Mercury Marine, the producer of Mercury Snowmobiles, is perhaps better known for their production of outboard boat motors. Mercury outboard motors are leaders in the industry. Today, Mercury is owned by the Brunswick Corporation. Mercury originated in 1939 outside of Chicago. They originally produced outboard motors, but during World War II, branched off into two-man air-cooled chainsaws for use by the Army.
Mercury's snowmobile production started in the late 1960s. The original Mercury snowmobiles integrated their 250cc chainsaw engine. Within just a few years, Mercury became an industry leader in performance snowmobiles. By 1971, Mercury developed their Rocket and Lightning snowmobiles. These snowmobiles had Canadian Curtis Wright engines featuring 340cc and 400cc. They had electric starters and aluminum tunnels for high performance. Mercury's innovative slide suspension included in its Hurricane model for 1972 made for an extremely fast snowmobile. The Hurricane model had ski shocks, a stylish rear fuel tank, a tachometer and a speedometer. It came with a powerful 644 twin motor. During the 1970s. Mercury was perhaps the premier racing and performance snowmobile manufacturer.
Mercury was eventually bought out by Brunswick during the 1970s. Company founder Carl Kiekhaefer left the company after the buyout. Brunswick would then change the name of the company to Mercury Marine and focus on outboard motors. Mercury Marine continued to make snowmobiles for only a few more years. Carl Kiekhaefer started Kiekhaefer Aeromarine and focused his energies on designing high performance boat motors designed for marine racing.
Some thirty years after they were made, Mercury snowmobiles continue to be popular with snowmobile enthusiasts. Aftermarket parts and upgrades are available through internet suppliers. Find an old Merc on Ebay and have some fun with it.
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