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jimh posted 01-31-2003 11:07 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
I recently heard some talk about the early Yamaha outboards being a hybrid copy of existing Mercury and OMC designs. As the story goes, the Yamaha guys took an OMC powerhead and married it to a Mercury lower unit.

The strategy of mixing brands of powerhead and lower unit was a good one since the competition couldn't claim its engine was being copied--just half of it was being copied!

The story goes on to imply that Yahama got some legal judgements against it for this practice.

Now most folks in salt water territory could care less because these old Yamaha outboards have long since turned into powdered aluminum, like the re-cycled soda pop cans they were made from, by exposure to salt water for a decade or more.

Can anyone confirm any of these urban legends?

Jiles posted 01-31-2003 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jiles    
Japan has always been good at copying something that is succesful. Back in the 60's, I was rebuilding automatic transmissions and I know that the first "toyoglide" was a direct copy of the old cast-iron "powerglide" transmission. It was made of alunimun and was changed enough to dodge a law suit, I guess.
John from Madison CT posted 02-01-2003 08:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     
Jimh: Yes, I had heard that myself. The early Yammies where essentially copies of the basic OMC v6 block as well as with the V4's and certainly the inline 3's.

The old ones were famous for corrosion problems, but no question that this has been fixed.

Also, without a doubt, when it comes to new technology, Yamaha does not have the horrid reputation of poor R&D work as with Merc's Optimax and OMC's Fichts.

John from Madison,CT

Clark Roberts posted 02-01-2003 08:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
From "The Legend of Mercury Marine" by Jeffrey L. Rodengen from Write Stuff Enterprises, Inc.,1515 SE 4th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 (1-800-900-2665);
Begin Quotes> In 1972, Brunswick bought a minority interest in Yamaha manufacturing with plans to diversify distribution in the U.S. by adding another brand of outboard the time Mercury and OMC each maintained about 30% of the market and this would give Mercury a second "bite" of the apple even though the new brand "Mariner" would directly compete with Mercury. According to terms of the agreement, Merc provided Yamaha with second-generation blue prints and taught the Japanese manufacturer how to build quality engines, including methods to reduce corrosion... Under the joint venture, Yamaha and Brunswick owned equal shares in a Yamaha subsidiary, Sanshin Kogyo Co. manufacturer of outboard motors. The subsidiary sold all motors to Yamaha which in turn sold the motors to Burnswick, which marketed them under the Mariner name... The first Mariner outboards were introduced to the Australian market in 1974, and to the U.S. and Europe in 1976...The U.S. Federal Trade Commission eventually ruled that the agreement hindered competition, ordered Brunswick to sell its shares to Yamaha to allow them a foothold in the U.S. market. By 1982, Mercury had become the second largest seller of outboards in the U.S., prompting the FTC to rule that as a North American compeditor, Yamaha (prohibited from selling under its own name per the agreement) would increase competition and drive down prices.
Ironically, the reverse occurred, explained Jim Schenk, Brunswick VP in charge of acquisitions in 1998. When the FTC forced Brunswick to sell off its interests in the Yamaha subsidiary in the 80's, Yamaha was able to raise prices on its Sanshin-brand outboards...< End of Quotes. This book makes interesting reading and contains entire Merc history and insider facts...Thanks to Big Z for sending to me! Happy Whalin'.. Clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
jimh posted 02-01-2003 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     

Thanks for the pointer to what sounds like an interesting book. Give me a good writer, some research, and a published book on an interesting topic any day in preference to online innuendo.

I'll have to see if I can dig up a copy of that Rodengen book. I don't think I can find it at the local Border's Books.

Bigshot posted 02-03-2003 10:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
From what I have read....Yamaha copied OMC's 2cyl looper and mated it to a merc lower unit copy. This was their flagship 55hp and put Yamaha on the map. This engine is still made today as the 55hp Enduro. I have seen the 2cyl in the US but not many. Very popular outside the US.
Tom W Clark posted 02-03-2003 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Yamahaís product line has always followed OMCís very closely. In the 1980ís they matched up almost model for model. I donít think it is any mystery where Yamaha got their inspiration.

My uncle, John Carey, was the owner of Wright Outboard which was the distributor for Johnson Outboards in Washington and Alaska from about 1960 to the early 1990ís when OMC eliminated their distributors.

I remember John telling me how he was invited to Japan in the late 1960ís or maybe around 1970 to talk to Yamaha about selling outboards in the US. He went over with my cousin, John Carey Jr. to to talk with them and they were given a tour of the Yamaha factory.

John said Yamaha copied the OMC motors so blatantly that they saw Yamaha castings that still had the OMC part numbers on them!

lhg posted 02-04-2003 04:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I has been no secret about Yamaha's lower units being copied from Mercury. That's why Mercury props can easily be run on Yamaha engines, and vice-versa, even before Mercury's new interchangeable hub design.

Has anybody noticed how the new Nissan Altima is a carbon copy of the Volkswagon Passat?
What's new.

Bigshot posted 02-05-2003 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot The passat is about 90% the same as an Audi A4.

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