An early start in
model engines leads to a long career
Dick McCoy was one of
the early pioneers of model engine
design and construction. His special
interest was in racing tethered model
race cars, and he adapted early
aircraft model engine designs to suit
the special needs of race cars. He was
good at getting the most out of an
engine, and his engines set many speed
records. They were popular with both
flyers and car racers. Starting in the
late 1930's, Dick produced about 35
race car engines on his own before
having them made by Duro-Matic
Products Co. in Hollywood starting in
1945. From 1953 to 1956 the engines
were made by McCoy Products Co. in
Culver City before turning production
over to Testors in April, 1956. Dick
made many prototype McCoy engines for
Testors, but they handled the
production and sales themselves. Dick
was also noted for his large line of
engine and model race car accessories.
His mufflers which were among the
quietest and least power-robbing
available. After 1983 they left the
aircraft engine business to specialize
in parts and accessories. Their glow
plug line is still one of the best
known in the world.
This page is
all the information we have been able
to collect on Dick McCoy so far, but
it is far from finished. If you have
any photos or information you can
contribute, please contact email@example.com
or call (800) 541-0735. We regret to announce that Dick passed away on
December 30, 2005 at the age of 98-1/2.
tribute to Dick McCoy written by Dr. Bob Kradjian was published in the
March-April, 2006 issue of
Model Engine Builder magazine.
CLICK HERE for a JPG version of the
following is based on an autobiography
published in The Engine
Collector’s Journal, Issue 103,
Dick McCoy was born in
Indiana on June 9, 1907. At 11 years
of age, his family moved to Walnut,
California into a house with no
electricity or inside toilets. His
father took care of 20 acres of oranges and
15 acres of walnuts for $75.00 per
month plus the house.
Walnut Grammar School for two years.
There were only four kids in his class. His family moved to Pomona
and he rode the bus or his brother’s
motorcycle until he graduated from high
school in 1925.
His father was
driving a bus from Pomona to San Dimas
during the day and Dick got a job driving
the same bus until midnight. The fare
was 10 cents each way. A company
called Motor Transit bought the bus
line and laid Dick off when they found
out he wasn’t 21. He found a job at
Pomona Pumps for 40 cents an hour.
Later, he went back to work for Motor
Transit working on the busses at
On July 19,
1929 Dick married his sweetheart, Fern,
and they were married for over 63 years
until she passed away after a long
illness on November 29, 1992. In 1932
their daughter Doris was born and
their sons, Carl in 1935 and Harold in 1937.
They have 9 grandchildren and 13
with his father in a service station where
Dick did most of the repair work, he went
to work for Brodex Co. painting
packing house equipment. There was a
big freeze, which meant there was no
fruit to pack, so he was soon laid off.
In 1937, he went to work for Louds Machine Works
running a lathe and making parts for
oil well equipment. In 1942 he took on
an extra job in Pomona teaching men
and women machine work for the war
effort. He put in three hours each
night at $2.50 / hour and was getting
paid $.75 per hour at Louds.
leading Model Motor designers,
friendly competitors Dick McCoy (left)
with the McCoy motor and Ray Snow
(right) designer and manufacturer of
the Hornet Motor. (Photo from Jan/Feb
1947 issue of Rail
and Cable News.)
It was during
this time that Dick began designing and
building engines and race cars. he had
tried model airplanes, but his only
model, built in 1939 and powered with
an Ohlsson 23, was "a disaster" so
he devoted all his time to cars. He ran
many of the engines and cars of that
time, but felt that none of them were
actually designed just to be race car
By 1942, Dick
had an engine and car of his own design
running and was setting records in the
one-fourth and one-half mile races. He
also won first place in the
fourth-mile, half-mile and one-mile
national races held in Detroit in July
other fellows to want his engines. In
turn, these boys also started winning
races. Around 35 of these car engines
were built. These .60 cubic inch
engines were very close in appearance
to the engines produced by Duro-Matic.
Dick at work
in his “design studio”. Actually
this photo was posed for a 1957 issue
of the Testors
Topics company newsletter.
Dick is busy “drawing” finished
blue prints of his latest design. The
McCoy 60 on the top of the drawing
board is the latest design. The
newsletter said the company was
tooling up for a run of 5000 Red Head
60s. (Click photo for larger image.)
Dick signed a contract with Mr. Fred Schott
of Duro-Matic in Hollywood to produce
McCoy engines and cars, and they began
producing shortly after the Armistice.
He designed and tested for them and
also for Testors after Duro-Matic
became a subsidiary, for some 35
years. He also holds 16 patents on
features of McCoy engines and cars.
In 1953, sons Carl and Harold started
making a few parts for Louds and two
other companies in a small basement
machine shop they had set up at home.
They went under the name of C&H
Products. Carl graduated from High
School in 1954 and Harold in 1956 and
they both went into the navy for two years.
almost 20 years with Louds, Dick decided
to retire and continue running the
small shop the boys had started. While
he was at Louds he had become the Chief
Inspector and had some 50 inspectors
under him. They built parts for several
different aircraft companies including
the landing gear for the DC 10.
Dick hired his son-in-law and
they ran the
shop until Carl and Harold got out of the
Navy, at which time they incorporated
under the name of C&H, Inc. The
business grew to about eight
employees, and in 1964 they started
making parts for model engines, cars
and a new venture; glow plugs. In 1972
they bought three 2,000 square foot
buildings. They moved the business into
one of them and started there until
1983 when they sold the aircraft part of
the business. Their main business now is
engine parts and also they are one of
the largest manufacturers of glow
plugs in the world.
In 1972 Dick started sponsoring radio
control car races. He had his 20th
annual race June 9, 1992 in Las Vegas,
Former employee Dan Neuenschwander worked for Dick McCoy & his sons Carl &
Harold from April 1979 to January,
1980 as a machine operator. He said, "All three of them were great to work
for, and Dick had a twinkle in his eye
when something worked 'just right.' They gave me my first real job in the path
of my manufacturing career." He also notes that he learned a lot about
production manufacturing from them.
(Dan now works for Northrop Grumman Corp. in El Segundo)
Colonel James Tegarden (USAF, ret.) notes that Dick's brother Mike joined
the Royal Canadian Air Force before the US's entry into WWII and transferred
to the Army Air Corps in 1942. He went on to earn the rank of Colonel before
being killed in the crash of a B-47 in 1957 near Pinecastle AFB. Pinecastle
was eventually renamed McCoy Air Force Base in his honor.
Col. Tegarden also notes that in about 1960 he received a
McCoy Red Head model airplane engine that came from Dick through his aunt Glen
Porter. His son and he enjoyed building and flying the model and he remembers
the engine as a top performer.
photos of Dick McCoy, his race cars
McCoy in a picture taken
January 24, 1993. He is
holding an original 1948
Invader. The car in the top of
the box is a one-of-a-kind
original and is the last car
Dick ran on the track. The
tool box is the same one shown
in the previous photo with the
trophies. Son Carl refinished
it to its original luster.
original McCoy race cars: a
1946 Tear Drop and 1947
Invader cast in magnesium.
Both have been repainted, but
the Invader is in its original
and his son Harold display two
of his race cars.
A 1992 Spirit reissue powered by a McCoy .19.
McCoy and his wife Fern also
enjoyed driving their Ford
Mustang and going to Mustang
||An early McCoy
engine made by the Duro-Matic
Products Co. This is an "MCCR"
from 1945. It has .607 cubic
inches displacement and is
spark plug fired.
McCoy Products Co. in Culver
City, this is a McCoy
"9" Diesel from
1954. It displaces .099 cubic
inches and has a red anodized
||Also from 1954,
this is another McCoy
"9" but with a glow
plug ignition. The engine
shown is equipped with an
accessory radial mount plate
and came equipped with a fuel
tank when originally sold.
||The 1971 McCoy
19 Stunt Series 21 was a
distinctive new design and
would be one of the last to
carry the McCoy name. It
displaced .199 cubic inches,
had a matt finished case and
black anodized head.
|A McCoy .35 "Red Head" rebuilt by Greg Davis. For an article by Ken
Burdick on how Greg Davis rebuilds a McCoy .35
CLICK HERE. It
was written for the Flying Lines, the Newsletter of
Northwest Control-Line Model Aviation. —Photos Ken
The second two color photos show a McCoy .35 "Red Head"
that is in the museum's engine colleciton in Carlsbad, CA. It was
donated by Tony Cina.
McCoy "DuroGlo" .049
The McCoy diesels were
sold under the banner of the McCoy Products Co of Culver City,
California, which is a west-side satellite community of greater Los
Angeles. This company was of course identified with the legendary
McCoy, whose name surely needs no introduction to most model
engine enthusiasts. A biography of Dick can be found elsewhere on
Somewhat oddly, the
McCoy diesels with which we are concerned here were not identified
as products of the Duro-matic Products company which had
manufactured the previous McCoy engines and with which Dick was
associated as a designer. Rather, the manufacturers were named both
on the boxes and on the instruction sheets as the McCoy Products Co
of 8509 Higuera Street, Culver City, California.
The McCoy .049 "Duro-Glo"
diesel model which introduced the McCoy diesel range was in fact the
first product to be sold under the new company's banner, being
placed on the market in early 1953. The engine's name hinted at its
Duro-matic origins, and there's no doubt that it was in fact
manufactured by Duro-matic—the guarantee card included with the
engines was actually addressed to the Duro-matic Products Company at
the same Higuera Street address! It should be recalled that Dick
McCoy was still employed full-time at the HW Loud Machine Works Inc.
as of 1953 and was therefore in no position to undertake large-scale
commercial-scale model engine manufacture in his own right.
(Information from and
article by Adrian Duncan on the ModelEngineNews.com web site.)
shown above are just a few of
the many variations that McCoy
manufactured over the years.
Depending on intended use,
mounting bolt holes and
configurations, fuel tank and
case design would vary. Issue
#103 of The Engine
Collector's Journal shows
or describes over 100
variations of production McCoy
engines that have been
cataloged by collectors.
If you have additional
information on a project or builder
shown on this site that your would like
to contribute, please e-mail craig@CraftsmanshipMuseum.com.
We also welcome new contributions.
Please see our page at www.CraftsmanshipMuseum.com/newsubmit.htm
for a submission form and guidelines for
submitting descriptive copy and photos
for a new project.