Team Renato Molinari and the Saffa sponsor 1977. His first year with OMC

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Renato Molinari driving the #2 OZ Class Molinari/Saffa/Evinrude CCC V6 2.448 crossflow in London/Thames 1977.

Renato Molinari driving the #2 OZ Class Molinari/Saffa/Evinrude CCC V6 2.448 crossflow in Bristol 1977.

Bob Hering driving the #3 OZ Class Molinari/Saffa/Johnson RS V6 2.448 crossflow in London/Thames 1977.

Jimbo McConnell driving the #26 OZ Class Molinari/Saffa/Evinrude CCC V6 2.448 crossflow in London/Thames 1977.

Bob Hering driving the #3 OZ Class Molinari/Saffa/Johnson RS V6 2.448 crossflow in London/Thames 1977.

Evinrude advertising after Renato’s success in Bristol 1977.

A very unique set of pictures….

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Renato Molinari and his black #18/Molinari/Evinrude F1-V8. My guess is this is from a special race event in Italy 1984
Thanks you Antonio Collini for the pictures.

Pretty interesting comment from Roberto Bigi about the three pictures above.  Here is a picture  from Clear Lake outside Houston, Texas 1983 when Renato raced the Unlimited Hydroplane class with 2 X Evinrude F1-V8 engines.

Roberto Bigi The black boat used at Como lake by Molinari was exactly the same boat used in Houston with 2 engines for the Unlimited world championship.

 

Here is why I am pretty sure this is the twin F1-V8 boat Renato raced in the Unlimited Hydroplane race at Clear Lake outside Houston 1983.

1. You can clearly see how wide the boat is in the rear under the rear boat cowling. This is done to get a wide transom to fit two engines. The second picture show a regular single engine Molinari boat from same year.



2. The single engine installation on a twin engine transmission forced Renato to make new much wider steering bars.
The second picture show standard OMC F1-V8 steering bars from same model year.



The Evinrude test station in Stuart, Florida

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My first visit to Stuart was 1979 when Jack Leek asked me to visit the boat race at Marine Stadium in Miami. Jimbo was racing his Petty blue Mod 50 Molinari and Jack know that was my passion (OMC 3 cyl racing).. After the Miami race Jack asked me if I wanted to see the test station in Stuart and my answer was of course YES..!!
I drove to Stuart in my 1977 Mercury Marquis Colony Park Station wagon. Jack and I took the rescue boat and Jimbo McConnell was testing the Evinrude 3 liter V6 looper with fuel injection and carburetors at Saint Lucie river.
OMC was forced to use carburetors for 6 month because Merc took OMC to court over Ron Anderson.
Well it was a successfull testing and a life time memory for me.
I finally got my foot into Jack Leeks door. I also remember Jack Leek drove a 1977 Chevy Caprice Coupe in Stuart.
The year after Jack Leek invited me to Waukegan and I got to Chicago early February and it was way colder than Stockholm, Sweden.
Jack Leek took me around and we ended up at a big old marina in Waukegan because Jack wanted me to see his sailboat..!!
I was trying to be polite and asked to see the Engineering/racing department also.
After a long lunch and a few drinks Jack took me there and I meet all my heroes including Jimbo, Don Henrich propellers, Edgar Rose and many more.
As an OMC dealer and race driver this was the ultimate happiness.

Thanks and R.I.P. Jack Leek.

Mercury T-4 racing vs OMC V-8 racing..Cincinnati GP 1984…

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After a summer-long legal battle, Mercury and OMC reached an out-of-court settlement a month before the Cincinnati GP which allowed the Merc T-4s to compete against the V-8s on a one race, experimental basis.
Here is the full story..if you don’t want the read the full Powerboat story I can make it pretty short.
Mercury lost big time using the T-4 and the Wizard..(with twin Merc V6 powerheads)
Ben Robertson won in his #57 Burgess/Johnson V8. Barry Woods second in his #35 Molinari/Evinrude V8
After the race one of the OMC’s corporate executives couldn’t help but mutter under his breath after watching
the T-4’s self-destruct:
“They (Mercury) have been suing us all summer” he said in hushed tones, ” do you think we could bring a case against them for fraud?”
Thanks Mark Spencer
 

OZ Class racing St. Louis 1974. A mix of Merc V6, OMC V6 and 2 Rotary’s..

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Very interesting outboard racing history from 1974. The OZ class World Championship race in St. Louis, MO  had 13 boats ready to race. 5 with Merc V6 T-3 power, 2 OMC Rotary’s, 2 Johnson V6 Stingers  and 4 Evinrude V6 Super Stranglers.
 
Barry Woods in his Scotti boat powered by the Evinrude Rotary was by far the fastest boat. Won the first two heats but barrel-rolled in the third when he was leading handing the victory to Bob Hering.
 
Now we all understand better why Team Mercury successfully was lobbing so hard to ban the OZ class  in the Paris 6 hour race later same year..!!

 

 

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