented with an equally exotic DCB M41-Wide Body catamaran sport boat powered by twin 1350 sterndrives.
An immaculate cutaway engine display shows the brilliantly engineered inner workings of the QC4v engine design. That is flanked by a complete 1350 and 520 sterndrive engine displays. A QC4v crate engine is also featured in SEMA’s New Products Showcase. The 9.0L V-8 engine shares all of the attributes of its marine cousin. A multitude of configurations are possible, from basic long blocks to turnkey, ready-to-run engines. Mercury Racing is also promoting a wide range of traditional pushrod engines as well. These engines, based on a CNC machined 8.2L (502 cu. in.) cylinder block, could also serve a variety of markets outside of their typical marine applications.
This isn’t Mercury Racing’s first road trip. The late Carl Kiekhaefer, founder of Mercury Marine, revolutionized NASCAR from 1955-57. Mr. Kiekhaefer dominated the sport by winning 80% of the races he entered and capturing three national championships. The innovator changed the sport forever with many firsts. His crew was the first to wear matching uniforms and practice pit stops.
His Chrysler 300 race cars were fully decorated with the legendary Kiekhaefer Mercury Outboards “sponsor” logos. His was the first team to use enclosed car haulers with matching graphics. Mr. Kiekhaefer also introduced many technical innovations, such as the modern pleated paper air filter during his quest for checkered flags. NEXTEL Cup cars still use wide base rims that can trace their origin back to Mr. Kiekhaefer’s road racing R&D.
In 1990, General Motors approached Mercury Marine to produce the all-aluminum, 5.7-liter LT-5 engine for the Chevrolet ZR-1 Corvette. GM came to Mercury MerCruiser for its expertise in the design and manufacturing of aluminum engines for the marine environment. The ZR-1 was a world-class sports car in its day. The quad-cam, 32-valve V8 produced 405 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. Mercury Racing handcrafted components necessary to marinize the LT-5 for fitment into a Baja 223 Bandit sport boat. The Wette Vette promotional project featured a ZR-1 Corvette with LT-5 powered Baja in tow.
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