Terry’s Kiekhaefer Mercury Dealership

March 11th, 2015, 8:00H · Topics: Business, Interior · Print

http://vintagejacksonville.net/contact/

(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.

 

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  1. 1 Wayne Hight May 3rd, 2015 7:59H

    Bob Terry was an icon in the boating community when it came to fast boats. He always had the fastest boat in the Jacksonville area. In the late 50′s he typically ran a fiberglass catamaran about 17 feet long with twin Mercury outboards. When I was 12 or 13 I was lucky enough to get a ride in one of these. Since his dealership was located on North Main Street (indeed across the street from the Capri Motel) he always launched his boats at the Acree’s Marine located at Main Street and the Trout River. Since my father was into boats we were also at this boat ramp frequently hence my chance of a lifetime to ride with Bob Terry. His love of speed carried over to his choice of cars. He leaned toward the Chrysler Corporation cars such as the Plymouth Golden Fury to pull his boats. Beautiful gold and white car complete with 2 four barrel carbs. Very fast for the time. Hope this info. comes in handy.

  2. 2 bob May 3rd, 2015 20:31H

    Wayne, Thank you very much. Every personal memory adds another piece to the story when it comes to the history captured in these photographs. Please feel free to comment any time. Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville

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About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More