Racing McCullochs

The use of McCulloch superchargers for racing is pretty well defined, with the factory sponsored  VR57 equipped ’57 Fords competing successfully at NASCAR prior to the supercharger ban, and VS57 equipped vehicles being raced by private individuals at the drag strip and on the salt and sand.  I guess initially this section of the site will strongly feature the ’57 Fords due primarily to the their heavy racing involvement, although hopefully, given time, examples of other marques will surface.


Jerry Unser, Stock Class winner at Pike’s Peak in 1957

Hot Rod magazine sponsored this entry at the Pike’s Peak hill climb, which was a popular performance event during the fifties. The June 6 AMA  racing ruling killed off the factory sponsored stock car racing teams, and left drivers like Jerry Unser looking for sponsorship. Jerry had been scheduled to drive a factory sponsored Phase I supercharger equipped 300 horsepower Ford for the July 4th Pikes Peak event, and had managed to purchase the car he was scheduled to drive from Peter DePaulo. With the aid of sponsorship from HRM, Jerry was able to compete in the event, and managed to win the Stock class with a new record time of 15 minutes 39.2 seconds. Second place for the event went to another ex stock supercharged Ford, this had a time of 15 minutes 48.8 seconds and was driven by Nick Sanborn. The remaining cars in the event, which included a Pontiac, a couple of Fury engined Plymouths and a fuel injected Chevrolet, didn’t really get a looking, probably due to the power advantages that superchargers give at the higher altitudes.


Larry Walkers Junior Stock 1957 Ford Tudor

Larry Walker achieved a best of 109.70 in 12.74 with his 1957 Ford Tudor which was run in the Junior Stock class during the late sixties. This was basically a stock car with a few minor modifications, as allowed in the rules for the class at the time. The modifications included a 0.050 overbore (given 317 inches displacement instead of the standard 312), a 290 degree duration cam (with .450 lift), TRW pistons (stock 8.7: 1 compression ratio), CITE truck rods, and Sanderson racing headers. The VR57 used was actually a late sixties competition blower, which was the only available replacement blower available at the time. This has a fixed ratio drive and was good for 8 – 10  psi plus, although in order to meet the requirements of the Junior Stock Class the blower was set to achieve 6 psi at 4600 rpm, with an additional 2 psi allowed for each 1000 rpm over the 4600 rpm limit. This car held the NHRA H/AS e.t record at 13.18 for a while and was last raced in 1972 and is expected to be racing again next year as it is currently being restored by its owner Cec Hardy. Cec has said that John Thompson of Paxton products supplied some racing parts but they were never used as they came too late. The main part is a stainless ring that fits between the main races to prevent them from collapsing- the bellville springs would give out. The pressurized oiling system was disabled and shims were used to raise the static pressure to produce more blower psi. It would put out a min of 12psi at 6000rpm. Cec had problems burning out the bearings and races. The car always ran 12.8's @ 109 on 7" slicks and 4.89 gears.


Bud Kennedy’s Blown 1955 Thunderbird

You’ve probably seen another picture of the engine in the VS57 photographs section of the site, so forgive me for showing it again, but it does amuse me.  As can be seen a VS57 is installed and plumbed up to a 3-2 carburetor setup, although full details are a bit vague for this car. The cam was apparently Isky, the 292 was bored out by 1/8 of an inch, the carbs are Holley and spalding ignition was used. When using slicks and traction bars the car was recorded at 102.27 mph in the standing quarter mile.


1954 Packard Panther Daytona

Some might say that this is an unusual choice for the racing McCullochs section of the site, however the first of the four 1954 Packard Panthers produced was raced at Daytona in 1954 turning an average of 110.97 mph, based on runs of 111.24 and 110.70 mph. More significantly in a later one-way run, using a racing type of windscreen instead of the standard windscreen, which was not officially timed,  Dick Rathman claimed that he had clocked himself through the traps at131.1 mph. The Panther was Packard's first fiberglass-bodied car and was produced as a show car. Built on the 122" wheelbase, it used the 359 cubic inch straight eight engine of 1954. Boost was provided by a McCulloch which provided 275 horsepower.


1954  Kurtis 500

The car, which is Nash LeMans Jetfire OHV six powered Kurtis 500, was raced in the unlimited class sports car events of the Northwest during 1955 by Jim Flanagan. Carburetion was achieved using two side draft Carter carb’s, and no other engine modifications were reported, with the exception of engine balancing, port polishing and cleaning. I’m not sure of how well the car competed however it was reported to have a quiet operation, tractability in city traffic and fantastic acceleration. Note the McCulloch dealer emblem on the rear of the car. The car was interestingly enetered by Bob Christie in the 1954 Pan American Carrera, and purportedly paced the leaders of the race, until overheating due to a full belly pan reducing cooling caused an early retirement. I don’t know, however, if the car competed in this event using the McCulloch blower.


Hoosier Hurricane

John Feistritzer’s Hoosier Hurricane, a VR57 supercharged 1957 Fairlane 2 Dr. Sedan. The 3700 lb (including driver) car has run 11.83 @ 113.5 mph (7.50 @ 91 mph 1/8 mile time) which is pretty respectable to say the very least. The engine is a 312 Ford Y Block bored .030 with 292 rods and  .450 lift, 292 deg. duration cam. Heads are 59 Merc (standard replacement for stock 57 blower heads) with exhaust ports opened up, stock intakes and 429 Ford 1.65” exhausts installed. Headers are fenderwell 1 5/8” primary into 3” collector. The blower is a factory VR57 converted to a fixed ratio with SN60 internals, and is still direct oiled. This is mounted on a stock supercharged 57 Ford carburetor and intake manifold, and produces 12 psi at 6000 rpm. Nice one John.


Peter Leddys 1957 Ford Courier at the 2001 Y Block Shootout

A rare competition 3-2 setup on Peter Leddy’s supercharged 292 '57 Ford Courier Sedan Delivery. This was a rare setup in the fifties, so to see one today is definitely a surprise. Peter drove the all the way from Dallas Texas and raced it in the Y Block Shootout at the Expo Ford show at the National Trail Raceway east of Columbus, Ohio, which is a sure indication of the reliability that can be obtained with a VS57 setup. The second photo shows the Courier racing against the Hoosier Hurricane, and times are believed to have been in the sixteens, which is certainly not bad for a car driven to the event. More can be found on this 3-2 carburetor enclosure kit on


Rick Martins 1954 Lincoln at the 2001 Y Block Shootout

Although this car has featured in the visitors vehicles section of the site, and blower pictures have appeared in the VS57 pinup section of the site, a bit of repetition can be excused as Rick has been working constantly on the unique DO-VS59 blower installation, and has now managed to achieve a best of 15.36 at 87.32  with a 9.85 1/8 mile at 71.70 mph for the 4600 lb car. Previously in the drags Rick’s best run legal stock was 16.78 at 81 mph in good air and 64.67 mph in 10.73 seconds, which shows the improvements that the addition of the blower has made to his times. Rick does report that he has fuel problems and is running out of gas in third gear and he believes after discussions with John Feistritzer that a reworked 56 Lincoln fuel pump and all 3/8 lines will cure this.To quote Rick: “I watched my Blower boost Carb and intake and it was 7 lbs for both , the only explanation is the secondaries must not have been opening all the way before , my fuel  pressure was only 7 lbs at the line also at 4800 rpm , I expect 15.20s when the fuel problem is finally solved , I have the blower turned up exactly 1 Quarter turn on the solenoid , this is all I am going to turn it up , I had it a half turn at Columbus and nosed over at 3/4 on the track with lack of fuel pressure , so 1 Quarter turn is all it takes to make 7 lbs with a 7.25  drive pulley at 4800 rpm with 317 inches of engine.” The 54 Lincoln in normally aspirated form, and driven by Rick, took first place in the Turismo Libre, the open touring class of the La Carrera Classic in 1991.



Mercedes SLS

Chuck Porters fuel injected McCulloch supercharged Mercedes SLS must have turned quite a few heads during the fifties, with the blown 183 cubic inch engine achieving 12.7 seconds @ 105 mph in the quarter mile on the drag strips. Obviously this rare beast was developed for the race track where the believed 30 percent more horsepower and increase in lower down torque would have proved useful – I sure would like to know if Chuck had any success with her. As can be seen from the photos it is a pretty tight installation with the water pump and generator being relocated to the right side of the engine, the fan removed, the radiator relocated forward, the crank pulley assembly extended and the front cross member reworked. The VS57 was set up to produce 5 pounds boost and due to clearance issues has it’s air intake poking through the hood.