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E-mail received from Bob Thompson on January 12, 2008.  Reprinted with permission:

Hi, I enjoyed your web site and reading the history of Dick Gorz, when the Oliver was new in outboards. I am of the same age as Dick and I raced the first Olivers that came into Canada, Aug.1956. I live in Ontario but I am presently in Florida. The following is the first that we heard of Oliver outboards in Canada .

Mercury outboards were the engine of choice for racing but in 1956 Oliver tried to break into that market. I was in the water ski show at the Toronto, Canadian National Exhibition for 4 years. In 1956 Mr. George Duthie, the director of water sports hired me and 2 other drivers from Cypress Gardens in Fla. to do the boat jumping. Four boats were shipped up from Fla., one for each of us plus one spare boat. Oliver brought in 12 engines, 8 of which were on display for the public to view. Our engines were on small boats that we took over the ski jump and over a new Dodge Convertible car that was on a raft type barge located tight to the jump.

This was great fun and the large crowds of people were in the stands to cheer us along. The water was quite choppy due to the 2 sea walls that contained us and on final turn around at the end of the course, we had to bank the boat before turning as the boat had a reverse chine. Twice I did not have enough banking and the boat spun over. No problem, we had 8 spare engines in the show area. However as we were getting short of running engines, the service man was brought in, only to find that the engines could not be repaired on site. Unknown to us Oliver had rebored these engines to increase the HP and speed as they were try(ing) to take the show away from the established Mercury Team. The engines took in water at wide open speed, water locked and bent connecting rods and crankshaft. From then on no boat was to flip over under any condition.

I never did know of a dealer in Canada nor many people who brought them. In 1957 the show was given back to the Mercury team.

We never did see good sales of the Oliver in Canada.

Bob Thompson

January 2008

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