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Dragonfly 80 Cruiser

Dragonfly 80 Cruiser - Air drive outboard

A Mighty Wind! (Or not...)

Dragonfly outboards were made in Kansas City MO by the Robertson-Hedges Company from 1954 through the mid-late 1960s. Over the years many different companies made air drive outboards, these seem to be the most common. The idea of an air drive outboard seems to make sense - but the reality is wholly different.... Many say their most popular use was by farmers to force a breeze into the barn on hot summer days!

The Dragonfly has a Power Products air-cooled motor, they were offered in 2hp, 4hp and 5hp variants. These motors were considered "heavy duty" by Tecumseh and had roller bearings on the crank. I've looked at the parts book and can't determine if the rods are also full bearing or not. They were apparently rated to run at their full RPM and load while operating.

1956-9 Dragonfly 80 Cruiser - 4hp

 

LINK: You Tube video of the Dragonfly in use!

Year & Model: 1956-9 Dragonfly 80 Cruiser
Horsepower: 4 @ 4,000 RPM
Cylinders:
1

Bore: 2 1/4"
Stroke: 2"
Displacement: 8 CID
Ignition: Wico FW Magneto
Point Gap: .020
Cooling: Air

Condition: Unrestored
Retail price when new: $229.50
Weight: 58 lbs
Oil/Gas Mix: 10:1
Spark Plug: Champion J-8J (Now J-8C)

Comments:
While I will say it is cool and fun to run, the Dragonfly has to be the most inefficient outboard ever made. On its best day, almost any traditional outboard will run circles around it. Forget the ads with lilly pads and grass, there is no way it has enough thrust to push a normal skiff through them. Even on a clear waterway, against a slight breeze or current, forget it, you are going backwards!

It also is very hungry - running at the full 4,000 RPMs it runs through a tank of fuel in about 30 minutes. (At 10:1 the exhaust is pretty smoky too!) Ear protection is mandatory or you'll be deaf as a post in 10 minutes.

Original Dragonfly Ad - I need to see proof that the ladies were actually moving on that ice rig! If they were how do you stop it?
Action shot on Lake Zoar - I was overhauled by a Mighty Mite on my friend Ray's boat going twice the speed. (And he didn't even open it up!)
Close up of the Tillotson MT carb and fibre air filter.

Atco Boatimpeller | Bendix | British Seagull | Caille | Champion | Chris Craft | Dragon Fly | Elgin | Elto | Evinrude | Flambeau | Johnson | Lauson | Lockwood Ash | Mac10 Wankel | Martin | Mercury | Misc.Motors | Oliver | Outboard Jet 200 | Pluvier | Scott-Atwater | Tohatsu | Tomos | Volvo | West Bend | Whirlwind(Soviet) | Wizard| Yamaha | Zundapp

 

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