As the world’s largest dealer of new Cigarette V-bottoms and Marine Technology, Inc. catamarans, as well as pre-owned high-performance powerboats, Pier 57 has joined forces with TNT/MPG, the company that will handle all its engine building, rebuilding, and major service chores. Both companies are located within a few blocks of each other in Gurnee, Ill.
“Part of our new facility is a 5,000-square-foot service center with five 45-foot-long service bays,” explained Scott Sjogren, the owner of the dealership. “We know that service is a big part of our future—people are already repowering, restoring, and rehabbing their existing boats—but we are not an engine builder or rebuilder. From an in-house perspective, we can swap out engines and provide rigging services, and we can completely dress out and rig engine compartments. But we are not in the engine building and rebuilding business, and we don’t want to be.
“That’s where our partnership with TNT/MPG as our engine builder comes in,” he continued. “We are growing and we need to align ourselves with an engine shop that can grow with us and has the technology to handle the types of engine products we deal with every day. TNT/MPG is well known in the auto-racing world, and has some of the most sophisticated machinery, as well as its own dynamometer, available. They can build new engines and handle engine rebuilds, valve jobs, and everything else in house. There is nothing they can’t do.”
As a certified Mercury and Mercury Racing service center, Pier 57 will continue offering basic warranty service work on the engines from those companies. (Cigarette Racing Team only installs Mercury Racing engines in its new models.) Tom Olsen, the owner of TNT/MPG, and his crew will handle the rest.
“We have all of our own CNC machine equipment, and all of our CNC work on each engine is done in one setting—in one machine—so that all machining can be accomplished without moving the engine,” said Olsen. “Anytime you move the engine from one CNC machine to another, you increase the possibility for inaccuracy. We do all our work in house—there’s nothing we send out.”
Although Olsen’s primary work has been in building auto-racing engines, he said is confident that the experience has him and his team well prepared for building high-performance powerboat engines.
“For drag racing, we might make an engine that has to produce 3,000 hp for five minutes over its entire lifetime,” said Olsen. “For boats, we might have to build one that produces 1,000 hp for 300 hours. Both present challenges, but both are totally doable.”