Mystic set to roll out classic outboards

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The best place to check out old outboards is at an engine show — and few can match the breadth of power propulsion on display at the annual Antique Marine Engine Expo at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Conn.

Art and Harry Sesselberg are regulars at the expo, slated this year for Aug. 15-16. The entire history of the outboard motor, from the pioneering makers such as Elto and Evinrude to the Golden Age outboards of the 1950s, is on display. Other names include Buccaneer, Gale, Scott-Atwater and McCulloch.

“It’s a major event for the outboard crowd,” says the elder Sesselberg. “Lots of people, lots of stuff to check out — and you never know what you’ll run across.”

The expo boasts more than 100 exhibitors displaying nearly 300 engines of all kinds: 19th- and 20th-century steam engines, including a 40,000-pound compound engine from a New York City tugboat, a rare D-90 diesel built by a Mystic company in the 1940s and a 1914 “donkey” engine used by sailing vessels to raise and lower sails and handle the anchor. There’s also an impressive array of early 20th-century “make and break” engines from Palmer, Lathrop, Gilmore Cragg and others.

For information, visit www.mysticseaport.org, or call (860) 572-5315 or (888) 973-2769.

This article originally appeared in the Connecticut & New York Home Waters section of the July 2009 issue.