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Golden Years in the Golden State

11/11/2014 | Words: Chuck Mahnken | Pictures: John Anderson

2-Cycle engines, Series 71, Magic

From hauling supplies for the U.S. Navy to cruising on family vacations, the Magic has led a full life. Built by Trumpy for the U.S. Navy, the 50-foot wooden utility boat had its share of hard labor, delivering supplies as part of the Navy’s ongoing logistics effort. In the 1970s, it was ready for civilian life. The Magic was converted into a trawler yacht and settled into less active duty—cruising under the California sun and providing relaxing getaways.

When the Magic went on sale in 1987, it quickly got the attention of John Anderson, a lifelong Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle fan. He purchased the yacht, and spent the next 15 years enjoying the ride—along with the steady rumble of its Series 71 engine. “There is nothing like the sound of a 2-Cycle Detroit,” John says. “It’s a smooth, throaty roar unlike any other engine. It always reminded me of a classic tour bus. Not obtrusive, but soothing, assuring and smooth.”

Over the years, John and his family took the Magic on many excursions and vacations on the San Francisco Bay, Pacific Ocean and California Delta. “That 6-71 never needed a single repair. I changed the oil as recommended and replaced a couple of rubber water pump impellers and that was it. That great engine always started right up, and ran clean and true,” says John.


While the family relaxed on deck, a powerful beast kept humming in the engine room. “The Detroit 6-71N inline was a 4-valve head, naturally aspirated model, LH rotation with N-65 injectors, blower on the starboard side, exhaust to port,” says John. “The six-inch wet exhaust would spray a six-foot-long column of water well astern into the wake.” In addition, a Series 53 engine powered Magic’s genset.

John’s admiration for the 2-Cycle started when he was a child. His father owned a surplus 1944 U.S. Navy personnel landing craft, converted to pleasure use. John and his Dad spent many fishing trips aboard the 36-foot Higgins boat, nicknamed “Crocodile.” Like the Magic, it was powered by a Series 71. Today, the Crocodile has been restored to its original military design and is on display at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Read the Crocodile 2-Cycle Story.?

For generations, the Anderson family has enjoyed fishing and boating in sunny California. And Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle engines have been there every step of the way. “My kids—and a lot of other kids, too—practically grew up each summer on Magic,” John says. “What great times we had. And that ol’ Detroit never missed a beat.”

The content of the stories reflects the status as of the respective date of publication. They are not updated. Further developments are therefore not taken into account.

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