In 1985, Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC), parent company of Evinrude and Johnson, released a new carbureted 3.6-liter two-stroke V8 engine. The 3.6 GT and 3.6 XP twins were officially 275-hp engines, but lore suggests that the engines made at least 300 hp at the prop at 6250 rpm. Like all two-strokes, they liked a lot of fuel—91 octane in this case—and they liked to run wide-open, making them unsuited for most recreational users. What they were good for was speed.
Also like all two-strokes, the 275 responded well to tuning, and in 1989, a 10,000-rpm, alcohol-burning 3.5-liter version set a 176.556-mph world record for outboards—a record that still stands a quarter-century later. In 1988, the 275s were enlarged to become the 4.0-liter GT and XP 300 V8s, which were produced through 1995, along with occasional 275 and 250 variants. The V8 two-stroke was killed for a bunch of reasons, the most significant being the introduction of fuel injection, which made the same power possible from a much smaller V6, as Mercury soon proved.
But by any standards, the 300s were beasts. With eight carburetors and a 555-lb weight, not to mention the noise, people have occasionally tried to adapt the engine for street use, or have at least attempted to put it on wheels. About five years ago, a fellow named Shane Stenton succeeded in building an XP 300-powered sand rail:
And there’s hilarious footage of his 300 wreaking havoc with a dyno, too:
Last fall, a performance outboards company in Västerås, Sweden, called VM Performance made waves with an even more outrageous version, sporting enormous homemade expansion chambers and sounding like the world’s largest chainsaw:
VM hasn’t revealed its plans for this crazy engine, but rumors suggest it’s destined for a Volvo drag car. The company promises another video this spring, so we’ll wait until then to see just what they’re planning.