In 1959, a British industrial company, Perkins, introduced the 4-99, a water-cooled diesel
engine for general applications, especially power tractors. Perkins, not realizing the marine
applications of the 4-99, sold the US import
rights to Westerbeke
In addition to converting the engine for use on sailboats, they also built marine
generators from the 4-99.
For several years, Westerbeke had a clear field for exploiting the marine uses of the 4-99 in America. Of note was the solid contract
business he developed supplying engines for the 26-foot whaleboats used by the U.S. Navy and lifeboat engines specified by the Coast Guard.
By the mid-1960ís, Perkins took back control and became a fierce competitor offering the Perkins 4-99 for marine use. In 1997, Caterpillar bought Perkins.