This nostalgic DIY is the perfect solution for an old outboard

Published: January 29, 2020

Johnson outboard motor turned into a mailbox on the side of the road Photo by Phil Richmond

At Phil and Hayley Richmond’s cottage, old outboards never die; they just fetch the mail. After the Richmonds’ previous mailbox was mugged by baseball bat-wielding yahoos years ago, Phil retrieved this vintage unit from a marina scrap heap.

“It’s a nostalgic touch,” he says of the 5.5 hp Sea Horse. “We were always a Johnson family at the cottage.” As a bonus, the cowling is hinged in the middle and secured by clasps on each side, making it easy to pop it off the engine.

The mailbox conversion was almost as easy. Phil screwed a wooden base to the cowling, using old door hinges repurposed as brackets, and then lag-bolted the base onto a 4×4 cross arm.

He keeps the weather out with a flap made from the door of his old, plastic mailbox, mounted on hinges (the hinges are secured inside the cowling with epoxy). Bondo body filler closes the gap between the cradle and the base of the outboard. Now the Sea Horse doubles as a beacon. “Our place is the one with the outboard,” Phil tells visitors.

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