Grandpa's 1909 Evinrude, Reclaimed From Rust

Father’s Day has passed, but it doesn’t take a holiday to appreciate all the things that fathers pass down to their children and grandchildren. In the case of Aage Ruud, his grandfather passed down an interest in mechanics, a spirit for tinkering, and an Evinrude motor built in 1909.

It’s fitting that Aage Ruud, like Evinrude Outboard Motors founder Ole Evinrude, is a native of Norway. Aage’s grandfather worked for a decade on steamships in America and during this time acquired the Evinrude motor. Aage remembers seeing the motor in action during childhood fishing trips with his grandfather but had not seen the motor running since before his grandfather passed away in 1963.

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Then, about three years ago, Ruud rediscovered the motor in his father’s shed. He hadn’t even laid eyes on the motor since 1970, when he failed in getting the motor to start and lacked the skills and patience to get it running again.

The years had not been kind. The piston was rusted firmly to the cylinder wall. The flywheel had been replaced with half of a metal pail. The handle formerly attached to the flywheel was long gone. The batteries had dissolved to nothing. It seemed to be in complete disrepair.

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With nothing to lose, Aage flooded the rusted piston with two-stroke motor oil. Then he waited for three more years. After almost fifty years of inactivity, another three years was nothing.

It worked. The oil loosened the rust and allowed the piston to move freely within the cylinder for the first time in decades. The Evinrude’s heart could beat again, and with it, a little piece of Aage’s grandfather was brought back to life. Aage performed a few more minor modifications – installing new batteries and replacing the long-decayed leather strap his grandfather had used to pull-start the motor with a fresh length of rope. Then he gave the rope a pull.

And how many pulls did it take to start this century-old Evinrude motor? Watch and see.

Evinrude built itself on a reputation of quality, and that quality has been evident since the very earliest days of the company. Of course, the engine would still be a pile of rusty metal without Aage’s patience and ingenuity, but Evinrude’s high-quality machining and craftsmanship is still apparent over a century later

So how does a century-old motor perform on the water?

We genuinely thank Aage Ruud for his story, pictures, videos, and for keeping alive a piece of Evinrude’s history.