Two products owned the spotlight at the 2010 Miami International Boat Show: the then-new Mercury Racing 1350 engine, the company’s first quad overhead cam turbocharged powerhouse, and the Cigarette Racing Team Cigarette Mercedes-AMG 46 sportboat, the first marketing collaboration between the two best-known companies in their respective worlds. As it happened, a pair of those 1,350-hp engines was in the 46-footer, which took its interior styling cues and color scheme from the new-for-2010 Mercedes-AMG SLS luxury sportscar.
Since then, Mercury Racing has introduced 1,100-, 1,550/1,350- and 1,650-hp engines based on that first QC4v engine. And Cigarette Racing Team has collaborated with Mercedes-AMG on nine models, including the record-setting Cigarette Mercedes-AMG 41’ SD GT3 center console and the Cigarette Racing 50’ Marauder AMG Monaco sportboat, both released last year.
Of course, the Opa-Locka, Fla., boat builder has another Mercedes-AMG model coming to Miami this time around. And per tradition, Skip Braver, the owner and chief executive officer of the company, won’t reveal what it is until the show opens on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 10 a.m.
“Bud (Lorow) is running it this week for a helicopter shoot,” said Braver. “And Mercedes-AMG will be air-freighting the car that goes with it. I’m actually heading to the Dusseldorf Boat Show on Thursday. There will be three Cigarettes there, including a diesel-powered 38’ Top Gun and the 41’ SD GT3.”
Braver is justifiably proud of his company’s marketing relationship with the luxury automobile giant. And he’s looking forward to unveiling their tenth collaborative effort next month in Miami.
“I feel very positive about it,” he said. “The relationship makes sense for both companies—there are marketing benefits for both companies. No money ever changes hands. It’s not based on somebody knowing somebody. It’s a partnership.
“We get lots of ideas from them,” he continued. “And they love that we are dedicated to performance and that we always push the bar toward excellence. The 50th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG is this year, and we are one of their major marketing partners in celebrating that milestone.”
Perhaps the most unusual collaboration between the two companies,
the proof-of-concept” Cigarette-AMG 38 Top Gun Electric, which was inspired by SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive, was unveiled at the 2013 Miami event. The boat never ran (by design) and is housed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. By contrast, the Cigarette-Mercedes-AMG 41’ SD GT3 center console powered by twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines seemed to run constantly last year, starting with the Florida Powerboat Club’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run a week after its debut and finishing up at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri, where it made a 104-mph pass—the fastest officially recorded speed for a center console to date.
Asked if he has a favorite Cigarette-AMG powerboat, Braver — a longtime sportscar enthusiast and owner — didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I would say the Formula One Monaco 50 is my favorite because I love F-1 racing, the exotic destination of Monaco and all the exposure it got,” he said. “That was probably the most fun—it was a ‘bucket list’ kind of thing. And it started with a simple conversation. To do something with (Mercedes parent company) Daimler, to share the spotlight with them—Formula One is their biggest thing in the world—to have two world champion drivers on the boat, to meet so many vastly different people including (Formula One great) Nikki Lauda, all of that was such an honor.”
Braver added that, in addition to a new collaborative effort between Cigarette and Mercedes-AMG, visitors to the Miami event next month will experience a much-improved Cigarette display on the docks. As for what they can expect from the new boat, true to form he won’t divulge details. Everyone will have to wait until the show opens.
“We’re excited about it,” said Braver. “And all of the people from Mercedes-AMG will there. It’s an honor to share the spotlight with them.”
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.