Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but believe me, it’s not a new idea. I’ve already seen a few cars fitted with boat engines and the folks over at Junkyard Digs took a similar route with a 1979 Ford F-150. And they documented everything in a cool, 47-minute video.
Of course, they didn’t just ruin a perfectly good classic truck. The Malaise-era F-150 was saved from the junkyard. And even though it doesn’t look all that bad on the outside, its 302-cubic-inch (5.0-liter) is dead beyond repair. The truck also came with a second 302 in the bed, but the mill spent a few decades outside and it’s ruined as well.
They initially tried to revive one of the 302s, but when they realized it’s pointless, they bought an old Mercruiser boat engine for just $100 bucks. The big V8 has seen better days, but they tear it up and managed to make it turn again.
Connecting it to the truck’s transmission was a bit of a hassle and they also had to improvise a new exhaust system, but they eventually made everything work and dropped the marine unit in the truck’s engine bay. And the old V8 fired up and enabled the F-150 to move under its own power after more than 20 years.
And the really cool thing is that the Mercruiser sounds better than the truck’s original 302, all while spewing flames out the short exhaust coming out underneath the cabin. And it’s probably more powerful too.
Based on the sticker on the engine, this Mercruiser cranks out 188 horsepower. It’s the least powerful option from the era (Mercury also offered a 225-horsepower variant), but that’s a solid 58 horses more than the 302 V8 that Ford had in 1979. Not to mention that boat motors weren’t subject to the same restrictions as car engines, so they came with more aggressive cams and better heads.
If you’re not familiar with the Mercruiser, it’s a line of engines produced by Mercury Marine. It was first introduced in 1961 and, at some point, it took over around 80 percent of the global sterndrive and outboard motor market. The Mercruiser has remained in production, in various forms, to this day.