Saturday, June 14, 2014

Robert Paxton McCulloch

Anybody wanna go fast? McCulloch was a racer at heart and the Flying Scott was the last in the line of his go fast goodies. This is an excerpt from on Robert Paxton McCulloch:

In 1946, McCulloch moved his company to California, changed its name to McCulloch Motors, and changed its focus to lightweight two-cycle chainsaws. He did some development work for Kaiser-Frazer at the time, but didn't return to the automotive field until 1953, when he launched the VS57 supercharger, the result of those earlier patents. As with his earlier supercharger, the VS57 initially was produced in kit form for Fords, but soon was available for a wide range of cars and engines.

Kaiser became the first manufacturer to install the VS57 on its cars from the factory, starting with the 1954 Manhattan. Studebaker followed on the Golden Hawk and on the Packard Clipper in 1957, the same year Ford famously offered the supercharger as an option on the Thunderbird.

By then, McCulloch had set up a separate division within the company to produce the superchargers under the Paxton name. McCulloch also had developed two other superchargers: One, used on the Novi cars at Indianapolis, helped their V-8s produce 650hp. The other, the VR57, used a variable ratio and featured numerous improvements over the VS57, not the least of which was the use of engine oil to cool and lubricate the supercharger.

In 1958, McCulloch sold the Paxton division to Andy Granatelli, again changed the name of his company (to McCulloch Corporation), and changed focus once more--to outboard motors. To test those motors, he bought 26 acres at Lake Havasu in Arizona, where he eventually founded Lake Havasu City.

Paxton was again vaulted into the automotive limelight when Carroll Shelby teamed up with the company on a blown 1965 289 Shelby Mustang. The Paxton supercharger option was produced in limited quantities for the Shelby GT-350 Mustang, from 1966 to 1968. This set-up was also available as an over-the counter dealer installed option on standard small-block V8 Mustangs from 1965-‘72.

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