This Jan 1954 Rod & Custom review of the McCulloch VS57 supercharger (which looks so unbiased it could have been written by Robert Paxton himself) provides an enthusiastic, if not optimistic, view of the VS57 supercharger introduction.
When word of this brand new supercharger first reached our ears we were prone to pass it off as just another “gimmick” for its price seemed far too low for a satisfactory unit. How wrong we were, for here, at last, is the answer for those who would like to stuff more air into their engines without too great an expense. (Less than $200.0)
McCulloch motors has recently announced the perfection of a supercharger which should sell like the proverbial hot cakes! Its low price together with the many features it contains makes it about the nest buy to date in the speed and performance equipment field. Heretofore, superchargers have been priced far above the means of the average hot rodder and the majority of those who have always had a desire to own one have had to be content with just sitting and dreaming.
Technically speaking, the McCulloch VS-57 supercharger is basically a simple design. It is of the centrifugal type, without costly, close-tolerance machined surfaces. It has no gearing! Its principle components are high pressure die-castings which can be mass produced with great strength and precision. It has no complex assembly or installation problems. Furthermore, the manufacturer is equipped for and experienced in the mass producing of this type of assembly.
Just the opposite of the many blowers of the same type, the VS-57 boasts noiseless operation. In order to step up impellor speed to 4.4 times the pulley speed, a new type of drive was developed. This remarkably simple device is comparable to a planetary-gear speed increaser, except that the spring loaded balls replace the planet gears. Since the preloading of the drive balls takes up any ear, the ball-bearing planetary drive system remains silent throughout its life.
One of the more outstanding features of the blower is its variable-speed drive. The unit contains a manifold-pressure controlled, variable-speed drive, with a governing device limiting the pressure boost to 5 pounds per square inch. This permits the supercharger to automatically shift between its high and low ratios, as required by driving conditions. The variable-speed driven supercharger idles in low ratio unless called upon to increase the engine’s performance. At low engine speeds the supercharger delivers significant pressure boost for acceleration when in high ratio. At high engine speeds, the supercharger’s governing device shifts to low ratio, to maintain safe impeller speeds and pressure boost.
Because it is of the centrifugal type, the new McCulloch blower provides a wide range of air flow. Therefore, the blower does not have to be closely matched to the displacement of the engine! Thus, the one size can be successfully used throughout the range of most modern automobile engines. The universally adaptable, small (less than 24 lbs) unit can be mounted in limited space engine compartments with little trouble. (This, in itself, was enough to sell us on the idea!) The one and only limiting factor installation wise is that, being belt driven, it must be mounted so that the driving pulley can line up with the engine pulley. But that’s a relatively simple matter on most American cars.
Of importance, and the reasoning behind the use the use of a supercharger, is that the supercharged engine has increased volumetric efficiency and increased mean effective pressure (MEP). Up to 30% H.P. increase can be realized on an average engine.
Right now the McCulloch factory is starting initial production of 5,000 units every month but it shouldn’t be long before demand causes a big increase.
At present time anyone with a blower is usually the center of attraction at a race or drag meet but in the near future the day will come when anyone without a blower will be looked upon as something of a freak. Therefore, if you are interested in attaining engine efficiency beyond your wildest dreams, drop an enquiry to the sales department of McCulloch Motors Corp. at 9775 Airport Boulevard, Los Angeles 45, calif. O.K., you guys, quit shovin’, we saw it first!