1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

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AusAnzani
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1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby AusAnzani » Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:30 am

I recently added a 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer to my growing collection and am now looking for any info that may be available.

The PR-50 is a 30ci, 24hp, rotary valve opposed twin. Initial research suggests they were generally run on alcohol (Methanol), but may have also run on pump gas possibly with a change of carby.

The drive tube and transom brackets on this particular unit have been remanufactured from steel, and the gearbox/prop appear to be aftermarket, possibly Hubbell. The exhaust is directed straight out of the barrels via aluminium exhaust vents approx. 4 inches long. There are no mufflers.

Thrown in as part of the deal was the standard drive tube and transom assembly, which has a fractured steering bracket. The previous owner suggested the change from original components was driven by their excessive weight and that they were prone to failure. Whilst I can't argue any of that the fabricated parts are clearly designed for a much shorter transom suggesting boat design was probably the primary reason for the change.

This PR-50 was apparently raced in Australia by a Bert (Burt) Jones and featured in TOMM (The Old Machinery Magazine) some years ago, but I haven't been able to confirm either.

It's not 'in one piece' at the moment so it will be a while before pics are posted. It's a fully restored and running unit, disassembled and boxed just for transport.

If anyone has any information on the PR-50 they are willing to share, I would certainly love to hear from you.

Thanks & regards,

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AusOB_Collector
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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby AusOB_Collector » Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:51 am

Hi Spiro

Good work on adding that to your collection. I would strongly recommend contacting Doug Penn in America about it, and/or getting in touch with the Special Interest Group leader for Johnson racers in the AOMCI.

Some pics would be nice once you have it back together, I hope you haven't lost anything on the way back :lol: .

Cheers
BP
Too many Seagulls to count now!


Member SOS, AOMCI,
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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby AusAnzani » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:57 am

G'day Boyd,

Will be in touch with Doug once I'm a little clearer about what parts I need.

In the meantime, here's some pics to wet your appetite.

As purchased, prior to dis-assembly and packaging for transport.

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Currently fitted with an Evinrude rope start that will be replaced in due course. Second pic is what it should look like.

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The carb that's currently fitted, presumably to allow operation with petrol/oil mix instead of Methanol ... also needs to be replaced with an original.

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The fabricated drive and transom assembly. The workmanship on this is outstanding. The super short drive section suggests application was a vintage Hydro of sorts.

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The aftermarket (possibly Hubbell) racing gearbox and prop. It's standing upright in this pic ie there is no skeg as such. From what i understand aftermarket gearboxes such as this were not as strong as the originals, they were however more streamlined ie less drag.

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Overnight I managed to pin down a year range (2003-2005) for the feature in TOMM which is said to include details of the original owner and some of the race history. I'll be on to the editors next week.

Regards,

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Charles uk
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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby Charles uk » Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:37 am

Now you will experience the pain's of the dark side.

No more cute, quaint little outboards, that you can hang on the boat & start on your own!

That quality of paint & polish would tend to imply it was "restored" for show, not go.

Now your going to have to check every important component to see if it's fit for purpose & won't self destruct when you start it.

Many race motors were left on the rack, when they had problems that meant it would be foolhardy to run without fixing.

I will ask other UK collectors of race stuff if they've got one of these or any paperwork, sorry I haven't, as I only play post war European.

The larger diameter rope sheave might mean it was a bastard to start! high compression.
Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot.

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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby AusAnzani » Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:39 am

Thank you Charles, any information will be usefull.

True it has been restored for show, but it has also been run since apparently starting on the first pull of the rope.

The guy standing behind wasn't too happy. Flames from the exhaust and oil stained pants lol

That said it will be completely disassembled and inspected thoroughly before the next start attempt.

The dark side aye? This PR would be equivalent to the starter motor on some of my previous toys. No stress there at all.

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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby notav8 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:54 am

Thats a little Ripper !
Hopefully you can find some more info about its past.
I wonder how many of these made there way over to Aussie ?
Not too many I guess.
Cheers

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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby AusAnzani » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:32 am

With not much to do on the RBM now until the issue of direction & parts is sorted, I thought I’d remove the PR50 from its styrene boxes and refresh myself as to what needed doing.

NOS original Champion R1’s had been sourced from the US some time ago, and in the last few weeks I managed to find/buy a correct alcohol carburetor also. At the moment, I have my eye on a P50 rope sheave and am hoping to negotiate a better deal on that before I commit. That then leaves right hand side barrel (when looking from carb end) and correct fuel tank and tank dcal to bring it back to where I think it should be ie considering its previous racing history.

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Gearbox and water pump housings were in rough shape, so I’ve started to tidy those up also. Lots of fine scratches still in this, so I'll need to go back over from 600 grade and up before polishing.

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A while back I managed to get my hands on a 2003 edition of "The Old Machinery Magazine" in which this PR50 was featured. Unfortunately there wasn't a lot of useful text, but I quite liked the photo (aggressive angle) so took a snap to share with you guys here.

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Regards,
S

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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby AusAnzani » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:32 am

Was looking forward to an easy weekend, but the sun was shining and the winds weren't blowing so I decided to take advantage of the conditions and spend a few hours cleaning the Vacturi Carby that had arrived from the US a few days earlier.

With its 2” throat, this thing is way over the top for a 24hp outboard in my humble opinion, but it is correct to the outboard and to the era, and it looks absolutely fantastic when fitted.

The first shot is for size relativity only, the rest are following disassembly and general clean up over the course of 3 or so hours. Internally is very good, but I’m planning on buying a small ultrasonic cleaner and running it through that before final fitting to the Johnno.

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Started to clean up the exhaust headers also. Castings are absolutely rough as guts, so they'll take a disproportionately high number of hours to get in to shape.

Regards,
S

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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby notav8 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:10 am

Looking really nice. Great job S.
Cheers

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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby AusAnzani » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:49 am

Learning lots about this thing as I go.

Rotary valve is after-market and same may apply to the crank-case also. Not overly fussed about that, because it's expected that race engines will be fitted with non-standard equipment ie racers used whatever was available to keep their engines going. That said. many after-market parts eg Hubbell, Quincy etc were generally of a better design/quality and delivered improved performance, hence they are more sought after than factory originals, at least amongst race enthusiasts anyway.

Have also found that the heads are off a Johnson PO-15. AOMCI members have advised that was a common mod delivering increased compression. Another interesting mod is replacement of the original single coil in the magneto with 2 separate coils. These ones are Victa and fitted by Bob, the previous owner. However the Americans do the same mod with near identical coils otherwise branded and claim that the benefit is a much stronger spark at the plugs. Don't know how true that is (I've got nothing to compare) but am happy to run with it.

I was fortunate that an original P-50 / PR-50 rope sheave appeared on eBay US. Needless to say, it was purchased and is now on this motor.

Still a ways to go, but here's some photos.

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Regards,
S

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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby Collector Inspector » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:54 am

Victa Coils?

There is a Victa twin of course.......so......will the PR power head fit on a mower base?

BnC
Just took a leaflet out of the letterbox, saying that there's no reason I can't have good sex at 65.

Brilliant - because I live at no. 49 so it's not far to walk home afterwards!

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Re: 1930 Johnson PR-50 Racer

Postby AusAnzani » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:10 am

Collector Inspector wrote:Victa Coils?

There is a Victa twin of course.......so......will the PR power head fit on a mower base?

BnC


Now that would be interesting, although I think we would transition from lawn mower to tree stump grinder. 8)

I'm sure I have a photo of a mates nitrous oxide fueled whipper snipper somewhere. If I find, I will post.

Regards
S


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