Why it's a ...

McCulloch R1 Racing Kart (1961)

By 1960, McCulloch MC5 and MC10 engines, which were derived from chainsaw engines, had already established themselves as the ones to beat in the A Standard and A Super classes respectively (B Standard and B Super for dual engine configurations). In mid - '61, McCulloch made big news with the introduction of a trio of kart models, the most notable of which was the R1 racing kart. Special features included a detachable power/axle assembly for quick changeovers between racing classes, and a one-piece removeable bucket seat that featured thick foam filled sidepads to accomodate a variety of driver girths; color was (what else) yellow. Weight was a bit on the high side at 109 lbs (without engines), and price was $230 and $100-120 for an additional power/axle unit. The F1 "family kart" (pictured in the top photo) was identical except that it did not have the detachable rear assembly (price:$204). The C1 concession kart (not pictured here - no big loss) had a bunch of bumpers etc added for use on kart concession tracks ($275).

While the product introduction was interesting technically, its timing coincided with the beginning of the kart glut. The karting 'craze" was already past its peak. By the fall of '61,even "Kart" magazine ceased to exist as a standalone (combined into "Car Craft and Kart" for several months, before vanishing completely). I've no idea how many McCulloch karts were ever sold or whether any still exist today. The evolution of Mac engines is the subject for a future feature.

Check out an ad from 1961 depicting family fun.

Timberland Saw Co ad for McCulloch karts and engines.

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