1959 - Volvo Penta Aquamatic
When Volvo Penta introduced the Aquamatic drive at the New York Boat Show in 1959, boat designers all over the world put down their pencils and asked the question: “Is it truly possible that this Gothenburg-based company has succeeded in combining the benefits of the inboard engine with those of the outboard, whilst eliminating the disadvantages at the same time?” If this were true, it would revolutionize hull design. Since plastic had also recently appeared in the boatbuilding business, it would open up new opportunities for the pleasure craft industry in particular.
The American manufacturers, who had introduced large, powerful outboard engines during the end of the 1950s, regarded the Aquamatic as a tremendous threat and did everything they could to neutralize the revolutionary design. “The mouse that roared” was the comment when Volvo Penta launched the Aquamatic in advertisements, but the industry soon came to appreciate the benefits of the concept.
The inboard engine is robust, relatively economical on fuel and is located inside the boat, protected from wind, weather and water. It has a long service life and is easy to inspect and maintain. In addition, it can be either a diesel or gasoline unit and it has a high trade-in value. The outboard engine has its particular benefits too. The shaft, propeller and steering can be integrated. Its maneuverability is excellent and the drive can be folded up to avoid grounding. The boat does not need to be equipped with a rudder. Volvo Penta’s Aquamatic achieved a brilliant combination of the two approaches.