Industry legend Charles Strang has died at the age of 96. Strang, who launched his career with Mercury Marine, went on to become Director of Engineering Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) and later its CEO and chairman.

Strang is credited with the first sketch of the sterndrive engine, which he did as a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His mother, Ann, was responsible for the famous Phantom Black engine colour of Mercury Marine engines.

Strang was president of the American Power Boat Association and became the only American to serve as president of the U.I.M. – a federation of some 50 nations that governs powerboat racing on a worldwide basis.

Strang was also a large figure in NASCAR racing. In 1998, Strang became National Commissioner for NASCAR, a position he held for 10 years. In 2015, Strang became a member of the MOPAR Hall of Fame.

“Charlie was an avid powerboat racing ambassador and a brilliant engineer,” said John Pfeifer, Mercury Marine president, citing his 13 years with the company. “He loved engines and loved Mercury Marine. We could always count on Charlie to lend his support to the industry.  He lived an incredible life and is responsible for a lot of the success we have today."