1959 - McCulloch's Entry into Kart Racing
Many of you already know that McCulloch officially entered into the kart racing
engine business in 1959 with the introduction of the MC-10. The following is an
article (slightly edited) that appeared in the Feb 1960 issue of "Quarter Midget
& Karting World" magazine. (The magazine transitioned later that year into
"Karting World", one of the most fondly remembered magazines from the early days
of karting.) The article, which highlights the tribulations of Mac's early years in the
business, is both historical and, in some ways, hysterical. Enough from me - here's
the article - Bob.
Part I: Kart Engine Policy
The McCulloch I-70 chain saw. Its Super 55A engine later became, with minor changes, the MC-10. The middle image is what an adapted Super 55A
looked like mounted to a kart frame. Looks like homemade exhaust header. In the 3rd photo, one of the first changes can be seen - the gas tank arrangement.
The old tank was cumbersome and restricted the air flow to the carburetor.
While this is an understandable assumption on the part of the karter, it nevertheless reflects only one side of the story. It would seem wise, in the interest of overall understanding, to give the manufacturers view point as we understand it.
"There is no
question now that the McCulloch MC-10 "
engine clearly dominates the Super A and Super B classes.
Typical of any well established firm, McCulloch has a widespread network of wholesale distributors. Each distributor has a franchised territory in which he seta up a number of dealers to sell and service McCulloch chain saws. Each dealer, in turn, covers a specific area as determined by the amount of sales and service in that area. Bear in mind that this sales and service organization has been set up with the chain saw business in mind. Then whoosh along comes the advent of our our little karts and the rapid acceptance of McCulloch engines. This brings a new source of business for McCulloch Motors. While any new business is a blessing, this blessing, like many, comes with strings attached - problems of which the average karter is unaware. Lets look at how some of these problems came about and then speculate on their possible outcome.
At first, the karter adapted the complete saw unit (less, of course, blade and chain) to his little buzz-buggy. This was an expensive installation, but produced good results and the karter was happy. Happy, that is, until he ran into a McCulloch powered kart in which the chain saw unit had been stripped down to its essential component the powerhead. Gone were the transmission, clutch and housing, and gone too the power loss from the gear train. This stripped down engine (indeed the forerunner of the MC-10) whipped everything in its class including the other McCullochs. The clamor immediately went up for the factory to produce and make available these powerhead units. To meet this demand almost overnight, the factory was faced with several immediate problems. A new carburetor adaptor had to be made (the old one was part of the gas tank) and the head, cooling shroud and fan housing had to be diverted from the 44 engine line. Different packaging had to be worked out, to say nothing of interrupting and changing the assembly lines to produce these units. The McCulloch people took these problems in stride and soon the MC-10s were being distributed to kart manufacturers. McCullochs problems, however, had only just begun
Go to Part 2, Sales, Service & Parts
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