Obsolete Outboards
by Max Wawrzyniak

Swap Meet III
The Final Episode of the Trilogy

PartI - PartII

An e-mail to Duckworks:

"A tip of the hat and a big thanks to Max and the Swap Meet II article. I hadn't heard of the collector's group or the swap meets. I checked the site link and was amazed at the number of events and how wide spread they were. I had been watching a certain auction web site, but I think I have seen the light here. Thanks!"

I know that you are getting tired of these "swap meet" columns so I promise that this will be the last one. But I am trying to "hammer home" a point here, and that is that e-bay does NOT set the market prices for old outboards and related parts and pieces. Ebay offers convenience, and that costs you, not only in money , but also in terms of missed oppotunities. Although there is certainly no guarantee that the particular item you are looking for will show-up for sale at any particular swap meet (just as there is no guarantee the item will show-up on e-bay) there are opportunities at the swap meets to "network" with collectors who may have the item available, or who may know someone who has it, or who may suggest a viable alternative.

At the swap meets there are opportunites to actually "touch and feel" what you are considering buying; opportunities to get the opinions of "third parties" on items that you are interested in, and opportunities to socialize a bit with people from "outside" the normal boating circles. Coming from the old outboard circles, I was aware of the interesting people involved, and could see an equal opportunity to meet other interesting people in the home-made boat building world, and so here I am.

I might add that I have even purchased a bit of sailboat hardware through these swap meets, as general boating hardware is very often present

Every March I try to attend a swap meet held about 175 statute miles from my home; this particular meet is held in a vocational-technical school that offers a marine engine repair program, and so it is an interesting place to visit even without the antique outboard swap meet.

As I have said before, an on-line listing of swap meets can be found here, https://www.aomci.org/events/ , and as the intro. at the top of the page says, non-members are certainly welcome to attend. However, membership in the Antique Outboard Motor Club will bring you a quaterly magazine and also newsletters, and sometimes swap meets are listed in the newsletters that don't make it onto the on-line bulletin board, and "visa-versa."

I promise that this will be the end of the "swap meet" columns, but I hope it is the beginning your swap meet adventures


A sure sign of an antique outboard swap meet; assorted "junk" laid-out for inspection

Another view of the same wares; that's a Gale division "Big Twin" sitting in the right foreground. (click image to enlarge)

Wonder how he fit all that stuff into the back of that Pick-up truck? That's one of those air-cooled Eska outboards, sitting on the right-side of the tailgate, that Jim Michalak has found to be rather economical to operate, and rather cheap to purchase. (click to enlarge)

A restored early-'50s plywood boat (not for sale) with old outboards (for sale) sitting in front of it; outboards, left to right, are two "automatic transmission" Mercury's (See Mercury column), a Martin (See Weird Brands column), and an Eska (see Jim Michalak's annual "Messin with Motors" newsletters)
(click to enlarge)

View of cockpit of restored plywood boat showing steering system (see Remote Controls/ Steering column) and the luan underlayment replacement deck, with two shades of stain and router-grooved simulated deck seams (as original). (click to enlarge)

A view inside the vocational-technical school's marine engine repair training facilities. (click to enlarge)

Work benches and "victim" engines for training. (click to enlarge)

Tools, parts, engines, etc. etc.

A couple of antique outboarders checking-out the late-model iron. This place is a marine motorhead's dream-come-true. (click to enlarge)

In the background are late-model lower units of every brand for instructional purposes, while right in the middle foreground is a late-'40s Johnson outboard, and way over on the left is a mid-'50s Mercury. (click to enlarge)

In addition to having late model engines for training mechanics on, it helps to also have a few ....
(click to enlarge)

....grungy old ones available, for "real world" experience (click to enlarge)

This is not at the swap meet; this is at the annual St. Louis (Missouri, USA) boat show held every Feb. The local chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society put out a call to the antique outboarders looking for a few old outboards to display in the booth that the antique boaters always have. (click to enlarge)

My contributions consisted of three old outboards, two of which can be seen in the foreground, and two evenings of volunteering to man the booth. I find that my boating interests are not confined to just old outboards or home-built boats, and I enjoy dabbling in several "fringe" areas of boating. If you attend an antique outboard swap meet, you might find yourself with a new hobby in addition to a "cheap power" outboard. (Of course, that might be reason enough to NOT attend!) (click to enlarge)