Johnson outboards originated in 1922 after the Johnson Light Twin Outboard was introduced at the New York Motor Boat Show. The aluminum, opposed-twin Light Twin made 2 hp and weighed just 35 pounds when other outboards on the market weighed 60 pounds. The Light Twin could be tilted and swiveled 360 degrees on its bracket. It was also reliable and easy to start. By 1923 Johnson sold 7,000 motors. In 1925 they introduced an even lighter 27 pound model. Johnson was at one point the best selling outboard brand in the world. In 1935 the assets of Johnson outboards were purchased by the son of Ole Evinrude, Ralph Evinrude of OMC.

Since that time both Evinrude and Johnson have been making outboards side by side under the same ownership. After the fall of OMC a company called BRP has taken over the outboard business. Now Johnson is only producing 2 and 4-strokes up to 40 HP. Evinrude is producing the larger outboards and is firmly supporting clean burning 2-stroke E-Tec technology.

Many of the higher horsepower Evinrude and Johnson outboards use the same lower unit. SEI currently produces a lower unit that will replace most 6 Cylinder Evinrude and Johnson lower units.

SEI is also working on producing smaller 4 cylinder lower units for Evinrude Johnson Outboards.