McCormick-Deering Model M Hot Rod Special

By Staff
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McCormick-Deering Model M "Hot Rod Special"
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Don Kelly modified a McCormick-Deering Model M to make this hot rod special engine.
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One of the "backward running" flywheels
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A backside view of Don Kelly's "Hot Rod Special."
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The hot rod special's valves turned upside down, showcasing the pinstriped check valve.
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The exhaust coming out of the mixer hole with the mixer coming out of the exhaust pipe (barely visable at bottom).
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The governor arm

This engine could have been rebuilt in the backyard shop of a young country mechanic who was thinking about winning the next race at the local drag strip in about 1955.

But no, the way it was heard as the little boy ran in the back door after getting full instructions on how the Hot Rod Special works was, “Mama! Come quick and see what Don has went and done to his engine. The exhaust comes out of the mixer hole and the mixer goes in the exhaust pipe hole. The valves are turned upside down and the exhaust lever has a dog leg in it.

“The fuel pump is gone, replaced with a check valve. It’s painted red and got them pinstripes on it. The EK magneto is gone, and it’s got an aluminum oiler on it. Don said it was a hit-and-miss, but even I know that McCormick-Deering Model M 1-1/2 HPs were throttle governed engines — not the case here.

“And, Mom,” the little boy said, “the flywheels are on the wrong sides and the big old gas tank in the base has been replaced with a small one between the skid rails to make room for a buzz coil and battery in the engine base, and a micro switch is used for ignition. The flywheels turn the wrong way — it runs backwards, counter-clockwise, just a timing adjustment on the exhaust and ignition cam and gear is all that was needed.

“I told Don it was the wrong color and he assured me that it was the right color, that he had to go to four stores before he found the Regal Red Rust-Oleum he had in mind. And, Mom, it sure is slick. Don did all the work on this engine and made all the hit-and-miss parts in his shop and he sent this photo to show you how it looks.”

I think this story would have gone on for hours if the little boy’s mom had not just removed a pan of homemade biscuits from the oven. Melted butter and homemade jam on a hot biscuit is one thing that will get a young mechanic to wash his hands and stop talking.

The last thing heard was, “Son, I have heard enough. I will get you one of them old engines.”

Contact Don Kelly at 53 Ridgeway Cove, Marion, AR 72364 •

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