1962 Mercury 110 Outboard

Grumpy Von Crankenstein

Grumpy Von Crankenstein, G.v.C. for short, is our 1962 Mercury 110 outboard. I’m not sure where they came up with the 110 nomenclature, its a 9.8 horsepower outboard. Despite its age and cranky behaviors, it generally starts right up and runs well enough even when left to sit for a few years.

We’ve had Grumpy Von Crankenstein for a good while, probably 15 years. I can’t remember if we were married yet when traded $100 and a bag of fresh lobster for an old 14′ aluminum Sea Nymph rowboat. This was to retire our 7′ johnboat that I was using to go lobstering off the shores of Beverly, MA when I lived down there. It will support up to a 15hp motor, I believe, and I wanted to return the johnboat and the 4hp Mercury we were using back to the family lake house. So we bought G.v.C. off of ebay if I recall correctly. I think we paid $800 for it and it arrived well packed in a crate.

I gave it a once over at the lake house that summer, replacing a spark plug wire and the plugs. I then proceeded to nearly sank the overpowered johnboat. I had forgotten to adjust the trim angle on the engine and had a bow-down attitude due to a downward thrust angle. This made the wee boat quite squirrely as it skimmed across the cove much faster than intended. To avoid running aground, I veered away from the impending shoreline. Thanks to my stupidity and the poorly trimmed engine, the boat rolled outward instead of into the turn and scooped up a good helping of lake. Some subconscious good thinking had me straighten the boat back out and beach it. With less than positive buoyancy, it came to rest on the bottom with the engine head just above the water. I pulled the boat up further, dumped out the lakewater, and returned back across the cove to our place.

Anyway, Grumpy Von Crankenstein has been in our service ever since. We’ve been known to take small ventures around New Castle and Rye, NH with it and the Sea Nymph. When we acquired Belle, she came with a 6hp Johnson Seahorse from 1978 (Not So Big Johnson) that had not run in some 27 years. We attempted to use G.v.C. on Belle for our first outing as I did not want to bother tuning up the Johnson. It worked, ish. G.v.C.’s transom clamp just barely fits over the outboard bracket on Belle. I had to jam it down over. It’s also not a long shaft motor, so the anti-cavitation plate just skimmed the water when we sat in the cockpit. Any pitch from waves or wake lifted the prop out of the water as did a person moving to the bow. As such, we had to fix up the old Johnson too.

We shortly thereafter acquired The Beast, our dinghy and it is rated for 10hp, a perfect fit for a 9.8hp standard shaft outboard.

Follow the adventures of Grumpy Von Crankenstein and The Beast.