Mercury Marine is the world’s leading manufacturer of marine propulsion systems. The Wisconsin enterprise’s revolutionary, game-changing engine launches and the Miami International Boat Show go together just like Harley Davidson debuts and the annual August Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

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However, last month in early January, the company issued a press release in reference to how it would be commemorating its milestone 80th anniversary over the course of 2019, as the mother ship of marine engines reflects back on its strong tradition of leadership in the industry.

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John Pfeifer, the president of Mercury Marine was quoted as saying, “80 years ago, Carl Kiekhaefer had a vision for Mercury and that was based around product innovation and technology – and it’s that vision that built the foundation for us to continue to innovate today."

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This year Mercury Marine celebrated its eighth decade in operation, veering down an alternate path focusing on a revised brand-placement campaign pushing all boundaries to the max called Wide Open... Positioned as a fast moving billboard and making quite a splash kicking-off the crusade on Pier 2 was the MTI 340X catamaran wrapped in a coat of Mercury Racing WIDE OPEN paint and available for demo rides during the five-day affair.

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The massive indoor Mercury booth was a nirvana of marine machinery where one could have easily spent several hours checking it all out. In response to customer requests for a higher horsepower Verado-branded four-stroke outboard engine, Mercury Marine gives us the 400hp Verado outboard engine providing increased power over and above the 350hp Verado while preserving its smooth and hushed operating functions and miraculously weighing the same 668 pounds as did the 350hp.

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The 400hp Verado will exclusively use the 5.44” 1.75 HD (heavy duty) gearcase and will be available in Phantom Black and all three shades of white: Warm Fusion, Cold Fusion and Pearl Fusion. It is currently available for order and will begin shipping in the spring at a cost of $34,135.

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Next up is the new 1100 Competition, a mechanically sealed, tamper-proof Mercury Racing Engine to be used in the new 1100 Class of the 2019 American Power Boat Association (APBA) Championship series. A six-race format has been agreed upon following collaborative efforts between the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) and Powerboat P1, with the first showdown getting underway in Cocoa Beach, Florida in mid-May.

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Mercury Racing's Rick Mackie further explained, "The 9.0-liter engine features exclusive aluminum four-valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshaft valve train. The proprietary V8 cylinder block is further packed with Mercury Racing-designed and specified hardware. A Racing exclusive fuel calibration combined with the Quad Cam Four Valve (QC4) valve train enables the engine to produce 1,100 horsepower at 6500 rpm on 89-octane (95 RON) pump fuel. The engine’s 6000-6500 rpm operating range offers unsurpassed acceleration for its power rating as well as unmatched durability and reliability."

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And on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, I must highlight the new eco-friendly Mercury 5hp Propane FourStroke which offers operators an easy to use and hassle-free portability approach when boating. It conveniently runs on alternative clean-burning fuel, yes that is the same as your backyard grill propane, which eliminates the need to transport gasoline with the engine.

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Back down on the docks, Mercury Racing offered four in-water demo boats including a pristine white, green and blue MTI 48-foot catamaran equipped with QC4 Dual Cal twin 1550/1350 sterndrives,

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and the Wright Performance 420 powered by twin 400R outboards. With the new Wright Performance power boats, phase one of production gets underway with the bare hull and deck fabrication being completed by Doug Wright Designs followed by phase two rigging and paint being carried out at Performance Boat Center in Osage, MO.

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Love might have been in the air over this Valentine's Day weekend in steamy South Florida, but it was Mercury Marine in the air, in the water and everywhere you looked up, down and all around during the Miami International Boat Show. RDP wishes each and every dedicated employee at the company a Happy 80th Birthday with many more years of Wide Open throttling on the waters.

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Words : DinaRella
Images : DinaRella