George Dvorznak, 1967
“Your linked story about the drop tank canoes in Vietnam brought to mind something I often saw over there in the 1960s: improvised outboard motors.
We were in Saigon, and the river there was used by thousands of people daily for many purposes, especially transit. But there was a lack of outboard motors —
so the people improvised. They stole, er, borrowed, generators from our outfit and many others. They didn’t need much. Just a little gasoline engine. 10hp, or even 5hp would do.
They removed the engine, attached a 6-foot pole to the motor’s output shaft, then added a propeller. The little engine was kept in the boat, while the “long tail” shaft and propeller reached over the boat’s transom and into the water.
When the engine ran, the propeller turned and drove the boat. River pilots steered the boat by moving the motor.
Worked great. No patents needed.
Here’s an example of a Mark I motor on a small boat. This one is well-crafted. Others were more primitive.