Anyone old enough to remember the 60s and the “Minimax” hydroplane? I was about 13 then when some older guys let me take one for a ride; it flew over the water with a 10 hp Mercury Hurricane, although the speed might have been deceptive because there wasn’t much boat between you and the water—they do obtain speeds of over 30 mph, some 40! The boat is primarily made of two 4′ x 8′ sheets of 3/8″ marine plywood—extremely light.
The Minimax was for sale and I wanted it in the worst way—$85! Dad gave me a choice: did I want the hydroplane, or a bigger motor for our ski runabout (I was able to ski behind a 15 hp, but Dad was looking at a 35 hp)…I opted for a more horsepower, still wishing for both.
A while back my grandsons and I planned to build a Minimax from original plans I stumbled upon on the Internet. I found a 1950 10 hp Mercury with throttle control at—of all places—a car show in St. Ignace, MI.
Just recently I was showing our neighbor, Tony, an old outboard collection I have, and mentioned the Minimax we were going to build. Tony said he had one since 1984!
Well, Tony brought it up to Kelly Lake, it was in great shape, and I offered to buy it and made the deal. The grandsons probably missed an opportunity and the experience of building a Minimax, but, to tell the truth, this piece of our project is done… I’ll let them go through the 10 hp Mercury to get it running!
After 58 years, even though I won’t be able to experience the ‘deceptive speed’ again, I’ll enjoy watching their thrill, and finally getting my dream… a Minimax!
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