View Full Version : Engine Size on 16' Oldtown Lapstrake

09-08-2016, 10:49 AM
I am restoring a 1965 16' Old Town and am looking to know what size outboard engine should go on the boat.

I am thinking 2-stroke to limit the weight and I just want it to plane.

09-08-2016, 11:00 AM

I'd be curious what a 40hp 2-stroke weighs versus a 4-stroke today. Probably significantly less. I'd think that overall weight hung on the transom might be a driving force in your decision.

09-08-2016, 11:25 AM
Growing up I had a 1954 13'6" Old Town lapstrake runabout (smaller version same boat), and had a 1964 25 HP Gale on it. I think no more than a 40hp for your 16ft.

Benson Gray
09-08-2016, 11:39 AM
The 1965 Old Town catalog's description for their Lapstrake "1570" model said "In experienced hands it has been used as a high performance hull with 60 H. P." as shown below. More information like this is available from http://store.wcha.org/The-Complete-Old-Town-Canoe-Company-Catalog-Collection-CD-ROM.html in the catalog collection. You can get a copy of the original build record for your boat and confirm the exact model by posting the serial number at http://forums.wcha.org/forumdisplay.php?3 in the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association's forum.

I had an old friend with extended old wooden boat experience who recommended that you never exceed the original manufacture's recommendation by more than about ten percent. The stresses on the transom of a boat can be huge and any failures tend to be catastrophic. Good luck,



Thad Van Gilder
09-08-2016, 11:42 AM
I grew up on the 16 footer (and always wanted one to restore) It had a 65 HP mercury on it, which was a bit excessive. I would say 50 hp is plenty for that boat. Do you have the varnished windshield that opens?

Incidentally I own a old town catalog from somewhere in the 60's. Those pictures are in it.

09-08-2016, 12:12 PM
Wow all great info from this site. I tracked down the build sheet and the model refers to a "Lapstrake". I do have the model with the wood windshield that opens. I think a 40 or 50 is probably the right choice. I would love to see that catalog

This is my first wood boat restoration and it's a great project. The old paint and varnish is off the boat so I am finally getting to the fun part.

09-08-2016, 01:12 PM
If buying used two strokes, I suggest looking for Evinrude or Johnson 35 hp outboards. Getting hard to find. They were available in higher hp ranges but even rarer. The versions I talk about weight about 140 LBS or a bit less. Production years were between 1970 to 2000 or so. The next best are 40/50 hp Tohatsu/Nissan outboards from the 1990s. Weights a bit more, 150-160 LBS. Most 40 hp two strokers weight 170-190 LBS. 50 hp models significantly heavier usually.

For new outboards, stick to a new Tohatsu 40 or 50 hp four stroke. 210 LBS, not too bad. More than most old two stroke 40 hp but less weight than the two stroke 50 hp models. Other brands in the same hp range seem to weight 230-250, a bit too steep.

I do think that a 30 will make the runabout plane well with 1-2 persons. I used to have a 13' Boston Whaler Dauntless (the one with a v hull) and a 40. It needed the 40 for sure. Your boat is 16' but weights less so a 30 might work well but not super fast (25 mph tops).

09-08-2016, 01:33 PM
Thanks, you are thinking the same as I am lighter is better as long as it planes.

For those looking for 2-strokes I found this guy in CT. He seems to have some great options.


09-08-2016, 01:40 PM
From a pollution standpoint, skip the old two stroke and get a four stroke.

09-08-2016, 01:46 PM
And please be sure that the bunks on your trailer support the transom!

09-08-2016, 01:49 PM
I have never used an Oldtown 16 but the 18 footer I ran had a Johnson 75 and that seemed adequate to me. Boat was not mine, ran boat for owner so he could sit in the back and have cocktails with his wife. The spec's provided by Oldtown may have been stretched by the marketing/sales department. Most of the 16' ones I saw, and they we popular, had 40hp 2-strokes on them.

Rich Jones
09-08-2016, 01:58 PM
From a pollution standpoint, skip the old two stroke and get a four stroke.I restored a 16' 1959 PennYan with the original 35 hp. Gale engine. It moved the boat, but not at great speeds. It did, however, leave a cloud of blue smoke and an oil slick in my wake.
I've got a 15 hp 4-stroke on my present fishing boat. Very heavy and drags down the stern for a boat designed for the lighter 2-stroke.

09-08-2016, 02:38 PM
Trust me, I prefer a 4-stroke but weight is an issue. Ok I could lose a few pounds too but that is my own issue.

09-08-2016, 03:27 PM
IMHO, going a touch slower with a smaller HP 4-stroke outboard is worth it versus trashing your fishing grounds with an oily sheen from a 2-stroke. I bet that Oldtown would be perfectly happy with a 25hp Yamaha.

Bob Adams
09-08-2016, 03:51 PM
That boat is crying out for one of these (although I'm not crazy about the electric shift version)


09-08-2016, 05:30 PM
We put a Suzuki 4 stroke 25hp on our 1959 Sorg 15 Runabout lapstrake, with remote steering, tilt and trim. She will run 25mph with 2 people and around 21 on plane with 4. The boat has 3 rows of seats. The hull weight is estimated to be around 800 plus the motor. 4 strokes push the boat a little better per hp, this boat probably had an Evinrude 35 Lark when new. 2 of my criteria for the motor, 1) It starts and 2) it keeps running. Then I am lazy and don't want to mix oil.




09-09-2016, 09:05 AM
Love the 66 lark vid and that Sorg is a beauty of a boat. I am now leaning toward a 40hp 4-stroke. There are models around 210 lbs.

09-09-2016, 09:19 AM
Love the 66 lark vid and that Sorg is a beauty of a boat. I am now leaning toward a 40hp 4-stroke. There are models around 210 lbs.

Great progress on the restoration - I was able to separate the old stern plywood and replace, soon I need to flip her and do the bottom.

Here are some pics and I threw my other projects in. I mostly restore cars, I built both the truck and the skylark including painting them. Painting the boat will be sweet.


Benson Gray
09-09-2016, 09:46 AM
Your boat may have shipped in 1965 but it was built in 1963 so the catalog information below would be more appropriate. It lists a 75 H. P. as the high end. A "40hp 4-stroke" sounds like a good choice. Good luck,



09-09-2016, 12:32 PM
From a pollution standpoint, skip the old two stroke and get a four stroke.

If one needs the lighter 2 stroke, then bio-degradable mix oils are available. Much used by the owners of British Seagulls ( well, I hope;, at 10/1)