Continuing from Virtual Tour – Part 1: Intro.… we will visit Mercury Racing’s Quality Control and Paint Line. We’ll end up in the 4-Cycle Race Shop where technicians build our exclusive quad-cam, four valve sterndrive engine family. Lets go!
Wherever we can, quality control (the discipline) is built into our production processes. Got to build it in; can’t inspect it in. Quality Control (the department) supports these quality processes (trust but verify) — and measures tolerance’s on everything from machined castings, gears, cylinder bores, pistons, crankshafts and anything else used in the production of Mercury Racing products. QC also plays a critical role in the in-house prototype development of new products. This place was buzzing with activity during the development of the QC4v sterndrive engine platform because so much was new — suppliers, parts and processes.
Mercury Racing has a colorful history. Innovative products have been developed and produced here since the late Carl Kiekhaefer started Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Motors (KAM) back in 1970. Among other things, KAM was renown for their high quality paint. Yet, we’ve improved upon KAM’s high paint standards. And variety: Years ago, the only color you would see hanging from the Mercury Racing paint line was black (or Mariner grey, when we offered high-performance Mariner outboards). Today, we offer a total of 11 colors for Mercury Racing sterndrive engine packages — two of them are black (Racing gloss and Bling-Bling metalic).
The 4-Cycle Race shop is always a tour highlight. People love big power engines and the sparkly bits that go in them. For years we built naturally aspirated race engines here. In their day, they were a big deal. Through time we progressed from building antiquated, carburetted race engines to supercharged consumer engines that also found great success on the global race scene. Visitors were impressed. But nothing compares to their reactions when they see our new quad-cam, four valve 1100 and 1350 engines. Eyes widen and jaws drop as they watch these works of art being assembled. They are impressed to learn the complete engine package, from block to prop, was designed and developed in-house. They are equally impressed to learn 120 hours of build time, from start through dyno run, goes into each engine.
I’ve provided tours to boat builders, dealers, suppliers, racers and consumers from around the globe (appointment only — no walk-ins). Consumers are usually the most entertaining. Once in a while someone will come in with sticker shock over a price. These individuals invariably make a dramatic transformation. By the time they finish their 4-Cycle Race tour, they’ve changed. They gain an appreciation for the content, effort, thoroughness and pride that goes into our products. They recognize value. I think you will transform, too.