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O. F. Christner - Master of Outboard Motors


In professional racing outboard and modified outboard racing, the name O. F. (Chris) Christner is well known. O. F. Christner, working out of a small welding & machine shop in Quincy, Illinois, almost single handedly changed the racing world in the 1940's, by bringing Mercury outboards into dominance. Little by little, he refined his modified Mercs until they were beating the Johnsons and Evinrudes at the races and making a name for his company, Quincy Welding. This site is dedicated to the creative genius of O. F. Christner.

Christner Family's Racing Photo Album


O. F. Christner took many photos during his racing career, beginning in the 1940's. Others also took photos, which they gave to O. F. during his career. We'd like to share these photos with you on this web site. (Please note: These Christner family photos, as well as the other photos appearing on the QuincyLooperRacing.US web site are copyrighted and are not to be copied or posted to any other web site without the written permission of Paul A. Christner. Thanks.)

Click here to see the Christner Family's racing photo album.

The Early Years


O. F. Christner was born on a farm near the small rural Illinois town of Mendon. He hated farming and by the age of 10 he found himself working on the farm equipment for his father. At 14 Chris, as he was called by his friends, became an auto mechanic. He later learned welding and machining. In 1942 Chris became interested in souping up old 2 cycle fishing motors. One of his first rigs was a 7.5 hp Mercury that Chris steered with a tiller handle. It ran 32 mph. E. C. Kiekhaefer had started Mercury Outboard in 1939 but was not able to beat the Evinrudes and Johnsons that dominated outboard racing at that time. Christner found he had a knack for getting the outboards to run faster, so he opened a small shop in a 2 car garage at 718 York and began modifying mainly Mercurys on the side while running a full time welding and machining shop.

The Start of Quincy Welding


O. F. Christner started his business in a small garage located at 718 York. Prior to that, he had owned a mechanical shop in Mendon with his brother, T. C. Christner, and worked at the local technical school teaching welding for $25 per week. Christner named his new business Quincy Welding & Radiator. He became a Mercury outboard motor dealer in 1948 after taking a trip to Chicago with son David to attend a boat show. While at the show, Christner met Carl Kiekhaufer of Mercury Outboard Motors. Mr. Kiekhaufer asked O. F. what type of motors he was running. O. F. repied he ran Neptunes. Mr. Kiekhaufer said he would make O. F. a Mercury dealer if he got rid of his Neptunes. O. F. Christner agreed and was soon selling Mercury KE4's. They were so popular that they had a long waiting list for the motors. While attending the National Outboard races in Florida in 1949 with employee Eddie Palmer, the owner of the building Christner was renting gave him a 30 day notice to vacate. Upon returning from FL, Quincy Welding was moved to another rented shop building located at 9th & Broadway, behind a boat dealership. O. F. Christner's brother T.C. convinced O. F. that he should purchase some land and build a new shop. T. C. found a lot at the corner of 5th & State streets that he felt would meet his brother's requirements. There were 2 issues: the lot was deeply sloped and it was zoned residential, not commercial. T. C. did not let that get in their way. He arranged for grading of the lot and the 2 brothers managed, eventually to get the zoning changed. O. F. Christner then built the 2 story building which housed his business until it closed in 1984. Quincy Welding was a family business. Sons David, John and Paul all worked for their father at one time or another. David was a very successful race driver in the 1950's for Quincy Welding, winning many races and a national championship in A hydro. Daughters Anne, Phyllis and Mary Lou helped assemble Quincy throttles for their father. Son-in-laws Earle Hull, Bob Lalande, Frank Volker and J. D. Vanzant were all employed by Quincy Welding at various times. Earle Hull and Frank Volker both successfully competed for the Quincy Welding race team. Bob Lalande was also a winning boat racer for the Quincy Welding team.

Miss Quincy


O. F. Christner's love of racing lead him to stock outboard races on the Mississippi River. In 1949 he and Edwin Palmer took a stock utility boat & 25 hp Mercury motor to Lake Alfred, FL, where they recorded the fasted time in the 1 mile trials in their class at the national championships. The boat was appropriately named the "Miss Quincy." Christner almost single-handedly took a production Mercury engine and converted it into a racing machine, then made the technology available to the average racers.

Quincy Mods


Back in the 1940's, O. F. Christner began experimenting with the stock engines, making modifications. These modified Mercurys became known as Quincy Mods. O. F. converted Mercs to burn alcohol and nitro. Other modifications to these Merc Mods included widening and raising the intake & exhaust ports, altering the carbs and adding tuned exhaust stacks, also welding in inserts called "pads" into the cylinder heads. With these modifications the Mercs dominated the competition. These engines were very competitive with the Johnsons and Evinrudes. Quincy Welding/Quincy Racing won many championships during these years with their Quincy Modified Mercs. (This photo is of an unrestored Quincy Mod owned by Roger Hinsdale. You may see the restored engine on Roger's collections page on this site.)

1953 - 1st Quincy DeSilva Runabout


O. F. Christner, Charles Overby & David Christner


This is an early 1950's photo taken at the Quincy Welding shop of O. F. Christner, customer Charles Overby of Hardinsburg, Kentucky, and David Christner, oldest son of O. F.

Quincy Mercs vs Konigs


Things were going well for Quincy Welding, but a new competitor was on the horizon. In 1956, Dieter Konig of Germany brought his race engines to the US to compete against Quincy Welding. These temperamental but fast engines were equipped in 1957 with megaphone exhaust systems and soon became a serious threat to the Quincy engines. O. F. Christner fought back by designing his own open megaphone exhaust system for the 2 and 4 cylinder Mercs. These engines became known as Quincy Mercs. During this time period Quincy Welding was providing a full line of racing engines, props, helmets, life jackets and other specialized racing hardware while also maintaining a full service welding and machine shop. O. F. Christner, in a 1970 interview, said the following about Konig: "We were always looking for something better, it seems like every time we get a motor running real fine, Mr. K over in Germany comes out with a new model and we have to go back to the drawing board."

1957 of John Christner


This 1957 photo shows John Christner, 2nd oldest son of O. F. Christner (right) working on the Quincy Welding boat V1000. O. F. Christner is standing behind John.

O. F. and Paul Christner, Arkansas - 1958 or 59


At a boat race in Arkansas, while waiting around between heats, O. F. Christner put on his son Paul's sun glasses and cowboy hat. Picture by Johnny Dortch.

Mr. Quincy Ad


The logo of Mr. Quincy, seen here in this ad, was designed by O. F. Christner's wife, Vera, in the 1950's. She was taking art classes at Quincy College and drew Mr. Quincy as an assignment for her art classes. The Mr. Quincy character was used in advertising for Quincy Welding from the late 1950's through the 1960's.

1959 - Quincy Welding Race Team


Members of the Quincy Welding race team with their trophies. Left to right are: Arlen Crouch, David Christner, Rich Weisenberger and Freddie Goehl.

1959 at Springfield, IL Races


This photo is from the boat races at Springfield, IL in 1959. The boat, V50, was raced by our cousin, Arlen Crouch. Arlen won many races for Quincy Welding throughout the 1950's and 60's. The boat was a cabover hydro with a 6 cylinder Quincy engine. You can also see a young Billy Seebold to the right of the picture, at the front of the boat. Earl Hull is standing at the rear of the cabover.

1959 Races at Springfield (2)


This photo was also taken in 1959 at the races at Springfield. The ladies are (left) Lou St Clair and (right) Mary Scott, wife of racer Albert Scott. In the background to the left are David and O. F. Christner. Arlen Crouch is the man in the middle of the picture, to the left of Mary.

The 1960's


The 1960's saw huge changes in race motor technology. In the beginning of the decade, some Mercurys were still running the exhaust straight out of the ports simply by cutting part of the water jacketing away. Some competitors still ran gravity tanks on top of their motors. The Quincy Welding four-pipe exhaust was common then and you could buy them new for under $50. A Quincy throttle was $12. The Champ Hot Rod on alky was a popular motor then and gave the Mercs all they could handle. The British Anzani, in the right hands, was a frontrunner in the A and B classes. A 1969 ad for Quincy Welding in the NOA Rooster Tail stated you could beat the nitro burners using straight alky and claimed 16 records (straight-a-way & competition) vs brand "K" with 2, brand "H" with 2 and brand "A" with none. From the 1960's until the 1980's, Quincy Welding also modified 15 to 20 Mercury engines per year for a Native American tribe in the state of Washington. They raced 22 c.i.d. models on dug-out canoes.

Earl Hull driving V1000


Earl Hull, son-in-law of O. F. Christner, driving V1000 for the Quincy Welding race team in the early 60's, probably 1962 or 1963.

O. F. Christner Races in 1962


O. F. Christner, racing at the World Championships in 1962, finished 2nd in A Runabout. Jim Schoch, ace driver for Quincy Welding, finished 6th in the class that day.

The Quincy Loopers


To combat Quincy Welding's Quincy-Mercs, Konig radically changed his motors from the cross flow or deflector piston design to the flat topped "loop charged" design being used by other European competitors at that time. Quincy Welding's deflector piston Mercs could no longer keep up with the redesigned Konigs, so O. F. Christner went back to the drawing board and created the Quincy Looper racing engine. Chris designed a loop scavenged block that would allow the use of a flat top piston design. The inlet ports "loop" the intake charge away from the exhaust ports. These Loopers had exhaust stacks out both sides of the engine. The 1st production Quincy Loopers, known also as Merc/Quincy Flat Heads, were produced in the fall of 1963. Thanks to the Quincy Loopers, speeds in D hydro increased by almost 30 mph literally overnight. In the early 60's a 75 mph D hydro could run up front. Most racers ran round-nosed hydros and 2-blade propellers. (Photo is of a restored C Looper owned by Frank Novotny.)

1963 - Moses Lake, Washington


This photo was taken in August of 1963 at the National Outboard Racing Championships at Moses Lake near Spokane, Washington. Paul Christner can verify that because he has a copy of an article from the Spokesman-Review dated 8/22/63 with a photo of O. F. Christner and Paul standing in front of the Quincy racing trailer. The article states that his father's team held the national titles in D Runabout and D Hydro, having won at Bradenton, FL the previous year (1962). If you look closely at the Quincy Welding trailer, you will see that it has one word on the side, "Nothing." O. F. Christner had just gotten the Quincy Welding trailer repainted and did not have time to get the lettering finished before leaving for the races on the west coast, as the sun was setting in Quincy, IL, and the team had to get on the road that night. The trailer was supposed to have "Nothing Runs Like a Quincy Merc" on the sides. The painter had just enough time to do the word "Nothing" before he had to quit. Paul remembers that many people at the races thought the "Nothing" was intentional. The logo was finally finished after their return from Washington. As a side note, Paul also mentioned that the Quincy Welding race team had to leave Quincy early because his father stopped in Arizona on their way west to meet with Charlie Strang, who had recently left Kiekhaefer Mercury for OMC.

Quincy Welding Race Engines at Moses Lake, WA


Boat Racing in the 1960's


This photo is of Walt Blankenstein (left) and Bob Murphy (right) standing next to Jerry Waldman's race trailer. In the background (seated) is Bobby Herring. O. F. Christner's good friend & fellow boat racer, Clem Landis, was handing out homemade fudge in the background. In the 1960's, Quincy Welding was turning out Loopers as fast as they could manufacture them. The company was also doing work on C Service and Am-Pro engines, plus pleasure outboard engines. Quincy Welding was a Mercury Outboard dealership, a Homelite Chainsaw dealership and also did propeller repairs, having 50 custom designed pitch blocks. As if that wasn't enough, Quincy Welding also did welding jobs for local customers and businesses.

The Loopers Reign


The Quincy Looper often dominated the Alky classes of outboard racing from 1964 thru 1972. The Looper had the exhaust stacks coming out of both sides of the engine block, This new loop scavenged block allowed the use of flat top pistons. With these Looper engines, Jerry Waldman won national championships in A, C, D & F hydro and C Service Hydro for a total of 5 championships at Depue, IL, in 1971. This photo is of Paul Christner standing next to a Quincy Looper from the Ted Miller collection at an antique outboard meet in Lake Shipp, FL.

June 1966 Rooster Tail


The person on the far left is Dub Parker of Alabama, 3 times high points winner of the North-South races. The 2nd person is Jerry Flynn of TN. The person wearing the Merc Quincy shirt, 3rd from left, is Quincy Welding race driver, Jim Schoch, 1960 high points winner of the North-South race. The person on the right is Bill Tenny from Minnesota, who set many speed records in the 1950's and was the 1952 high points winner of the North-South races.

Mercury's Lake X


From 1969 until the spring of 1975, O. F. Christner worked in Florida at Lake X for Mercury Outboards, doing experimental work for Mercury. Lake X was a legend in the US boating industry, and for 47 years it served as the secret testing facility in central Florida for Mercury Marine's latest products. Lake Conlon, as it is officially known, is about 30 miles outside of Orlando. It was the site where the company often ran engines 24 hours a day, six days a week, to test their endurance. Mercury also set many endurance records there. Infested by alligators and surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, it quickly developed a mystique among boaters, and within the industry itself. Carl Kiekhaefer wanted a hidden spot where he could run his engines, away from the prying eyes of rivals like the former Outboard Marine Corp. Competition between the two outboard giants was so intense that, at dealer meetings, Carl Kiekhaefer would hang Johnson motors over bonfires and watch them melt (see photo of Carl Kiekhaefer & bonfire). Dealers were expected to chant with Kiekhaefer slogans like "kill the enemy." While working at Lake X, O. F. would commute to Sarasota, FL on the weekends to be with his family. Paul remembers going to Lake X in the early 70's and running his father's Yamaha 125 MX around the huge perimeter of Lake X.

1970 Quincy Welding Ad


The 1970's - Many Changes


The 70's saw an interesting evolution in the competition. After being with the old NOA for many years a switch to APBA was made to increase national exposure of modified outboard racing classes. Back in their beginning, Modified meant alky-burners but the 70's saw the Modified classes then relegated to gasoline burners in APBA. Jerry Waldman, running exclusively Quincy Welding race engines, won national championships in A, C, D & F Hydro plus C Service Hydro at Depue, Illinois, in 1971. This had never been achieved before by a single driver. Jerry Waldman's highly successful racing career came to an end in 1972 when he was tragically killed in a racing accident at Hot Springs, Arkansas. With O. F. Christner working for Mercury at Lake X in Florida, the German Konig engines had an opportunity to take over and dominate the Alky classes. In the spring of 1975, Christner returned to Quincy to pick up the reins of Quincy Welding's racing program in an effort to reclaim dominance. With the help of his youngest son, Paul, O. F. designed and built a totally new concept engine they named the Quincy "Z." Quincy Welding at first had mixed success with the new Z Looper engine. After Paul, running a 350 Runabout with a new Z engine at the 1976 Nationals at Alexandria, LA flipped and destroyed his boat, putting Paul in the hospital, Quincy Welding had little success with the new Z engine until the Nationals at Alexandria, LA in 1977. Then Jeff Kugler obliterated the foreign competition to take the championship in M Hydro in his first PRO race. In February of 1979 Jack Kugler and Barry Anderson broke and re-broke records in 250 Runabout using Z Loopers. They also dominated M Hydro.

1976 - Paul Christner's Alexandria Race Accident


Paul Christner mainly built and developed outboard race engines with his father. He did race briefly in 1975 and 1976. The following photos captured Paul's spectacular racing accident at Alexandria, LA, in 1976. In this photo, Paul's boat is completely upside down. The dialogue for this story is by Wayne Baldwin, another boat racer, that was in Alexandria that day.

Click Here to see photos of Paul's race accident

O. F. in 1977


O. F. Christner with Jim Warren and Art Pugh, looking at a Quincy Welding ZB 350.

1979 article - Quincy Herald Whig


1979 article - Quincy Herald Whig (2)


Quincy Welding becomes Precision Machine


It was during this time period in the late 1970's that Quincy Welding changed it's name to Quincy Precision Machine. O. F. Christner incorporated under the new name, although many customers still referred to the company as Quincy Welding.

The 1980's


In 1981 at Lake Parker in Lakeland, Florida, Jack Kugler won 3 championships (125 Hydro, 250 Runabout & 350 Runabout) running the Quincy Z Loopers. He was also leading in 500 Runabout when the carb failed. Kugler, joined by his son, Jeff, set more records with the Quincy engines. In 1984, at the age of 72, O. F. Christner retired and sold the building at 5th & State. The racing portion of the business was sold to Jack Kugler and Larry Latta to continue on the Quincy racing engine building. O. F. moved to Florida, where he soon began working on a new project, an experimental 2-4 cycle engine.

1991 Honor Squadron Award


The 88th APBA annual meeting awards banquet inducted two individuals into the Honor Squadron, Gilbert Petermann and O. F. Christner, for their long-time service and valuable contributions made to the sport of boat racing. O. F. Christner was recognized for his PRO and Modified Outboard racing contributions of the Quincy Mercury and Quincy Loop racing engines, for the alky versions of the Mercury outboard engines that have been (or still are) speed record holders for the last 30 years, and for his Quincy-Mercs that raced during the 1930's and 1940's. According to the January 1992 Propeller magazine, "O. F. Christner was responsible directly and indirectly for bringing to the sport countless competitors who might have otherwise not been able to take part in the great exciting sport of racing in the Alky classes."

1991 Honor Squadron Article


Mid 90's - Cypress Gardens Driver Banquet


O. F. Christner is standing in the back row, 3rd from the right. David Christner, his oldest son, is seated in the middle row, 3rd from the right.

O. F. Christner and Bill DeSilva


This picture was taken in the late 1990's at DePue, Illinois. Our father and David (Christner) flew up from Sarasota, Florida, to attend the races at DePue.

The End of a Racing Era


Though retired, O. F. Christner went on to develop (with the help of his sons David, John & Paul) a revolutionary 2-cycle engine that would run without oil in the gas. You can see pictures of this experimental engine and read more about it on this web site. It was patented in July of 1999, when O. F. was 87. Mr. Christner's death in March of 2003, at the age of 91, brought an end to his legendary boat racing career.

2003 - O. F. Christner Memorial Race


The O. F. Christner Memorial Race was held on July 4th, 2003, at the Twin Oaks boat club in Quincy, Illinois, on the bay of the Mississippi River. This photo is of the sons of O. F. Christner (John, Paul & David - center of photo) and of attending past Quincy Welding employees. At the far left of the photo is Artie Neadeck, former Quincy Welding customer, who organized the event honoring Mr. Christner.

2003 O. F. Christner Memorial (2)


Former employees Jim Schoch (left) and Gene East (right). Jim was also a successful boat racer for the Quincy Welding race team, taking home many championships and setting several speed records during his career.

Article: O. F. Christner Memorial


Article from the Quincy Heral-Whig, covering the O. F. Christner Memorial race event.

2003 Propeller article on O. F. Christner


2003 Propeller article - page 2


2003 Propeller article - page 2


Vera R. Christner


It is with deep sadness that we report the passing on August 11, 2008, of Vera R. Cambridge Christner, widow of O. F. Christner and mother of Phyllis, David, Anne, Mary, John, Hilary and Paul. O. F. and Vera Christner were married for 70 years, until his passing in 2003. Our mother was born and raised in the small Mississippi river town of Meyer, Illinois. Her love of the river was second only to our father’s. He ran the shop at Quincy Welding, she kept the home fires burning for him. She loved art and music and was an accomplished pianist. Our mother created the “Mr. Quincy” logo used by Quincy Welding throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s (which is featured as the logo on the QuincyLooperRacing.us web site). She was 91 years of age at the time of her passing. She was a loving and generous person and will be missed tremendously by everyone that knew her.

Quincy Welding part of Quincy Museum exhibit.


We are honored and privileged to share with you the exciting news that O. F. Christner and Quincy Welding are part of an exhibit display at the Quincy Museum, 1601 Maine St, Quincy, IL from 4/16/10 until the end of December. The exhibit is entitled "Work and Play on the Mighty Mississippi." Here are the photos we received from the executive director of the museum of the Quincy Welding portion of the display. Please note that the executive director of the Quincy Museum has given us permission to share these photos with friends and family but she has asked that they not be posted to any other web sites, facebook or other electronic media. We are asking that you respect the Museum's request. If you have the opportunity to travel to Quincy, please visit the museum display and give us your feedback. You can find information on the museum at their link of: http://www.thequincymuseum.com/

The Quincy Museum exhibit (2)


Please note that the executive director of the Quincy Museum has given us permission to share these photos with friends and family but she has asked that they not be posted to any other web sites, facebook or other electronic media. We are asking that you respect the Museum's request.

The Quincy Museum exhibit (3)


Please note that the executive director of the Quincy Museum has given us permission to share these photos with friends and family but she has asked that they not be posted to any other web sites, facebook or other electronic media. We are asking that you respect the Museum's request.