This is an autographed picture Jim snail-mailed after we met at the
2004 VKA Vegas event. The picture was taken in his backyard with a
cinder block wall as his backdrop. The day we spoke about this webpage
in August 2010 he was 84 years old and still owns the kart. We
discussed some of the history behind the evolution of the engines on his
kart and found it was difficult to remember some of the details. Until
Jim and I review more of the history again you can be assured what you
read below is as good as it gets. When your trying to remember what you
did 52 years ago while you where just having fun can be a challenge.
Building and racing for Jim was for fun, he just happened to work at the
McCulloch plant in Los Angeles when the karting craze began.
Jim was employed by McCulloch to work in the "Special Test Lab" for new
models. Before the launch of a new product and during development Jim
was responsible for sheetmetal forming, welding, fabrication and testing
before a product would go into production. He had all the skills and
tools to heliarc (Jim says "heliarc" today we say "Tig) weld the twin alloy exhaust pipes with tubing
from scrapped lawnmower handlebars. The engine block assembly is from a
Super 55 chainsaw with what looks like to me is a center sparkplug head
probably off a D44 along with it's center hole cover cut to make
room for the exhaust. The gearbox is still in place with the addition of
a sprocket on the gearbox output shaft to fit a larger roller chain than
we use today. The larger size chain was used since he felt friction would
be reduced with a roller style chain. I can only assume at this time the
#35 roller chains, which are so common today didn't exist with roller
links, so he used the size that came in a roller link style.
The intake manifold under the D44 airfilter cover is a standard 90
degree saw intake manifold with probably a S55 carb which eventually
became standard on the MC10 kart engine.
I don't know why Jimmy used a D44 airfilter, but maybe we'll find out in
the future. This is just a little example of the many details you
could ask which maybe don't matter to anyone anyways. But I find the
evolution from chainsaw to kart engine interesting. For Jim it's
difficult to remember what happened while he was
karting 52 years ago! Jim prefers not to guess or reveal
information he's not sure about. So we'll probably need an other
interview to see what else we can learn about the origins and evolution
of the McCulloch Kart Engine.
Here's a new fuel tank fabricated by Jim using aluminum sheet heliarced
together then topped off with a chainsaw gas cap. This must have
provided the extra space to
fabricate the intake manifold for the Amal carb Jim found in some of his
or a friends motorcycle parts inventory. Jim also played around with
motorcycles so he was able to use different parts like carbs and brakes
off motorcycles on his kart.
Due to the float operation of the carb it didn't work well since karts
corner so hard. The fuel would slosh over to one side of the fuel bowl
on corners and starve the engine. Jim even tried mounting 2 Amal carbs
and that didn't work either so eventually the chainsaw diaphragm carb
was reinstalled. The exhaust is fabricated and heliarced from thin
aluminum sheet and curved tight and close to the head then flared at the
end. The engine is a Super 55 with it's standard side entry sparkplug
cylinder head and hinged head cover.
Eventually Jim removed the gearbox in an effort to bring up the RPM's by
eliminating friction from the gears. He also used decided on a lighter/smaller
chain to make more power gains. This is probably when power really
skyrocketed and we pretty much know what happened next; the MC10 was
Looks like two Super 55 chainsaw powerheads intsalled with original head
shrouds and carbs.
In 1957 Jimmy was working in the McCulloch test lab preparing the
Super 55 for new product launch. Jim must have been very familiar with
it and had access to a variety of parts since he used them during the
That's about all I have on Jims kart for now. Next chance I get to work
with him I'll add more to this section.
In late 1959 or early 1960 it looks like Jimmy mounte two Mc10's
from what we can see in the May 1960 Karting World.
McCulloch Special with MC10's in 1960
Production of the MC10 started in mid 1959 and from what I've
determined from Jimmy's feedback he didn't have much to do with
the introduction of the m10 probably since the markenting department
set-up a whole new department for kart engine development.
Please consider contacting
me if you have any pictures or information on Jim and his karts/engines.
Email John T
Jimmy pictured here with my restored 1968 Bug Sprint at the 2004 Vegas VKA meet.
I found Wendell Shipman (Bug factory driver) wandering the pits at
the 2007 Adams meet. Didn't really recognize him as he kept looking
at my Bug, so I asked who he
was and I remembered the name from old kart magazines/books. It was
his first vintage event so I got him together
with Jimmy and Duff when I shot this picture.
Wendell won the 100 mile Tecate race in 1961 on one engine! It's truly a great feeling to meet karters you only
saw in magazines and books when you were just a kid!