Last summer, Infiniti donated a VK56DE engine from the QX56 for a luxury boat project. The work continues on the ambitious boat, included a number of modifications to the 400-hp, 5.6-liter V-8 engine.
At the start of the project, Infiniti recruited automotive tech students from the Tennessee Technical Center-Nashville and Nashville State Community College who assisted with the extraction of the VK56DE engine from a donor QX56. The students also removed a few components not necessary for the water, including the power steering pump.
Since then, the engine has made a number of pit stops with specialists for "marinization" work. First, it went to Bracket Marine in Westbrook, Maine for modifications to ensure a proper fit to the ZF/Hurth marine transmission. Next, a shop in Alabama installed water-cooled exhaust manifolds and a closed cooling system. Now, the engine is on its way to the automaker's factory in Decherd, Tennessee where it will be dyno'd before making its way back to Maine for installation into the hull of the donor boat.
That boat is a vintage 1962 Chris Craft "Holiday," which will need to undergo heavy restoration before the engine is fitted into the hull. Up to 85 percent of the boat's wood will have to be replaced as well as all the upholstery, hardware, and wiring. Once completed, however, the boat is expected to be a outstanding looker and performer.
"When the 20-foot Chris-Craft Holiday model was introduced in 1962, it was said to be one of the best performing Chris-Craft hulls ever produced," said George "Dodo" Brockman, owner of Freeport Boat Outlet, who is overseeing the build of the Infiniti boat project. "It cornered well, was easy to come on plane and was often used in nationally sanctioned competition water skiing events for just those reasons. We can't wait to see how this classic design performs with the new engine."
The boat is no stranger to hot-rodding and has previously been powered by four different engines including a 431-cubic inch Lincoln plank head marine engine and a pair of 440-cubic inch Chrysler marine V8s.
"The use of the powerful Infiniti QX56 V-8 is fitting with the history of this particular craft," said Brockman. "The Infiniti V8 is actually lighter than all of the previous powerplants and won't require any special bracing or hull modifications to fit it into the original engine bay."
Once the restoration is complete, the project will move into the third phase, which includes reassembly of the entire boat. Infiniti plans to tease the public with updates and photos on Facebook (facebook.com/infiniti) and Twitter (twitter.com/infinitinews).