The West Bend "Power Bee" 820 engine has a rich history that spans several decades. From its humble beginnings to its modern-day advancements, this engine has continuously evolved to meet the ever-growing demands of enthusiasts and professionals alike. In this blog post, we embark on a journey through time, exploring the origins, key milestones, and innovative features that have made the West Bend "Power Bee" 820 Engine an icon in the world of engines.
The Birth of a Legend: The story begins in 1946 with the West Bend Company producing outboard engines primarily under private label brands. The West Bend Company really got things going in 1951 with an offspring of a 1-1⁄4 horsepower, air cooled outboard power head. The first use of these engines was for brush cutters and chainsaws. In the mid 1950’s McCulloch came out with a twin, side by side rotary lawn mower power by the West Bend engine. The machine was not engineered well and fell apart, but the engines ran great leaving over 30,000 for the surplus market. In 1956 Art Ingels developed the world’s first go-kart using one of the surplus West Bend engines.
In the late 50’s and early 60’s karting boomed and production of the kart engines actually surpassed the production of outboards. In 1965 Chrysler took over and continued on into the 70’s and early 80’s. Through this time the industrial engine now known as the Chrysler Power Bee really took off. The industrial engine was being used in a wide variety of applications such as: tampers, pumps, rescue tools, recreational vehicles, ground augers, and others.
In the 80’s Chrysler sold the small engine line and outboards to Brunswick, who also owns Mercury Marine. Brunswick then changed the name from Chrysler to US Marine. In 1991 Brunswick sold the US Marine Industrial Power Bee line to Wisconsin Oven Corporation who renamed the company United States Motor Power (USMP). The engine line folded with USMP and by luck or chance, was resorected by a hobbyist that I'm sure y'all have seen on facebook, with the Power Bee Performance and Fun group. Ryan has made it a personal goal to ensure that his and your grandkids.. and their grandkids, will have engines to play with in the comming decades.
- Milestones in Performance: As the years went by, the West Bend Power Bee 820 Engine underwent significant improvements to enhance its performance capabilities. Advances in engineering and manufacturing techniques allowed the engine to generate more power, achieve higher RPMs, and deliver improved torque. These advancements not only satisfied the needs of enthusiasts but also attracted the attention of various industries, leading to widespread adoption.
- Technological Innovations: Innovation has been at the core of the West Bend Power Bee 820 Engine's evolution. Throughout its history, the engine has seen the integration of cutting-edge technologies to improve efficiency, reduce emissions, and enhance overall performance. From advancements in fuel delivery systems to the integration of electronic ignition systems, each technological leap has brought the engine to new heights of power and reliability.
- Adaptability and Versatility: One of the defining characteristics of the West Bend Power Bee 820 Engine is its adaptability across different applications. Recognizing the diverse needs of consumers, the engine's design has been modified and optimized for various industries. Whether it's powering go-karts, garden equipment, or small aircraft, the West Bend 820 Engine has proved its versatility and reliability in a multitude of contexts.
- Modern-day Advancements: In recent years, the Power Bee 820 Engine has continued to push the boundaries of performance and innovation. Incorporating advancements in materials, while also bringing back some vintage "racing modifications to increase internal flow. The latest iterations of the engine offer higher power outputs at lower RPMs through the use of digitally programmed ignition coils. Moreover, the engine's compatibility with modern digital ignition coils has facilitated diagnostics, performance monitoring, and seamless integration with other systems while improving safety.
From its humble beginnings to its current state of advanced engineering, the modern Power Bee 820 Engine has undergone a remarkable journey of evolution. Over the decades, it has solidified its reputation as a powerful and reliable engine, meeting the needs of enthusiasts, professionals, and various industries. The legacy of the 820 Engine continues to live on, inspiring future generations of engine enthusiasts and driving innovation in the field of internal combustion two-cycle engines.