THE JOHNSON OUTBOARD RANGE
AvrHoUGH in these troublons times I ought first, no doubt, to deal with the hard work side of the Johnson. motor range, I cannot resist the temptation of giving pride of place to the SeaHorse 50 on sale for the first time in this country. These motors will be soon known to the habitues of outboard meetings, however, for Messrs. Vanadium Ltd., of 64, Victoria Street, London, S.W.1., the sole concessionaires for Johnson motors in Europe, have already sold five of the first batch of half-a-dozen. As it is practically certain that three members of the East Kent crowd will soon be proud owners, this club should in the near future be setting new standards of speed boat racing.
The reputation of the Sea-Horse 50 has preceded the motor’s arrival, and it is such common knowledge that it is unnecessary to repeat it, that this job, doing its stuff on the back end of a Century Cyclone piloted by T. Estlich put a severe twist in the world’s record with 56.71 m.p.h. With reference to this motor, the catalogue quotes ‘as below, and can thus give but a small idea of the gleaming piece of concentrated machinery that means so many miles-an-hour. Still, for the mechanical-minded here are the main details. The power head in outward appearance could easily be mistaken for the ” 32,” for this new motor, .is a fourcylinder horizontally opposed two-stroke, increased charging to the crankcase being obtained by use of a gear driven rotary valve. The bore is 2.656 ins, and the stroke 2.25 ins, giving a total swept volume of 49.8 cu. ins, or in our notation 817.2 c.c. Thus although nearly 200 c.c. below the capacity of its Italian rival the Laros, the Sea-Horse was considerably quicker over the measured mile. As perhaps that statement is not perfectly fair to Aldo Dacco, who has been’out of the game for some time owing to his accident from which he has now fortunately recovered, we shall have to wait to see the fight continued in the new year. Further, as several of the new Johnsons have already been provisionally entered in the Poole 100, and it is expected that the Italians will defend the challenge, we shall this spring see the Johnson ‘ 50 ‘ up against some worthy metal. The
[Motor Sport photographs
The latest Sea-horse “5O”
50′ has only been tried on a dinghy so far in this country, and Mr. Notley assures me triat the, .motor had no difficulty in romping np to peak at 5,500 r.p.m. with 12in. diameter, 14in. pitch
three-bladed prop. As the gear reduction is 21 : 12 the speed of the dinghy must have been in the neighbourhood of 43 m.p.h. which is extremely good, considering that no props have as yet been specially made for the new motors. If we have about six boats doing about 45 m.p.h. at Poole, it should be worth watching. (Incidentally—happy thought— wouldn’t it be fun to have an aquadrome inside the concrete at Brooklands ? The necessary fluid could be supplied, by the River Wey, Directflow, Hydraulic, and Water Power Co. Unlimited.) The actual dinghy that did the rushing about is the first of the Vanadium M.M.A. class dinghies which are now on the market for the coming season. These boats are available in two sizes, namely a 12ft. 6M. at £24, and. a 14ft. at £28.
With regard to the X.R.55, as the Sea-Horse 50 is officially known, the only other items which should, be mentioned are the weight and the price, two figures numerically very close, the first being 1441bs. and the latter £145. Mr. Notley is having a hydroplane built in, order that he may have a go at the record some time this spring, and as the boat weight restriction is not in, force in, this country 11,2 will stand a good chance of pegging the figure a little closer to the coveted milea-minute mark.
As far as information goes at present the Johnson range will remain as for 1931 during the coming season, except for one or two changes which are likely to occur in, the bearing and crankshaft size& and also to the form of the wider water parts. johnsons now have a racing motor in each class except the F., and it is of interest to notice that each of the five racing motors peak at 5,500 r.p.m. Although the racing John.sons come out of factories where mass production methods are in force, those motors sold as racing models have all been hand assembled and finished by skilled workmen, iterwhich process infinite pains are taken to balance the reciprocatineparts. [Continual overleaf
The smallest utility Johnson is a little 1 h.p. job weighing but 27 lbs., and ideally suited for duck punts and small dinghies. Although the dimensions of this motor are so liliputian the vital parts, such as magneto, fixing clamp and, the underwater parts, are of man-size proportions. This is also the case with all the utility motors, and the reason why these motors will stand so much hard usage is found in the stiffness of the castings. Sea-Horses ” 4 ” and ” 12 ” are the next on the list, and while being twins differ from the other Johnson models in having superimposed alternate-firing twin cylinder motors. The price of both of these motors is in the neighbourhood of £45, though since the devaluation of the £1 sterling a definite price can only be quoted on application to the agents, Vanadium Ltd. It was a Sea-Horse” 4″ that transported Messrs. Lemon, Watkins and Courtauld, members of the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, the 60 miles from Angmagssalik (pronounced as written) to Julianchaab, the whole journey being through ice flow. Several of the “4 “s and. 12 “s are also stated to be giving hard daily service for John Mowtern and Co. Ltd.. who are the contractors for the new Ford works at Dagenham. It is examples such as this that will put the outboard on a firm basis in this country. An additional refinement to be had on these utility jobs is a gadget known as the Re-Koil starter, an arrangement fitted to the starting rim on the flywheel and anchored to the crankcase bolts by a bracket on each side. The device itself is very reminiscent of the important part of a clockwork motor, for it consists of a length of spring steel with a handle fixed to one end. The action of pulling the
handle turns the motor over, but upon the handle being released the spring in the steel band returns the handle to the original position.
In addition to the above comprehensive range there are the electric starting editions of the ” 16″ and “32,” and also a flat twin utility model known as the Sea-Horse ” 10.”
A selling point in favour of the Johnson outboard in this country is the fact that the supplies in future will in the main come here from the Canadian factory at Peterborough, Ontario, so that we may now regard the Johnson as an Empire product. Messrs. Vanadium will, however, as before, continue to be the sole agents for Europe.—F.M.