(Update: An industrious Vintage Jacksonville fan found a vintage postcard of the Motel Capri which looks like the building in the background of this image with a 1958 postmark. It was located at North Main Street and 38th. Street across from Evergreen Cemetery)
I can’t find any clues to give me the location of Terry’s Kiekhaefer Mercury Outboard Motor dealership. There are motel signs in the distant background, one looks like it might say Capri but it is hard to tell. Researching the outboard motor names in the photograph dated this image to the late 1950’s. According to the price tag on the Turbo Four in the center of the photograph it could be purchased for $490.50 cash or $50.50 Down and $22.30 per month.
What I also found when looking for the the engine information was the history of Carl Kiekhaefer, the namesake of the company. Kiekhaefer was trained as an electrical engineer and worked briefly as a draftsman for Evinrude Motors in 1927 before being fired for his temper. In 1939 he purchased the bankrupt Cedarburg Manufacturing Company which made Thor outboard motors. In 1940 the first Kiekhaefer Mercury outboard motor was introduced. During WWII civilian demand for his motors wained but the military bought thousands. His company also produced engines for aerial target drones and chain saws used to clear jungles in the South Pacific. After the war the civilian market resumed.
Kiekhaefer later got into car racing as a way to promote his boat motor company and is credited with having the first professional NASCAR race team. His team raced on the NASCAR circuit in 1955 and 1956 fielding 5 cars at most races in the 1955 season and had 6 cars in the 1956 Daytona Beach Road Course race. He His cars were trucked to races rather than being driven there by their drivers. Team members wore uniforms and cars were professionally painted. Over the course of those two years, his drivers won a combined 52 races and won the NASCAR Grand National championship both years.
In 1961 Kiekhaefer Marine merged with the Brunswick Corporation. Kiekhaefer resigned as president of the company in 1969 and the company changed the name of its outboard motor business to Mercury Marine.
Tags: 000673, boat, Carl Kiekhaefer, historic photography, Kiekhaefer Mercury, Mercury, NASCAR, outboard, vintage photograph