Outboards were produced by the Metal Products Corporation of Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. Two models, a 2.5 hp and 5 hp were produced from 1946
through the mid 1950's (1957 is often quoted).
are very interesting and unlike every other outboard. The
time tested way to build an outboard was/is to cast and machine
the engine block, fit in the pistons & crank and bolt the powerhead
onto the leg. Flambeau tossed convention to the winds - the pistons
fit into cast iron barrels and they were placed, with the bearings,
crankshaft/drive shaft & etc as an assembly into left and right
halves of the motor. The crankcase, exhaust and cooling channels
were all formed in the halves of the motor around the cylinder barrels.
The left & right halves were cast from top to skeg with the
guts of the motor glued in place with Gasolia sealer and all held
in place with 1/4-20 screws. Another unique feature is the carburetor
mounted on the bottom of the fuel tank - itself part of the top
of the motor. Even minor maintenance issues on Flambeau's often
require serious disassembly.
are some photos of my "late model" Flambeau twin, probably
a 1956 or '57. This motor came to me very stuck and needed to be
completely gone through. Here it is just about ready for reassembly,
now I just need to find the right adhesive! It remains to be seen
if modern sealers will do a better job keeping the Flambeau running
- more once we have it together.
left & right halves
of Flambeau cylinders and crankshaft
was never a major player in the outboard world, their distribution
was simply a side-line for garages, hardware stores and sporting
goods shops in areas that were not deemed worthy of even a Scott-Atwater
dealership! One can speculate that the intricate casting and sealing
required (to make the motors run) must have led to a high number
of rejects thus making the motors expensive to produce. Based on
the number of (now antique) Flambeaus that have turned up with internal
sealing problems, there can be no doubt the motors had reliability
issues. Traditional lawnmower and outboard repair shops would have
been reluctant to work on them due to their odd design. Altogether
these issues, combined with a very competitive marketplace, spelled
doom for Metal Products outboard line. See how the competition sized
up: Compare the 1953 5hp Outboards
the Flambeau's odd appearance and engineering, ( if a well cared
for original or lovingly restored), they will run and are quite
powerful! One has to give the folks at Metal Products credit for
coming up with a unique product and giving it their best shot -
much like Bendix outboards a decade earlier. Next to the Clarke
troller, Flambeau can be sited as the original "low profile"
outboard, a design element that Scott, OMC and Chrysler would all
embrace years later in the 1960's.
Flambeau Single 2.5 hp.
Compare the 1953 5hp Outboards
Year & Model:
1953 Flambeau 125520
Horsepower: 2.5 @ 4,000 rpm
Ignition: Eisemann magneto
Cooling: Water by rubber impeller
Retail price when new: $118.50
Weight: 30 lbs.
Oil/Gas Mix: 2/3pt TCW-3
Spark Plug: Champion J-8J (Now J-8C but
J-6C have been found to be the correct heat range with today's
This Flambeau single runs surprisingly well, especially since the former Flambeau Special Interest Group Leader said he'd never seen one run at all!
This model has both the "tickler" and a choke, it can take a few pulls to get going and may need a tweak of the carb controls once it gets warmed up. The low & high needles are linked by a gear so there is only one knob to adjust them.
While rated at 2.5hp, this motor is amazingly powerful, I'd peg it closer to 3.5 or 4hp. It is also reasonably smooth and quiet.
It's a bizarre design and very tough to work on, but it sure runs great!
Flambeau single in the photo above is responsible for my 15 minutes
of fame! See page 156 of the OLD
OUTBOARD BOOK 3rd Ed.
by Peter Hunn copyright 2002 International Marine.
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