Larry Swanson...1976 Bicentennial Viper with Mercury 115.


Pictured is my recently acquired Viper.  This is my first speed boat and I have only had it in the water once. The bicentennial model was only made in 1976 to celebrate 200 years of American history.  Reportedly less than 30 were made. As shown it is painted red, white and blue with stars for trim.  This boat has been in Minnesota all of it’s life and I am the third owner.  The second owner only had it a short time. Apparently the first owner did not use it much either.  It looks like he stored it in the living room.  I have owned and restored several old cars, but have never seen anything 27 years old look this good.  The only marks on it are some scratches on the hull from putting it on the wrong trailer.  The black seats are still shiny as new. 

This boat has a Merc 115 inline 6 cylinder.  It is a 1978 motor so I suspect it is not the original motor.  If someone knows what it came with I would be interested.  I have only made one timed (GPS)  run with it.  My son and I were aboard ( nearly 400 lb.) with maybe 30 gallons of gas.  I was able to get 56 MPH at 5800 RPM. Some of you hot shoes may be able to trim it for more, but I was plenty scared enough and did not really want to hold that RPM very long. (This was day one remember? ) This was with a SS 21P prop.  

Having  never driven a Viper,  and only having had experience with my son’s Glastron V-142 Jetflite, I am impressed.  It comes on plane amazingly fast, even when loaded. The acceleration is good from medium speeds and it handles waves much better than I expected from a 15’ boat. When pulling a tube it still reaches plane no sweat and can make the guy on the tube do the same. With this prop it doesn’t like water skiing much, but I have a 19P that I am anxious to try.  

I would be interested in E Mail from other Viper owners and would like to hear about outings in the MN Wisc area.


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