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Virtual Tour – Part 1: Introduction

Mercury Racing World Headquarters - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

The author - Senior Tour Guide and Marketing guy.

“Welcome to  Mercury Racing.  Nice to Have You Here!” is the first thing most visitors hear upon entering the reception area of our Fond du Lac, Wisconsin headquarters. For over 15 years, I’ve welcomed visitors from all parts of the globe who come for a personal tour of our operations. It’s fun to meet people who enjoy our products. I love to see their expressions and hear their comments. All leave with a better understanding of what we do as a business, the services we provide and products we produce. One of the big things people leave with:  an appreciation for the “sweat equity” that goes into all facets of production. Visitors are amazed at the hand-craftsmanship and palpable pride that our people put into our products.

This is the first in a series of posts featuring a virtual tour of Mercury Racing. Text and still photos will be complimented with high definition video shot by John Potts of American Performance Television. Before we begin, we need to review a bit of history.

Plant 38 was home for the former Mercury Performance Products in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Mercury Performance Products produced consumer and race outboards, sterndrives, propellers and accessories.

Mercury Racing was first established as a division of Mercury Marine in 1973. Known as Mercury Performance Products at the time, it’s sole responsibility was product development and promoting Mercury’s image through racing. That changed in 1990 when Brunswick Corporation acquired Kiekhaefer Aeromarine, a high performance marine propulsion and accessories business. The company, established in 1970 by Mercury Marine founder Carl Kiekhaefer, was known for their quality machining and production of  high performance marine engines, sterndrives and accessories (trim tabs, trim indicators, shift/throttle controls and propellers).

The two companies were merged and Kiekhaefer Aeromarine owner and President Fred Kiekhaefer, son of the late Carl Kiekhaefer, was named president of the new Mercury Racing. Mercury Racing was established as a business unit of Mercury Marine in 1992. The Kiekhaefer Aeromarine manufacturing plant was expanded in 1993 and all Mercury Racing personnel, production and supporting departments consolidated to the newly expanded Plant 36 facility in 1994.

A blue QC4v 1100 is set for a run on the dyno -- the final step before heading to DCB for installation.

OptiMax 200XS SST race outboards ready for boxing and shipment.

Today, Mercury Racing continues as the leader in high performance marine propulsion. Products include high performance consumer and race outboards, sterndrives, propellers and accessories. Mercury Racing also manufactures for Mercury Marine including SportJet jet pumps, Zeus pod drives and long block engine assemblies for 6.2 liter and 8.2 liter MerCruiser sterndrives.

We are proud of Mercury Racing’s people, products and facility. As you follow this virtual tour, you too will gain a greater appreciation for what we do here.

 

 

 

 

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7 Responses to “Virtual Tour – Part 1: Introduction”

  1. Kanon Kulpa says:

    Can anyone schedule a tour of the facility? I have to ask because I’ve driven by Mercury HP about a ten-thousand times in my life and always wanted to walk through the place. Being a long time boat enthusiast, it would definitely be an exciting place to see.

    • Fred Kiekhaefer says:

      Many have asked, but few have entered. Occasionally, we will provide tours to groups or customers, but it is not the norm. Mercury Racing is a very lean operation. We simply do not have the staff to accommodate frequent tours. Further, despite the best of intentions, tours are a distraction to the folks who build our products. (Focus is important because of the precision we demand.)

      We hope you’ll agree, a series of virtual tours is an acceptable substitute — one which allows us to reach a much wider audience.

  2. I learned something today! I did not know that Mercury was owned and operated by the Brunswick Corporation.

  3. i have been lucky to have been to the plant a couple of times in the early to mid-2000′s and got to go on a tour last summer. A lot has changed at the plant in the 2000′s. it was loaded with race outboards, 280′s and drags, with some racing big blocks. now, it’s flipped 95%. now, it’s all big blocks. the new twin turbo are a killer motors, but I’m glad they are still making the 2.5 200xs; and very grateful that Rick took time out of his work day to give us drag race guys a tour last year. i think the future of race outboards is going to pick up and Fred and Merc Racing will be ready to crank out power heads, like the old days, thanks to Fred and Rick.

    • Fred Kiekhaefer says:

      Thanks, Michael. We’re doing all we can to help outboard racing stay alive and well. It is increasingly difficult to acquire components at reasonable costs and build at regular intervals. Volume has simply fallen off the charts. Hope your assessment of outboard racing’s future proves correct!

  4. Ryan Roberts says:

    Thank you for uploading the virtual tour video, i am looking forward to seeing further videos. It is interesting finding out things about Mercury Marine / Racing brands. I am a Mercury customer for the U.K and i always will be, you can’t even compare some of the other outboard / stern drive / inboard brands to the far Superior engines produced by the Brunswick corporation as they always exceed expectation with every new engine model which is brought out!

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