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Buying an Antique Outboard Motor

Updated on August 6, 2016

Antique vs New

People who don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around should consider a used or antique outboard motor as an alternative to newer, high-cost outboards.

Antique outboard motors made in the 1940s through the 1970s were simple motors, which made them fairly easy to work on. Department stores, general stores and even some gas stations would sell these simple motors under various names.

Today, these outboard motors can be found across the country at garage sales, through eBay and on Craigslist.

When visiting lakes one should look closely at the motors in use. They may just find that there are many of these outboard motors still in use today.

Wizard Antique Outboard Motor

Wizard 1954 WG4 Super Twin Outboard Motor
Wizard 1954 WG4 Super Twin Outboard Motor | Source

Serial Number Stamp on Antique Outboard Motor

Serial Number Stamped on Block
Serial Number Stamped on Block | Source

Watch this antique outboard motor run.

Steps to Buy and Antique Outboard Motor

  1. Start searching for a used outboard motor by searching via any “for sale” site on the Web and/or visiting garage sales and estate sales. It’s surprising to see how many of these small motors are tucked away in the corners of garages all over the United States.
  2. Once found, look for any tags and/or serial numbers stamped on the block or anywhere else on the motor. These numbers can be used to identify the make and model. Look for oil leaks, which may indicate a bad seal. Look for cracks in the block and around the carburetor. Remember, these motors are old, so cracks in these areas generally mean the motor will have problems unless replacement parts can be found. Pull the starter rope to see if the motor turns over and is not locked up. If no rope is attached, the prop can usually be turned by hand to determine the same thing.
  3. The decision to purchase the motor should be made depending on its condition and whether or not it is going to be used for parts or actually put to use on a boat. Owners of these motors tend to ask a lot more than they are actually worth. In reality, a motor under 10 horse power should not sell for more than $175 - $200 and that’s on the high side. Point out all the issues found with the motor. Remind the seller that the motor is an antique motor and is really not worth as much as they might think.
  4. Once the motor has been purchased, it’s time to take it apart, tune it up and maybe even replace parts if you can find them. There are several sites on the Web that sell parts for antique outboard motors.


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